Above: The inaugural RUCK CANCER Day in 2016, raising awareness for men's health issues.
In association with Lovelocks Sports Bar on Bond Street in Wellington, some highlights from this week in Wellington club rugby history are below.
1983: MSP halfback Neil Sorenson scores a try and kicks five penalties in his team’s 31-16 win over Upper Hutt. MSP and Petone are now level pegging at the top of the Swindale Shield points table after 8 rounds, after Petone battles past Ories 18-12.
2005: Upper Hutt centre Brad Baker scores a hat-trick to aid his side to their seventh straight win in the Swindale Shield, beating fifth placed Avalon 38-13.
2016: Wellington club rugby’s inaugural RUCK Cancer Day. All 14 Premier sides and other lower grade sides and referees take the field wear purple socks as part of former Poneke player and now manager Evan Belford’s initiative following the passing of friend and 200-game teammate Misiluni Moananu last year. Poneke lose to Wellington at home, while across the road, MSP’s 25-17 win over Petone is significant as it all but relegates the Villagers to the Hardham Cup for the first time in 20 years. OBU pip Tawa 34-33 to register their 19th straight win – their streak will end next week when Poneke beat the Goats 23-20.
1954: Poneke halfback Alby Makeham is the standout player in his side’s scrappy 16-8 win over Hutt in their top-of-the-table clash. Elsewhere, Petone’s Don McIntosh is the Player of the Match in their 12-9 lowering of defending champions University, while Marist overcome a deficit to force a 14-14 draw with third-placed Taita.
1971: For the second straight year, Onslow beats top dog Petone. Onslow fullback Jim Gregg kicks five penalties in the 15-14 win.
1999: Harlequins snatch a last-second try to draw 22-22 with defending Jubilee Cup champions Western Suburbs. Discipline costs Wests, prop Leota Malanga and flanker Hemi Pou are both red carded during the match.
1953: Defending champions University blow Onslow away 14-5 in the Athletic Park wind to now be the sole unbeaten team four weeks into the season. In a close round four of the five other matches are decided by within three points (the value of a try).
1970: University wing Graham Wallis scores five tries, two penalties and five conversions for 31 points in his side’s 46-5 win over Ories.
2009: The Swindale Shield takes a dramatic twist today with previously unbeaten Petone stumbling to its first loss of the season against seventh-placed Upper Hutt to throw the title race wide open with just three rounds to play. Giant killers Upper Hutt defeat Petone 22-19, who are now joined at the top by Poneke who ease to a 66-5 four-try bonus point win over Avalon.
1958: University go a long way towards winning the Jubilee Cup later in the season by beating a highly rated Onslow 11-9. University has to hold on in a grandstand finish with goal kicking lock Jim Kinvig missing a late conversion that would’ve tied up the scores. Later in the year these teams fight out a 6-6 draw.
1975: Poneke shock previous frontrunners Athletic 18-7 and Petone defeat MSP 14-12, giving Petone a one-match jump on the rest of the field with a month to play in the Swindale Shield. At Kilbirnie Park, Poneke centre Grant Griffiths kicks four penalties and a conversion to send Athletic packing.
1978: Petone fullback Allan Hewson is thought to have scored the fastest century of points in the history of Wellington club rugby, after scoring 18 points in his side’s win over WCOB. Hewson sits on 106 points in eight games. Elsewhere, MSP earns its 30th consecutive competition win in beating Upper Hutt 47-12.
1986: Leaders Petone find their poise in scoring 30 unanswered points to punish Western Suburbs 37-9, Lolani Koko scoring a hat-trick and Matt Lee two tries.
2008: Old Boys-University are within sight of their first Swindale Shield title after beating Northern United 37-26 in an absorbing round eight encounter at the Basin Reserve. OBU's four try bonus point win over Norths sees them move into the outright lead, four points ahead of defending champions Norths and one ahead of Marist St. Pat's who have leapfrogged Norths into second after beating Wests 29-0. OBU goes on to lose in round 10 to Petone and MSP win the Swindale Shield.
1985: Ories upset Petone 16-15 – their first win over them in 20 years. In the absence of star fullback John Gallagher, Ories first five-eighth Mark Bracewell lands two dropped goals, while Petone fullback Allan Hewson misses a late penalty. This win means that MSP sit alone at the top of the table after Grant Cederwall contributes 22 points in their 34-21 win over Hutt Valley Marist.
1996: Buoyed by the return of their five Hurricanes, Petone snap a six-match losing streak and beat Norths 41-5. Alex Telea (2), Tana Umaga, Tim Mannix and Simon Mannix all score tries.
2002: The two heaviest forward packs in the competition clash, with Johnsonville defending their home patch at Helston Park by beating Norths 12-6. The more fancied Norths, fielding All Blacks second five-eighth Pita Alatini, Samoa halfback Steven So’oialo and NZ Colt Tamati Ellison, struggle to match Johnsonville up front and the home side prevails on penalties.
1984: After beating Petone earlier in the season, Poneke go close to upsetting MSP, losing 9-13. Poneke trail 0-9 at halftime but halfback Heni Tonu’u scores just after the turn to ensure a tight match. MSP are joint leaders with Wellington who edge Avalon 22-15. Petone are third, after a late Allan Hewson penalty puts them ahead of WCOB 15-13.
2007: Hurricanes openside flanker Serge Lilo plays a leading hand for Northern United in their 30-14 bonus point win over Poneke, moving them one point ahead of the previously unbeaten Poneke at the top of the Swindale Shield points table. Lilo scores two tries and has a blinder.
2012: Hutt Old Boys Marist maintain their grip at the top of the Swindale Shield standings with a gritty 18-15 win over Poneke on Poneke's Old Timers' Day on Kilbirnie Park. HOBM break a 15-15 deadlock and win the match with a penalty from 40 metres out with a minute to play. HOBM's seventh win goes a long way to them winning the first round at the end of June.
1961: Athletic Park’s biggest crowd for two years watches an eight-try thriller between defending champions Marist and leading contender University. The match, billed between the battle of first five-eighths C.J Stewart (Marist) and Neil Wolfe (University) lives up to its predictions. Marist has what looks like a winning 11-0 at the turn, but University comes back and final scoreboard reads Marist 22 - University 17. Stewart and Wolfe have both scored tries.
1994: At Fraser Park, fullback Tony Ward scores four tries in Avalon’s 67-6 win over neighbours Stokes Valley. In two matches at Athletic Park, MSP lead Harlequins 30-0 at halftime but Harlequins come back to win 33-25, and Chris Robinson scores the winning try and 17 points in Wellington’s 22-17 win over Wests.