Nov 22, 2016
Last Saturday (19th November 2016), the eagerly awaited Bondi / Bronte Rugby Club Reunion saw a procession of old blokes limping up the stairs at Bondi Surf Club to relive past glories. As the beers flowed, knee and hip replacements were long forgotten. Name tags were necessary as the young men with long flowing hair held together with gaffer tape had given way to either no hair or a thinning grey mane.
The get together was the brainchild of John Patrick who reckoned that the fifty years since the second formation of the Rugby Club in 1966 was an occasion that should be celebrated. J.P drove the organisation. He tracked down old players using his experience as a former copper, searching ancient police records and remote pubs in a handful of countries in order to find players who had been out of touch for forty years. His skills were honed during a long career as a detective in Manchester, England. J P was a copper here in OZ but he and his wife, who was from Manchester moved back there and John joined the “ Old Bill “ in Manchester. As a detective in not the most tranquil of towns, John was bashed, shot at and stabbed so his time playing with the BBs had given him the experience he needed.
The Bondi Lifesavers’ Rugby Club took a little while to be accepted in the world of sub-district rugby with its tweed jackets and flash cars. BB players wore rubber flip flops in place of R.M Williams’ boots, T shirts in place of smart shirts. Avid readers may recollect that our players were once described by an opposing captain as “ The Boys from the Sewer “ referring to the famous landmark at North Bondi. Some of our Kiwi brothers didn’t even own cars so car pools in old bangers were the norm. There were vicious rumours circulated that Bondi kept some of its players in cages, fed sparingly, and only let out of the cages on game day. After two decades and a bunch of premierships that the BBs won, plus breeding several representatives such as Keith Besomo who played for Australia, the BBs were at last taken seriously.
Present at the party were some of the original founders and players from 1966. Dan Cleary, from the United States flew in for the do. Nockie had gone home to Wakhatani , NZ long ago but returned for the occasion. Gundy Pryor our Maori Chief turned up. Gundy has nine kids, eight daughters and a son, and came from Brisbane. Gundy was a top footballer however his commitment to fitness was not good. During half-time as his players stood in a circle sucking oranges Gundy had a mate on the sideline light a cigarette for Gundy to suck while sitting on the grass. Greg Higgins then a young electrician got sent to Lord Howe Island to service the island’s generator. Twenty seven years later Greg is still there but flew from the island for the party. Dave Giddy, now with slightly shorter hair flew down from Byron Bay with Irishman, Norman Moore from Bangalow via Belfast. Four of the five O’Brien brothers were on hand, Terry and the “Rust” from the Gold Coast and “Paddo Pete” from Gerringong. Local luminaries were Bob Tate, a premiership winning winger in his first year out of school, now a much larger publican. Adding a touch of royalty to the afternoon were “The King” and “The Prince”. The King had a long, successful career as a milkman, along with “Wally Wettex“, a fine player and another milkman. Present, and proving that we were not just a bunch of old pissheads were poet, Brook Emery and playwright Andy Winters. On hand were players from both the 72 and the 83 Kentwell Cup teams who got together for photos with the cup.