In the 1950 Roller Mills tournament, won by King Country, our points for were 98 for and 9 points against, the points against were from penalties all awarded against the hooker which was played by Mr. Stan Meads. I personally would like to thank Stan (as he wants to be called) for spending his time to watch the hours of rugby played at the 2008 tournament and select the Meads XV, In the 1950 King Country team photo Stan pointed out 2 very talented players that went further, Mr B. Hood represented NZ in softball and a special mention to James Taitoko (who scored most of the KC points in 1950) became an NZ Maori All Black. I am hoping that this Tournament Team continues in the future.
Memories of King Country Roller Mills
It has been a few years since I put on the King Country Roller Mills jersey, but the memories I have make it seem just like yesterday. I can remember mum taking a car load of boys over to Bennydale for training on a Wednesday afternoon. Bennydale was the chosen place as it was the central to all of the team. To get to Bennydale on time meant missing an afternoon of school which at the time I thought was great but maybe looking back now I may have needed the extra lessons.
We had one of the boys come and live at my house with my family for the two weeks leading up to the tournament. Devlin and I were bordering on the 53 kg weight limit, together we trained hard and were really careful with what we ate.
Our tournament was held in Auckland and we stayed in the Mangere marae. This is where everyone stayed, from coaches to players to parents and my little sister. I can remember my mother, Alison, scrubbing all the boys boots and putting them around the fire ready for the next day. The other parents were busy peeling potatoes and getting the meat ready for dinner.
The rugby itself was okay. We had a good team but we always battles against the bigger city teams – something that has happened thoughout my career. I feel that my rugby career started from being in this team and has taken me through the years and finally now in Cardiff, Wales. A lot of skills that you need to be successful in a team like the King Country Roller Mills are skills that you need for being of a Super 14 team. I have always thought that making friends and being a reliable and a honest person has got me into the position I am in today.
My best advise that I can give to up and coming players is to never take your position for granted and always work hard to improve yourself. Listen to others advise, take what you want from it and apply it to your game.
To all the teams, best wishes for the games ahead. Keep the tournament program safe, in years to come I’m sure you will see a few All Blacks names.
Paul Tito (2008 Program)
Don “The Boot” Clarke
This article on Rugby, I hope will benefit the ones who may need some assistance. A lot of boys, who take part in the rugby week, I hope will get a lot from just participating. The tries, the goals kicked, the scrums, the lineouts, running with the ball, being able to tackle properly, saving your team mates by taking a high ball, picking up a loose ball, all these things make one proud to be part of this wonderful game Rugby. Some boys will come through and be Representative Players and All Blacks as well, but the most important thing is that although you will go out and try and win, you must always enjoy the game itself. Never give in, keep trying hard at all times, it takes a lot of hard work to master a weakness in your own game, but if you practise, persevere and practise, you will be amazed at the improvement. There are many lessons to be learnt and disappointments to be borne by all boys who want to be good players. There are, too, friendships to be made, successes to enjoy, moments of stress and excitement, hours of practice and toil and a lifetime of memories. Always try and fulfill your ambitions, because the pleasure you give to other people and the satisfaction you give to the ones who support and help you as well as yourself is something that is most rewarding. Imagine the tremendous thrill, boys to have the opportunity and experience of hearing the spine-chilling singing of Welsh crowds at Cardiff Arms Park. This singing forms one of the fairy tales of Rugby and seems to remain with the game, even with the passage of time. To play against England at the Fabulous “Twickers” ground, whose turf bears the greatest of reputations. Scotland at Murrayfield, Ireland at Landsdowne Road, Newlands at Cape Town, Ellis Park Johannesburg, Eden Park, Auckland and so many others. These I have had the wonderful thrill of being able to play on, which is possible to some boys. The game of Rugby extends some of the best lessons in life. Apart from teaching how to become a modest winner as well as a sporting loser, it brings out the best in the individual and by virtue of its team nature, it helps to abolish the selfish attitude, which is often only too apparent in some people. One of its greatest assets is that it brings together people from all walks of life on a common mission, from which may eminate close friendships that seem to exist for a lifetime. This boys, is what Rugby has given me and I will always treasure its memories for as long as I live. Good luck and good play.
Kindest Regards to you all, DON CLARKE (NRM 1971 Programme)
A GREAT DAY IN MY RUGBY CAREER
The greatest day in my rugby career was June 24, 1970. The scene was Bethlehem, a small town out in the outbacks of South Africa where the Afrikaner was dominant. Why should I pick this small, outback town for the scene of the greatest day in my rugby career? Because it was my first game for the All Blacks. It was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Ever since I was a child, and a Roller Mill Player as well, I had wanted more than anything to play for the All Blacks.
At Waiuku in 1961, I had played in the Roller Mills Tournament and it had been my first real taste of representative rugby. It left a lasting impression on me. It was a period when I learnt the importance of teamwork, of hard training, and of self-discipline.
During the intervening years I had had my shares of ups and downs with injuries, but my desire to become an All Black had never waned. At the beginning of 1970, after having had one year of representative rugby, I realised I only had a very slight chance of making the 1970 All Blacks to South Africa, so I decided everything would have to be in my favour to make it.
I stepped up my training to five days a week. At the beginning of the year, I did plenty of road work to build up my stamina, whereas in previous seasons I may have stopped half-way up a hill, I would say to myself, “If you don’t make it to the top, you won’t make the All Blacks,” and this is what drove me on. When I finally was selected for the tour of South Africa, I still had problems because I, in the meantime, had torn a muscle in my thigh and I was decidedly worried that I may not get to play for the All Blacks. I missed the game in Perth because of the injury and was not considered for the first game in South Africa, so when finally my leg felt as though it could stand up to a game, I was relieved to hear my name selected for the second game.
The night before the game, I got little sleep, but thought over and over again of my early career and what I had been through, and of the people who had helped me along the road to becoming an All Black. When finally, I pulled on the All Black jersey, it was a wonderful moment. As my mates wished me luck and I ran on to the field, I was choked with emotion. It had finally happened.
I was about to play for the All Blacks. As the game progressed, it took me a while to settle down but after a time, in which I had not even touched the ball to throw it into the lineout, Bill Davis, the All Black centre, made a break and passed the ball to me with five yards to run and no one to beat. As I dived over the line, I felt great. It gave me just the confidence I needed. It was a wonderful day. I had played my first game for the All Blacks and had scored two tries into the bargain.
It will always rank as the greatest day in my rugby career.
BRYAN WILLIAMS (NRM 1971 Programme)
I can still remember quite clearly the Northern Roller Mills Tournament in which I participated in 1947, for it was at the time the most wonderful football experience of my life. If memory serves me correctly, Thames Valley won, but for certain, my side was eliminated along the way.
The best memory of all though is that games were great fun -and suggested to me one thing I later found to be true: that played well, rugby is one of the finest games yet devised. We’ve seen this so often on the current Lions Tour, and unfortunately we’ve seen the opposite on one or two occasions.
Apart from the value of keeping healthy through sport; apart from the lessons that team games teach us about co-operation and working together; apart from learning that from defeat we start again: and apart from our learning that the game (as in life itself) has rules to which we must adhere – the greatest value of sport lies in the development of character.
You’ll find, as I did. that effort usually is rewarded. that perserverence and courage are essential, and that by “striving and seeking” we can usually do the things we most want.
Good luck to you all.
WILSON WHINERAY (NRM 1971 Programme)
(Played in the 1st 1925 tournament) – Written by John Manukia (1993)
Otto Lindberg was an “original.”
Yesterday he cast his memory back 68 years to his football origins – the birth of the famed Roller Mills schoolboys’ rugby tournament, in which he played a big part.
Mr. Lindberg, aged 80, of Pukekohe, went out to his favourite football ground – the Pukekohe Stadium – to mix with the new breed of Roller Mills Rugby. What the retired farmer saw was different, in many respects, from when he played in the inaugural Roller Mills Rugby tournament – the pinnacle of primary and intermediate schools rugby in the northern part of the North Island – in 1925.
His Counties team, then known as the Franklin representative rugby team, lost to their Auckland Counterparts 6-3 in a hard-fought final at Eden Park.
“The game was very much different during age-group rugby in those days” he said. “I was among the the big boys and we were not allowed to run past the halfway line. We would get penalised as only the younger and smaller boys were allowed to past the line and score tries“
There was no tackling in the games, said Mr. Lindberg. Opponents held on to each other much as they did in touch rugby today.
When he stepped out on the field in the original tournament, he had played in only one other 15-a-side game.
“That was because we didn’t have enough pupils at our school to put together a full team” he said.
Mr. Lindberg went to Pukekawa Primary School, south of Pukekohe, and learned to play the game from an older brother who was then in a junior grade team. He travelled with the team, watching its fortunes and picking up the skills of the game.
“The only rugby we could play at school was seven a-side because we only had enough players for that”, he said.
Coached Akl East in 1993
We were 5 minutes from running out on the field for the final, this 80+ yr old man walked into our changing room, we thought he was looking for the bathroom. He said he wanted to talk to the akld east team. I asked him what he wanted to say. He opened a box from his pocket and he said he and his twin brother played for east in the 1930’s and his brother had died in the war in the box was his brothers winning medal.
He read about the tournament in the paper and that heard east were in the final, he wanted to bring his brothers medal to show the east boys on how important it was to him, and to wish us good luck. amazing. he left as quietly as he arrived. We went on to draw the final and share the championship with Waikato Rangers.
Mr Ron Cooke
Ron has provided alot of information pertaining to King Country Rugby and their Roller Mills History, one story he mentions is that in the King Country 1951 Roller Mills Team photo is a Ross Cullen who was selected for the 1966 Wallabies tour of England but was sent home for biting the ear of English prop Ollie Waldron.
Waikato Rangers 1959 & 1960
Played for Waitkato Rangers and we were Curtain raisers to the 1959 British Lions game against Waikato at Rugby Park in Hamilton, and again Curtain raiser for the British Lions against King Country at Te Kuiti all in the same week.