Refs whistle up a new cup

Breaking News:
Hautapu beats Leamington 20-10

Hautapu 20 (Joel Hazelton 2, Robert Prescott, Blake Seavill tries) Leamington 10 (Jacob Jozwik try, Caleb Pollard, pen, conv) – H-Time 5-3.

Hautapu v Leamington Colts. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.


Steve Morgan with the original trophy presented by referees to promote rugby in Cambridge. Photo: Roy Pilott.

The Cambridge Rugby Referees Association donated a cup to be contested between the town’s two school first XVs in 1990.

Now, more than 30 years on and as the association prepares to celebrate its centenary, the old cup is being replaced.

And on Saturday it will be the colts of Hautapu and Leamington who compete for the new Centennial Cup. Colts are under 21 years or under 85 kgs on the day of all competition games. The old trophy will remain on display in the referees’ room at Memorial Park.

Association secretary Steve Morgan says the school’s top teams play in different competitions, and it was 2011 when they last played for the original trophy.

A colts’ grade challenge involving the town’s two rugby clubs is the new option – and the first match for the trophy will kick off at 1pm at Memorial Park.

The timing is perfect as the referees celebrate their own milestone –  they have even been appearing in a centenary shirt this season.

Today the association – the second largest sub-union in the country – lists among its members lawyers, teachers, painters, salespeople, retirees, construction workers, farmers, engineers, policemen, small business owners, chief executive and students ranging in age from 15 to 76.

There are 33 financial members and 28 active refs – a bit of a boost from the day the association held its first meeting in Mr Edwards’ room on the corner of Duke and Victoria Streets in 1923 for about eight people.

The centenary weekend celebrations will be held tomorrow, starting at Hautapu Rugby Club and run through Saturday when games will be played at Hautapu, Cambridge High, St Peters and Leamington before a Saturday night function at Cambridge Racecourse. Former Chiefs and All Black centre Frank Bunce is the guest speaker.

Morgan has already overseen plenty of advance publicity for the centenary. He organised a regular column in the Cambridge News where referees told how they became members and what they get out of being involved in the association.

He told readers he was introduced to the whistle in Australia when his children had just started playing – “each host team was made to provide a referee, so I volunteered”.

His association with the Cambridge association dates to 2016.

The column has helped boost association members – and this weekend’s event is expected to attract more than 100 people.

Refs’ association present David Balsom, wearing one of the jerseys made for the centenary.


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