The Avalon Premiers had a successful Hardham Cup campaign last year, bouncing back from the previous season’s disappointment of relegation to the Senior 1 Harper Lock Shield for the first round to go all the way to the Hardham Cup final at Westpac Stadium.
Avalon’s turnaround in such a short space of time was actually quite remarkable. Seemingly down and out midway through the Hardham Cup round-robin they had yet to register a victory from their first four matches. At the forefront of their supporters' minds at that point was mere survival and semi-finals hopes came a distant second. They then grabbed their first win in round five with an 18-17 victory over Hutt Old Boys Marist B. This was followed by the big one in round six when they knocked off Johnsonville 10-3 and suddenly had a decent sniff of both winning promotion to this year's Swindale Shield and reaching the playoffs. In the last round Avalon beat MSP B 36-17 and Johnsonville lost and Avalon were back in the Swindale Shield for 2011.
To cap that off, they scored a last-gasp try to beat top qualifiers the Wests Roosters 12-11 in their away semi-final and booked a spot in the final against Wainuiomata. Unfortunately the dream run ended there, beaten 31-10.
Playing in the Swindale Shield this season, Avalon are down at the bottom, with just a solitary win against Wests to their name and are destined for the Hardham Cup again. But most teams that have played them have found them no easybeats, such as MSP just last week who battled hard for their 26-14 win.
Previously, after a proud 30-year history, since the amalgamation of Taita and Naenae in 1979, Premier rugby fell silent across Fraser Park in 2010. After a frustrating three seasons between 2007-2009, Avalon's Premiers failed to keep treading water and were relegated at the end of 2009 at the expense of Johnsonville who finished one place higher than them in fourth in the Hardham Cup.
By their own admission, their drop to the Senior grade was hugely disappointing, given several recent seasons of consistency in which they competed strongly in the Swindale Shield and were back-to-back Jubilee Cup semi-finalists in 2003 and 2004 playing an attractive brand of running rugby.
As recently as 2006, Avalon finished fourth in the Swindale Shield behind winners Northern United and sixth in the Jubilee Cup with three wins including two over teams that finished higher than them. But the loss of several experienced players to retirement (for example Jason Goble, Mano Flutey), other clubs (for example Peter Sciascia to MSP and Andrew Turner to HOBM) and higher honours (think the Waldrom brothers and Mo Schwalger) took it's toll and their nadir came in 2008 when they failed to win a game in the first round Swindale Shield.
The Avalon RFC was established three decades ago through the amalgamation of the Naenae and Taita clubs. Nestled in the hills of the lower valley, the riversiders have a proud history and cherish many memorable moments on Fraser Park - only recently redeveloped - including their finest achievement of winning the 1991 Swindale Shield.
This season Avalon is fielding teams in each of the Senior 1, Senior 2, U21, U85kg restricted grades, as well as a Presidents side.
It’s Old Timers’ Day at Avalon this weekend, where the top two sides take on Upper Hutt teams.
It’s a big weekend coming up for the Senior 2 team, competing in the National Mutual Cup, with a date at home against close rivals and competition leaders Upper Hutt. If Avalon can beat Upper Hutt with a bonus point they will draw level with them and be right in the mix in the last week when they play lowly Johnsonville. The top two finishers of the Harper Lock Shield play in the Ed Chaney Cup in the second round, which is the competition immediately below the Jubilee and Hardham Cups.
Though not fielding a Women's side anymore, the Avalon Women's team dominated the 2007 season's women's competitions. After winning the first round Fleurs Trophy, they went on to beat Northern United 28-10 in that year's final of the Victoria Tavern Trophy.
The club has formed a strong alliance with the local secondary schools by providing training resources and key coaching personnel. In return both Naenae and Taita colleges have provided them with a huge amount of quality players.
Avalon is a friendly family based club and is proud of the environment it has created with its player and supporter base. Over the years the club has survived because of the fantastic voluntary support given by all its members and the ability to work as a team. It is hoped that the mighty ‘Avalanche roars again.
Avalon is now online:
|Date||Competition||Round||Team 1||Score 1||Team 2||Score 2|
|2012-08-04||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||8||Avalon: Premier||18||Tawa: Premier Reserve||27|
|2012-07-28||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||7||Avalon: Premier||15||Poneke: Premier Reserve||7|
|2012-07-21||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||6||Avalon: Premier||3||Wellington: The Axemen||41|
|2012-07-14||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||5||Avalon: Premier||0||HOBM: Premier Reserve||5|
|2012-07-07||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||4||Avalon: Premier||22||Upper Hutt: Senior 1||15|
|2012-06-30||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||3||Avalon: Premier||16||Petone: Premier Reserve||19|
|2012-06-23||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||2||Avalon: Premier||17||OBU: Premier Reserve||12|
|2012-06-16||Ed Chaney Cup Prem Reserve 1||1||Avalon: Premier||44||Ories: Premier Reserve||5|
|2012-06-09||Harper Lock Shield||11||Avalon: Premier||22||OBU: Premier Reserve||25|
|2012-06-02||Harper Lock Shield||10||Avalon: Premier||13||Poneke: Premier Reserve||22|
|2012-05-26||Harper Lock Shield||9||Avalon: Premier||19||Marist St Pats: Premier Reserv ...||37|
|2012-05-19||Harper Lock Shield||8||Avalon: Premier||18||J'ville: Premier||32|
|2012-05-12||Harper Lock Shield||7||Avalon: Premier||10||HOBM: Premier Reserve||5|
|2012-05-05||Harper Lock Shield||6||Avalon: Premier||25||Tawa: Premier Reserve||17|
|2012-04-28||Harper Lock Shield||5||Avalon: Premier||19||Ories: Premier Reserve||10|
|2012-04-25||Harper Lock Shield||4||Avalon: Premier||24||Pare-Plim: Premier||38|
|2012-04-21||Harper Lock Shield||3||Avalon: Premier||41||Petone: Premier Reserve||8|
|2012-04-14||Harper Lock Shield||2||Avalon: Premier||19||Wainui: Premier Reserve||20|
|2012-04-07||Harper Lock Shield||1||Avalon: Premier||27||Norths: Premier Reserve||49|
|2011-07-23||Hardham Cup Premier 2||7||Avalon: Premier||3||OBU: Premier||26|