OBRFC – A History of Excellence

The Beginning

The inaugural meeting of the Timaru High School Old Boys [Rugby] Football Club was held on April 6, 1908, and one team was entered in the South Canterbury Rugby Football Union third grade competition. The club went into recess in 1909 but re-emerged to stay in  March 1919 following a meeting at Timaru Boys High School . The then rector of TBHS, Mr. W. (Bill) Thomas esq. was elected Patron.

The club’s colours were “royal blue jersey with white badge, white knickers, black stockings with royal blue tops”. In those days the club was considered closed to all but Timaru Boys High School old boys. The club won the senior 7-aside in 1921 and in 1922 won the Skinner Cup, symbol of South Canterbury senior rugby supremacy, for the first time. The club remained strong throughout the decade winning the Skinner Cup again in 1924, 1925, 1928 and 1930.

1930 – 1969

During the 1930’s Depression years Old Boys had a reputation for “playing fast, clean, open football (sic)”, winning the Skinner Cup in 1930 and the playing ranks swelled as rugby became a relatively cheap sporting option. George Gaffaney, E.W. “Bags” Ryan, Jack.Strang and Dave Parsons were later stalwarts at senior and representative level, and Charlie Saxton became the fourth Old Boys player to gain

All Black status in 1938. That same year the club adopted the “rampant lion” part of the TBHS Old Boys’ badge as part of the playing uniform.

The out break of World War 2 in late 1939 meant that just four teams were fielded in 1940 and “hard days” were in store from 1941 to 1943, when several grade competitions were abandoned and clubs could not field senior teams due to the large number of players on active service. Ex-serviceman and 2nd NZEF representative Dave Parsons lead the senior team in 1945 and there was optimism that the “Club would go ahead in leaps and bounds and retain the old spirit that prevailed in pre-war days”. The Skinner Cup was won in 1947, but followed by the retirement of ten key players. Junior grades faired well in the 1950s but the seniors struggled despite the best efforts of coaches such as E. A. Cockroft, G. W. Piddington, Allan Moore and Dave Parsons and players of the ilk of D. H. Fairbrother at fullback.

The 1960s saw another influx of players especially in the forwards where Tom Lister, Allan Stewart and Alister Hopkinson, who became All Blacks, were well supported by the likes of Brian Beardsley, Roger Atkinson, Dave Charman and Ken Milne. “A.C. (Bert) Rippin, Bill Pateman and Dave Parsons were club presidents during this decade which saw the Seniors as Skinner Cup champions in 1962 and 1963 under coach Colin McKenzie. Charlie Saxton served with distinction on the NZRFU executive council.