2013 started as 2012 finished, with early cricket matches and the Blues kicking off their home season on March 1 against the Crusaders.
In late March the Barbarians were invited to play a festival for the Bombay club’s 125-year celebrations. A large group of young, present and past players turned out, including the likes of the Marsh twins, Pita Alatini and Slade McFarland. We were victorious in a game that was the highlight of Bombay’s weekend celebrations.
Another invitation to the North Shore club’s 140-year celebrations saw a star-studded team turn out for the Barbarians. Thanks to ‘Beegee’ Williams and Roger Moore, we had Craig Dowd, Ian Jones, Sam Tuitupou, Ofisa ‘Junior’ Tonu’u, Richard Kapa, Teina Clarke, and Pita Alatini. In the mix again, Kere Maihi had brought along some talented young players that certainly helped. The silky skills of the experienced players finally gave the Baabaas victory. Great to see the mighty Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford turn out for North Shore.
With the successful club fun day at Ngataringa Domain growing to a Bay of Plenty fun day in Paengaroa, we saw a group of Baabaas make the trip south to meet up with our fellow BoP Baabaas for what was another well-oiled, well organised, fantastic day. The response from the BoP union, school principals, and parents who attended thought that the day was superb.
Sponsorship was provided this year, for the first time, for the NZ Area Schools side which was victorious against a Harlequins XV, played at Waikato Stadium prior to the Waikato-Otago Ranfurly Shield match. Included in this side are some really talented players who, without the Barbarians and the Area Schools’ support, would be overlooked for any higher honours.
The Top 4 tournament in Rotorua and the final between St Kent’s and Hamilton Boys’ High School in Hamilton were fantastic spectacles with probably the biggest crowd seen at Hamilton Boys’ for any sports event.
After the Top 4 tournament, my highlight was the selection of the NZ Barbarians Schools side that defeated an Auckland Schools XV at St Peter’s College in October. The next day the side was invited to an All Blacks’ closed session training run. Afterwards, Aaron Cruden and Sam Cane talked to the Baabaas in the changing shed before the team went into a skills session with All Blacks assistant coach Mick Byrne.
Once again, the northern region Under 85kg tournament run by Bryan Craies and his team at College Rifles was a great success with Auckland emerging as winners.
Thanks must go to the management committee and members who have helped throughout the year and we look forward to continued support next year.
Welcome to all new members and condolences to families and friends of members who died during 2013. Have a relaxing festive season and we will look forward to another good club year in 2014.
Club captain 2013