It has been a good old wait, 91 days in fact, but the first round of the Swindale and Harper Lock Shield's kicks off tomorrow.
We need to shout out not only to NZ with our committed effort during the lock down periods but also those in and around the club that have helped us get to Saturday;
· Our administrators – as always, had to go through plenty of process and procedure to get ready for this weekend
· Our sponsors – many have been with us right along the way during this tough time which we greatly appreciate. The times have been tougher for some of course and we respect this
· Our players – not the easiest thing in the world to go into a lock down essentially in a good weather period and then come back out for footy in the winter and show the same level of commitment. Many of the boys have had their lives change during this period which we have to respect. You only need to look at the drop off in teams not only across NZ but in Wellington club rugby to see what this Covid-19 beast has done
· Our members – always bleeding blue. If it’s been buying virtual drinks, paying your social membership early, or generously donating, this is all in the tradition of pulling together which is what we are all about.
We thank you all for assisting in getting us here and the tough road isn't over yet.
To the rugby.....
· Starts this Saturday, 20 June vs Petone away at the Petone Rec. Premier Reserve Cripples kick off at 1pm and Premier’s at 2.45pm
· A full round robin of 13 games was voted in and then two finals weeks beyond that to decide the Jubilee and Hardham Cup’s
· The draw is as follows for our Premier side in the Swindale Shield:
· A tough looking start to the draw and plenty of games away but we get 7 home games in total. Round 7 vs Wellington Axemen is the new Old Timer’s Day
· Our Premier Reserve Cripples largely mirror this, however, both Wellington and Upper Hutt did not enter a Premier Reserve side and Petone (Brotherhood) and Stokes Valley have made up the numbers there
· We have a Colts team entered and the draw will be finalised for that competition soon
· The almighty President’s will also be fielding a team as always!
How are the Premier's looking?
We ask our Head of Rugby, Richard 'Hendo' Henderson
"What a couple of months can do......! The three Johnsonville senior teams were getting ready for the seasons then Covid hit and everyone was unsure if rugby would even make it onto to the paddock! In a short amount of time the boys have pulled themselves together superbly for the upcoming season. It has not been easy as you can imagine, with a global pandemic, job losses and a lock down to get back to playing a physical demanding sport such as our beloved rugby. Proud of the way the boys have banded together and backed each other during this time.
Excited would be for the word for the premier’s season, with a number of key additions being added to the Johnsonville side. We are welcoming some experienced, current and ex representative players for the first game against Petone in the likes of Andy Ellis, Paula Kinikinilau & Ivan Vaisagote. Add the two new and favourite Irishmen of Mark Sutton and Niall Delahunt and you have got a very potent backline. The forward pack has also got some new additions from the exciting Bodene Davis and youngsters Raja Sami and Ben Cathro. Everyone will remember PJ Sheck from years gone by (still so young and our captain!) and he is now propping with another ex-Johnsonville legend Ha'amea ‘Ahio. Great new mix of players that will do the jersey proud.
All of this has been held together by Roy and the coaching staff. Easy to see why Roy was a professional rugby player as his commitment and dedication to the team has been a sight to behold. Juggling work and family life commitments, Roy was still able to hold 2 team training's a week and on top of that make available 2 fitness training's for the players. Along with another new addition Ben Fisher who is the forwards coach and was a professional coach in Scotland. Ben has been great with his knowledge and understanding of the game, the players will benefit hugely under Ben and Johnsonville are lucky to have someone of his coaching ability.
Not to place any overly high expectations on the team or the coaching staff, they have had very little time to get this squad together in unprecedented circumstances. As I said I am excited to see them play and would be great to see some more faces from the community support the MIGHTY BLUE. Hope to see you around and enjoy watching Johnsonville as much as I will in 2020."
Many of you will know the great stalwart Wally Smith is leaving our shores in July (or that is the plan) to head to Melbourne.
A life member who has been around the club for many years putting his hat forward for the Committee in 1985 (yeah, a little while back), has been a terrific servant of the club and we greatly appreciate all the effort, vocals and commitment over the years.
Get down to farewell Wally on Saturday night at the club from 5pm.
Wally appeared in the local rag this week and it’s a great article if you haven’t seen it. Check out page 19:
Subs for 2020
It certainly has been a challenge for so many of us in recent months as a result of Covid-19, however, the club still pushes on and financial contributions of our players, members and sponsors are critical especially in 2020!
For our subscriptions, we have discounted these as follows for 2020:
· Senior and age grades - $100 per player
· Senior and age grade teams - $1,800 per team
· Social members - $35 per person
· Partners (of playing members) - $15
· Country - $20 per person.
Please use the following bank account noting your full name:
JRFC Bank Account: 01-0519-0070195-000
Putting memberships to one side, we are always extremely grateful for any donations or contributions. Please see our Pay it Forward article also:
What's on at the club!?
There is plenty on to look forward to at the club in the coming weeks so get your calendar or diary handy and make a note:
· 20 June – Wally’s Farewell Do
· 27 June – First Home Game, ‘90's Disco Night’ with DJ Legge.
· 18 July – Home game vs Norths with the Canes vs Blues (@ Sky Stadium) on the big screen. Cripples and Colts are hosting
· 25 July – ‘Baton’s Up’ and Canes vs Crusaders (away) on the big screen.
· 1 August – Old Timer’s Day – Premier’s take on the Wellington Axemen
· 8 August – Away game vs Tawa and Canes vs Chiefs (@ Sky Stadium) on the big screen
· 15 August – Home game vs Ories and Canes vs Highlanders (away) on the big screen. Prems and Prezzies are hosting
· 22 August – Italian Job 2 – this will be bigger and better than number 1. Premiers take on Wainui also.
· 5 September – Quiz Night – Premier’s take on MSP
· 26 September – Prizegiving night with a band.
Get down to the club, have a drink and a yarn without social distancing.
The College Kids....
Our Onslow lads down the road are getting into full swing now also. This week’s grading games:
· 1st XV V Hutt Valley High School at Hutt Valley High School at 2.30pm.
· U65 V Well Coll Red at Onslow College at 11.30am.
· U55 V Paraparaumu College at Onslow College at 10am.
A big shout out to Soni Palauni who suffered a horrific leg break last week and we wish him all the best in the recovery.
We are hearing along the grapevine that Newlands will be entering a First XV this year which is great to hear. It has been a few years now.
Want to get involved as a sponsor?
Again, we sincerely thank the sponsors of our club. Our main sponsors, Woodridge Homes and Superloans.