Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club 75th Jubilee 1910-1985

Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club Inc.


1910 – 1985

JUNE 1985

Foundation of the club. 2 teams were formed – juniors & third grade.

First senior team formed. First national representative selected from the club – Phil Blake selected for NZ. Maoris.

World War 1 commences – some of Celtics players killed in the great war including Phil Blake.

Normal club rugby resumes.

Jack Blake selected for N.Z. Maoris and South Africa.

Jack Blake and Jack McNab picked for All Blacks to tour Australia – the club’s first All Blacks.

Celtic Seniors win the Maddison Trophy for the first time.

World War 2 – Clubs restricted to teams under age 21 years.

First Celtic Mass started.

– First club property purchased at 205 Victoria St.  – First Past v Present players match played.

Schoolboy rugby started to be administered by the club – previously just run by schools.

Club celebrates Golden Jubilee.

Present site of clubrooms purchased.

Clubrooms officially opened by Mr Jack Blake.

Celtics third All Black selected – Neil Thimbleby.

Celtic wins Maddison Trophy outright since 1935. Celtic wins the Spillane Cup for the first time.

First club in Hawke’s Bay to purchase their own bus.

Club purchases property next door to clubrooms.

Club celebrates 75 years.

75th Jubilee Celebrations


Friday, May 31, 1985

7.00pm.   WELCOME by his Worship the Mayor and President of the Club, Mr J.J. O’Connor and
INFORMAL GET-TOGETHER, Celtic Clubrooms, Alexandra Crescent. Booklets, name badges and other souvenirs will be distributed.

Saturday, June 1, 1985
Games at Nelson Park featuring Celtic teams:
Morning games – SCHOOLBOYS
Afternoon games – SENIORS
12.00pm.   Lunch will be available at Clubrooms at a reasonable price.
4.30pm.   After Match Function at Celtic Clubrooms, Alexandra Crescent.
7.30pm.   Dinner and Cabaret at Tomoana Showgrounds.

Sunday, June 2, 1985
9.00am.   MASS OF THANKSGIVING & REMEMBRANCE, St. John’s College Chapel, Jervois Street, then to Celtic Clubrooms for Breakfast and photo session.

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Fr. Cody’s Jubilee Message

Congratulations, Celtic, on 75 years of rugby tradition! Well done! A happy celebration as you gather to recall what Celtic means to you. A warm welcome especially if you come from outside Hastings. Surely one of the values of our club is friendship.

At this time we recall with thanks all those who have helped build the past. We are grateful to so many who have coached, been involved in administration and especially those who supported and played the game, from All Blacks and Representatives to schoolboys in green and white!

As Parish Priest, I am happy to think of links with the Parish of Sacred Heart and St John’s College. We are proud of Fr Lionel Dean, S.M., the other life members and all who have worked to make the Club what it is today.

Is it unusual to wonder if rugby has reached a decisive point in its history in New Zealand? Will it recapture the value of courageous fellowship that works on and off the field? Will there be a rediscovery that rugby reflects and forms the teamwork for young and old that goes far wider than a particular game or competition?

I wish you well for a successful jubilee Year. May it enliven you and Celtic right “to the end”.

Fr. McRae’s Jubilee Message

My best wishes to the Members and Supporters of the Celtic Rugby Football Club. Celebrate your 75 years with joy and gratitude.

A jubilee looks back on the past and looks ahead to the future. Present members remember with gratitude the vision and sacrifices of those stalwarts who laid the foundation of a great rugby club. They have good reason to look ahead with confidence to their centenary.

I am sure the qualities of character suggested by your motto “Ad Finem” club spirit, loyalty, pride and sportsmanship will carry you through to success.

May your qualities of mind, heart and body continue to attract the young men of the future to the Celtic Club.

Photo captions –
Reverend Father Philip Cody, S.M. (Co-Patron)
Reverend Father P. McRae (Co-Patron)

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Official Mayoral & President’s Welcome

IT is a very great honour to preside over and serve such a splendid institution as the Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club on the most auspicious occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the club’s foundation, and is my very great pleasure to extend a sincere and cordial welcome to you all.

It was with considerable misgivings that I undertook the formidable task in 1975 of lacing on the boots of the longest-serving president of the Celtic club, that magnificent man, the late Phil Reid. How can one adequately follow a man of that calibre; a former Celtic, New Zealand Universities and North Island player, a Marlborough, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay and R.N.Z.A.F. representative, and an “unwritten” All Black; a great rugby administrator and much-loved president of this club for twenty-six years. Replacing Phil Reid in anything but name was an impossible task, but the rewards that have come my way from trying are truly immense.

The opportunity to serve the Celtic Club in every capacity other than Club Captain has allowed me over the years to associate with some really outstanding players, administrators and wonderful people. A comprehensive list would easily fill this whole booklet, but there is no way I could pass this point without making reference to at least a few of the individuals who have left lasting impressions and spring automatically to mind amongst the foremost servants of this club.

In my early years with the club the names of Jack Blake and the Blake brothers were to the fore. Jack Blake, a All Black, Maori All Black and a member of the successful Hawke’s Bay Shield team during the 1920’s was coaching the senior team in the late 1930’s.

Later coaches included “Tut” Geddes and Laurie Hannigan and players who come to mind during the late 1930’s and 1940’s and  1950’s were the Devoy brothers, John and the late Pat, Brian Murphy, Peter Tacon, Jim Sullivan, Trevor Greville and Jack Ross to name a few.

During the period I was coaching, many players contributed to the team effort of the senior team but some of those who come to mind include Bill Stirling, Tom Southon, Joe Morunga, Don McMillan and Peter Heeney.

Since holding the office of president, two players who have made outstanding contributions to the club have been Alan Stuck and Grant Mitchinson.

In the administrative area the names of Austin McIvor, long serving president; club captains, Jack Lomas and Alan Hart are remembered for their sterling contribution to the club. The club has been well served over the years by very capable secretaries. In the past 30 years or so there have been Barney Walsh, Brian O’Neil, Dennis Leathem, David Martin, Ian Hay, Don Freer, Charlie Hide and Lester Drake.

A notable administrator in the late 1950’s, particularly in the schoolboy rugby arena was Father Lionel Dean SM, now based in Australia. Father Dean was revered by all club members and was known as the “Black Tracker”.

There have been many highlights in the 40

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years I have been active in the club. Included in them have been the 50th Jubilee in 1960, the opening of the clubrooms in 1967, the major revival on the playing scene in the early 1970’s when Neil Thimbleby (All Black to South Africa in his first year with club), Ian Bishop, Doug Curtis and Aidan Thomas (all members of the great Ranfurly Shield team in the late ’60’s) joined the club and gave many years of good service both on and off the field.

1978 was a vintage year for the club when it hosted the North Island Marist Spillane Tournament for the first time. The successful tournament was capped by success as Celtic won the Spillane Cup. This great start to the year was capitalised on when the senior team went on to win the Maddison Trophy for the first time since 1935.

And this is what the Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club is all about. A club is people, and the reason that this club has survived and prospered over seventy-five years is the extremely high quality of its membership; the comradeship and fellowship that have always been an integral component of its activities.

There is no finer birthday wish I could make to the Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club than to hope that it is served in future by as distinguished and broad-based a membership of the best citizens of this fair City of Hastings.

Welcome from Chairman H.B.R.U.

On behalf of all members of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, I extend sincere congratulations to the club on this the occasion of the 75th Jubilee of the Celtic Rugby Club and at the same time take the opportunity to welcome all past players and supporters to Hastings for the celebrations. No doubt some members have travelled great distances to be present to renew old acquaintances and recall past memories. This is a time for good friendship, of countless stories retold many times, and the replaying of memorable games.

The Celtic Rugby Football Club have had a proud record in Hawke’s Bay rugby competitions and have provided the Union with many good players and excellent administrators, both in the past and at the present.

I wish you a very successful weekend and every success as you enter the last quarter of your hundred years of History. To those who attend your Jubilee celebrations, I wish you a happy time and a safe return to your homes at the conclusion of the festivities.

K.R. Tremain Chairman, H.B.R.U.

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Hastings Sub-Union Chairmans Welcome

75 years! What a milestone in the life of any organisation. It is with great pleasure and delight that I offer my personal congratulations to the Celtic Rugby Football Club on attaining it’s 75th Jubilee.

I would like to cordially welcome all past and present players to Hastings, from wherever they have travelled, and hope that the renewing of old friendships and memories will give them the pleasure all rugby players derive from reunions. Rugby is still the greatest team sport one can participate in, and the tremendous pleasure derived socially when the competitive game is over compliments the sport.

I trust all the green and white players whose club has attained greatness, especially in Hawke’s Bay, will relive all those great past achievements again this weekend. Your Provincial Union, Sub-Union, fellow competitors and supporters salute you and wish you well.

Kia-Kaha (Be strong)
Kia-toa (Be brave)
Kia-u (Be diligent)

Tori Reid
President & Chairman H.R.S.U.

Message from the Club Chairman

AS Chairman of the club in its seventy fifth Jubilee Year, it is with great pleasure that I extend a warm welcome to all past and present members, their wives and friends, to our Seventy Fifth Jubilee celebration.

In our seventy five years there have been many players both Maori and Pakeha who have worn the green and white jersey with distinction, claimed loyalty to it, and thereby added lustre to the proud old name of Celtic.

I have been associated with the club both as a player and administrator over the last 23 years. The highlight during those years undoubtedly has been the opening of our present clubrooms in 1967. This was the result of tremendous effort, of foresight and determination from those who first mooted the idea and those who later served on the building committee. The clubrooms are now

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the life and soul of the club, without it, we would not be present today.

The success of any Jubilee depends on those who organise it. We are very fortunate that we have a Jubilee Committee, although numbering only seven, who under the guidance of David Martin have spent many hours working behind the scenes, researching the history of the club, and contacting past members.

I congratulate you men on the effort you have put in these last nine months and I have every confidence that the weekend will be a great success. Finally, I wish all those who attend or are associated with the jubilee a wonderful weekend.

Ken Russell Chairman
Celtic Rugby Club

1910 – 1920

Moonlight practices in the early days

By Joe Devoy

NIGHT after night, Celtic’s first players scrummed, rucked and belted up and down Cornwall Park by moonlight. That was fifty years ago, and there was no electricity then.

There was no 40-hour week either, and considerable effort was needed even to get to the field on time after knocking off work at midday on Saturday. Jack Carroll recounted taking four team-mates to Pakipaki on his horse – they rode bareback of course. A player playing at The Ridge, where the Memorial Hospital now stands, could clamber into a horse-drawn cab for Sixpence.

However, football was great fun in those days. You had only to hear Bill Allison, one of the foundation members , talk of it, to realise that the 2-3-2 scrum gave opportunity for brighter play, whereas our present 3-4-1 formation seems more often than not to bog games down.

Glimpses of these early days came to us from some of the foundation members – for instance, James Gallagher, Snr., the first President; Jack Hallagan, Snr., the first Treasurer; Dick Tacon, the first Secretary, and Tom Aldridge.

Now for the actual formation of the Club itself. In those days it was customary for clubs to be formed one year and disappear the next. Players were grouped more by locality than by loyalty to any ideal or tradition. Catholics were taking part in the activities of these various clubs. For instance, Mr Con O’Donoghue, proprietor of the Albert Hotel, was president of Rovers, and Mr Bill O’Neill its secretary. This was the premier team in the Hastings competition.

With names like these two mentioned above abounding, and the arrival of a new curate, Fr. Kerley, who had just been instrumental in forming a Celtic team in Timaru, it did not take much persuasion to get the parish priest, Fr. Augustus Keogh, S.M., to form the Catholic youth into a club under Catholic jurisdiction.

Just as Marist clubs throughout the country owe so much to the inspiration and enthusiasm of the Marist Brothers, so Celtic here and in Timaru, as also originally in Greymouth, can be said to have received their best ideals and love of the game from the Marist Fathers. Fr. Keogh himself, when rector at St. Patrick’s College in Wellington, took on tour in 1908 a first fifteen which put up an impressive record against all colleges in the country. Right down through the decades, St. Pat’s Old Boys have bolstered the Celtic teams in Hastings. To name but some, there have been the Blake brothers; those named in the 30’s article; and of more recent vintage, Brian and Jim Gallagher, Paul Donoghue, Paddy O’Connor, John Devoy, Pat Addis, Peter and Paul Heeney, John

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O’Rourke, Brian Donovan, Neil McAra and John McNeilly.

To continue the story of the Club’s formation, however, the first meeting was held in the old hall which was situated in the centre of the Convent School yard early in the 1910 football season. There were approximately thirty Catholic young men present, and it was decided to field two teams – a junior and third grade. Perhaps the first game was the practice match at The Ridge against Marist Brothers Old Boys juniors, Napier, which was refereed by Mr Dick Tacon, and which Celtic lost 20 – nil. However, the original junior team was to acquit itself much better than that in its first season. They lost only one match, and that against a Maori team, Kautuki (Waimarama), on a very wet day, 6 – 3.

The Club soon grew in standing with such players as Phil Blake and Tom Carroll; then later the Blake quartet, Bill, Maurice, Jack and Roley, who often formed the entire back row. Two men who later became Marist Fathers themselves were among those early players. First, Father Pat McCarthy, who was one of our few Celts to gain All Black honours; he played half-back for the 1923 All Blacks. The other, the late Father Louis Aldridge, who represented Hawke’s Bay at full-back against Wairarapa during the First World War, when teams were made up of under twenty-year-olds.

In the year prior to the First World War, Jack Carroll recalled going to Porangahau with Bill Blake as Celtic representatives in the Hastings team which played East Coast there. He did not say who won, but remembered it as being the first long trip of Nimons bus, and that they arrived back in Hastings at daybreak on Sunday.

In the first ten years of its existence, the Club had proved its worth, as a moulder of stamina and character among Catholic youth. It produced men who were prepared to give of their best not only on the football field, but unflinchingly on the more testing field of battle. From what I can gather from the few men with us still, a great number of former Celtic players lost their lives at Gallipoli, including Billy Maher, Alby Aldridge and Phil Blake. If Celtic is to prosper, it would do well to follow the example of the men of the first decade.

FOUNDATION TEAM, 1910 – Runners-up Hastings Junior Championship.
Back Row: W. Fitzwilliams, J. Corr, S. Brooking, T. Aldridge, W. Allison, J. Farrelly, W. McCormick, J. Fitzgerald.
Middle Row: J. Farrelly, J.A. Gallagher Snr. (Club Captain), W. Maher (Captain), J. Hallagan (Treasurer), J. Maggin (Vice Captain).   Front Row: A. Aldridge, C. O’Connor, E.R. Tacon (Secretary and Selector), H. Seed, E. Nugent.   In Front: Miss Moira Gallagher (Mascot).

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JUNIOR TEAM, 1912 – Winners Hastings Championship, Runners-up Combined
Back Row: R. Speir, W. Allison.   Second Row: W. Bainbridge (Line Umpire), H. Sowersby, S. Harris, W. O’Donoghue, T. Carroll, W. Dewar, A. McIvor, J. Hallagan ( Club Captain).
Third Row: J. Maggin, J. Coughlan, T. Bullick [Bullock] (Captain), R. Burden, S. Brooking.   Front Row: H. Seed, J. Fitzgerald.
Absent: R. Gallien, C. O’Connor, O. Freeth, N. Steele, L. Christensen.

Back Row: W. O’Donoghue, J. Russell, H. Herlihy, S. Brooking, W. Allison, J. Maggin, T. Fraser.
Middle Row: CH. Bunker, C. G. Stewart, T. Bullock (Club Captain), T.R. Burden, N. Steele, F. Poppelwell.
Front Row: J. Coughlan, D. MacMillan, W. Blake, H. Hedley, J. Hassett.
Absent: P. Blake (Captain), A. Hyslop (Vice-Captain), W. Farrelly, P. Matthew.

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CELTIC, 1913 – Winners Sachs Johnson Shield and the Lane Cup.
Back Row: P.J. Carrol [Carroll], T. Bullock, W. O’Donoghue, W. Allison, J. Hassett, M. Sowersby, —, T. Fraser.
Middle Row: A. La Broome, N. Steele, F. King, H. Seed, W. Blake, S. O’Connor.
Front Row: T.D. Carroll, F. Poppelwell, E. Herlihy, B. Speers.

SENIOR TEAM, 1927 – Winners of Lane Cup.
Standing: E. Richardson, L. Vogtherr, J. Hassett, W. Single, R. Blake, H. Rose, S. Nesbitt, T. McNab.
Middle Row: J. Keith, R. Yule, L. Eddy, E. Wall (Club Captain), J. Blake (Captain), I. McDonald, E. G. Geddes, J. Hall.   In Front: R. Attwood, H. Priestley, J. Geenty, T. Fitzgerald.   Inset: G. Tait, G. White.
Absent: R. Evans, R. Harold, A. Fortune, W. Davis, — Hines, V. Tremewan.

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The Twenties
Rugby had adventurous flavour then

By Jack Blake

DURING World War I the playing age of senior football was restricted to under twenty-one. By 1921, my first year senior for Celtic, the age limit had been lifted and football was, as it were, emerging from a stage where the under-21-year olds were being mixed up with older players who, in the main, were returned soldiers who had played quite a bit of football in France and in the desert as well.

The immediate post-war years were influenced greatly by the returned men, who were the stronger and better players, and I can remember the prevalence of khaki shorts which, as a rule, designated a returned soldier. Games in those days were followed by a more complete relaxation and friendliness than obtained towards the end of the ’20’s and since.

In this post-war period we had Austin McIvor on the wing, Roy O’Donoghue (Hawke’s Bay), a centre, a hooker called Davis who could take care of most things, my brother Bill (Hawke’s Bay), and a very good forward, Jack McNab, who later gained Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand honours. All these players were returned men.

Teams were a bit scratchy, apparel was not always uniform and numbered jerseys hardly ever seen in club football. A lot of clubs found it hard to field the full fifteen players; it was not unusual then to see twelve or thirteen players take the field, and sometimes fourteen might be the maximum number to go right through the whole game. A reason could be that population was very much smaller and there were just as many teams playing in Hastings as there are today.

It was hard in many ways to relate the excellence of the Hawke’s Bay provincial team to the individual club football that existed throughout Hawke’s Bay about that time, because club football bore little resemblance to the type and quality that was played by the Hawke’s Bay side. A good reason for this could be that in the team were men from Wairoa to Dannevirke, and except for the Hastings Club, very few club teams had more than one representative in the side, and therefore the quality of Hawke’s Bay provincial players was spread thinly throughout the province.

I can remember well how the Wellington “Evening Post” and “Dominion” made the Wellington club football look very good, while local papers could not truthfully do the same for us; yet when a Wellington team played Hawke’s Bay the results were easily in favour of the “Bay”.

Play in the ’20’s was good, if only from the point of view that there was less direction from the side-line and captains were free to dictate policy governing their play on the field. And while mistakes were sometimes made, a more adventurous flavour was added to the game, and players would use their initiative more and take more chances. There is no doubt that the absence of the more serious type of coaching – which almost amounted to brain-washing – made Rugby more fun, certainly to the players and, I think, spectators alike.

One of the strongest club sides in Hawke’s Bay used to be Hastings, who at one part had four or five All Blacks, including the Brownlies, Kirkpatrick and Grenside, yet funnily enough Celtic, although sometimes beaten by mediocre to poor teams, nearly always could be depended on to give Hastings a good game and most often won more than its share.

Another good forward we had was “Snowie” Miller, who gained Hawke’s Bay honours, and with him was Walter (“Dr”) Wilson (NZ. Maoris and H.B.). At no time was our team a heavy one –  mobility with speed seemed to be our chief asset –  and with George Tait, “Doggie” White and Les Eddy, my brothers Billy, Maurice and Roly, the back-line included quite a few reps. Jack le Quesne was ever a staunch tackler like his father, and another good winger was Jock McKenzie.

Other good players were the late Ted Wall, Bill Percy, Jimmy Morgan, London Kelly, Bill Single, Joe Geenty, Harry Priestly, Rob Yule from Eskdale and his late brother Ralph. I

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should not forget as well Tom Brenchley, who was a member of the Police Force and played for us a little earlier than when Dave Beck, also of the force, played for Hastings.

There are a lot more players whose names I am sorry I cannot recall, but all will agree that our Club provides a medium for young men to play a game that builds physique and character and makes friendships that last through the years.

Standing: S. Duigan, S. Donovan, C. Gulbransen, H. Hearn (Coach), R. Hird, W. Richards, H. Horton.
Middle Row: D. McArthur, J. Townsend, E. Jillings, J. Keith, W. Wells, H. Stevenson.
Front Row: R. Isaacson, S. Lewis, F. Mollison, J. Wattie.

JUNIOR TEAM, 1921 – Winners Hawke’s Bay Championship, Hastings Championship.
Back Row: J. Hassett, W. Sturrock, D. O’Brien (Coach), D. O’Brien (Club Secretary), H. Single. W. Love.
Middle Row: G. Davies, J. Phillips, J. McKeown, S. Tomoana (Captain), T. Coughlan, T. Ropiha, J. Wallace.
Front Row: R. Honnour, F. Conway, C. Curd, E. Begley.

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Jack Blake

Jack Blake was born in Hastings on the 21st of June, 1902. He was educated at the Hastings Convent School and St. Patricks College, Wellington, where he was a member of the 1st XV from 1918 – 1920. In 1921 Jack returned to Hastings and started playing for Celtic. He was a member of one of Hawke’s Bay’s most illustrious rugby families. Bill, Roley, Phil, Maurice and Jack all having played for Celtic with only Roley not gaining H.B. honours. Phil, Maurice and Jack played for N.Z. Maoris.

Jack was 19 years of age when he first represented Hawke’s Bay in 1921, playing at 2nd 5/8 7 times and scoring 7 tries. Jack was described in his playing days as a beautifully balanced runner. He was then picked on the wing for that famous match for N.Z. Maoris against South Africa at Napier in

In 1922 after 5 games for Hawke’s Bay, scoring 4 tries, Jack went to Australia with the N.Z. Maoris. He appeared in 9 matches and the team defeated N.S.W. in the series. On his return he played against the All Blacks.

Jack had appendicitis in 1923 and did not play until the following year when he again played for Hawke’s Bay and in the N.Z. trials, just missing out on selection with the 1924 – 1925 All Black Invincibles to U.K. and France.

In 1925 he made 8 appearances for Hawke’s Bay and for the North Island (1 try) and was then selected for the N.Z. team to tour Australia, playing 6 matches and scoring 2 tries.

In 1926 he again represented Hawke’s Bay, North Island and N.Z. Because he was chosen for N.Z., he was unable to tour France and Britain with the N.Z. Maori team. Jack played for Hawke’s Bay until 1928 and would have been a certainty for the N.Z. tour to South Africa had the Maori players been allowed to tour.

Jack was an important member of the great Hawke’s Bay side from 1922 to 1927 and played in 18 Shield matches scoring 22 tries. After his retirement Jack returned to coach the seniors in the 1930’s. His time as coach was highlighted with the team winning the Maddison Trophy in 1935.

Jack has continued his association with the club and was honoured when he was formally invited to open the present club rooms in 1967.

There is no doubt that the name Jack Blake is almost synonomous with the name Celtic, because he was not only a great player and our first All Black, but also a person who has lent support to the club spanning almost the entire seventy five years. It is therefore timely that he has been honoured with life membership in the Club’s 75th year.

He still has a family association with the Club as he has grandchildren presently playing for the Club.

Jack McNab

John Alexander McNab was born at Hastings on 14 December, 1895. He was educated at Hastings Boys’ High School. On leaving the school he served in the Army

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during World War I. On his return, he joined the Celtic club and represented it and Hawke’s Bay until 1925. Jack was a tall 6ft 1 inch and 13 1/2 stone back row forward and a great player. His record speaks for itself:
Hawke’s Bay 1920 – 1925.
North Island 1922 – 1924.
NZ. Trialist 1924 (Invincibles tour 1924/25).
All Black 1925.

Jack also played for Hawke’s Bay – Poverty Bay against the 1921 Springboks and played in twelve Ranfurly Shield mathes [matches] during the Bay’s first shield era.

He was chosen for the 1925 All Blacks to tour Australia, but unfortunately he played only one match on that tour as he was forced to return home because of illness.

Jack retired from all rugby that year, but his association with the club continued throughout the year. In fact the first Past and Present match was played at McNabs property at Twyford in 1953.

Jack McNab passed away on 23 July, 1979, aged 83.

Walter Wilson

Walter Wilson was born at Waimarama in 1904 and was educated in Wairoa.

Walter first came to notice in 1926 when he was chosen for an historic tour by the NZ. Maoris to Great Britain and France. Walter was a loose forward and was 22 years of age when he was selected and weighed in at 13 stone 7 and 6’ 1” in height.

This N.Z. Maori team played games in Australia, Ceylon, France, England, Wales and Canada.

The official note on players on the tour described Walter Wilson as “one of the giants of the team, an excellent loose forward with a partiality for loose play”.

Wally played in 13 matches on that tour. He was again selected for N.Z. Maoris to tour N.S.W. in 1928 and for them against Australia in NZ. in 1931.

Such was the strength of Hawke’s Bay Rugby in those days that Walter was not selected for Hawke’s Bay until 1930.

Walter along with fellow Celtic member Jack Blake was excluded from the N.Z. trials prior to the tour to South Africa in 1928 because of their race.

He finished his career with-Celtic in 1934 but continued to follow Celtics progress. His son Tom played for Celtic in the early 1960’s.

Roll of Honour
1914   1939-1945

In Memory of those Members of the Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club who paid the Supreme Sacrifice in the two World Wars
“May they Rest in Peace”
A Memorial Mass will be said at St John’s College Chapel, on Sunday, June 2nd at 9.00am.

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The Spirit of the Club

By Joe Devoy

THIS is an indefinable thing, but nevertheless, very real. Every player, past and present, who has had the interests of the Club at heart knows what it means. In celebrating the Seventy Fifth Jubilee of the Club, it is only right we should try and crystallise in words the principles on which the Club was founded, and by recalling them to mind renew the vigour of the Club’s beginnings.

One thing and one thing only determined the formation of the Celtic Club – the desire to give visible evidence of a living Faith in the field of sport, just as in every other aspect of life.

Probably it is when the team is up against it, either for players or for talent, that the Club spirit shows itself best. For instance, I have seen a junior team Saturday after Saturday take the field with anything up to five men short – almost sure of defeat, yet always battling, never giving in till the final whistle. How aptly Chesterton’s words could be applied to them: “You can hunt the Christian man like a hare upon the hillside, but he has more heart to lose again than you have heart to win again”. This is very true of Celtic. Numerically, we are dependent on a minority group for our players. Consequently, all the greater credit must go to coaches and players who, by dint of hard practice, produce form which often causes the defeat of competition leaders.

A tribute to those not only Catholics who join us on the field of sport. Always they have been well represented in our ranks. I have wondered why this is so, and can only think of some explanation like this: There was a man whom everyone knew as Murphy. One day, quite by chance, I discovered his name was Moffat. Asked why he was called Murphy, he said, “Just out of sympathy for the Irish”. However, probably it is more the appeal of the Celtic temperament – fiery, but never harbouring a grudge; ever ready to pick an opening, to do the most unexpected thing – translated into action on the rugby field that can win popularity for any team. That, together with the constant will to win and good comradeship with team-mates and opponents, go to sum up in some way the spirit which is Celtic’s.

FOURTH GRADE TEAM, 1928 – Winners Hastings Championship.
Back Row: V. Taylor, Joe Wall, D. Merrick, C. Roberts, D. Motley, Ray Heeney, R. O’Connor.   Middle Row: F. Kyle (Coach), W. Large, O. Simmonds, G. McKennie (Captain), C. Martin, R. Dawson, W. Richards (Secretary).   Front Row: H. Holdsworth, V.P. Long, I. Avison, R. Sunley.

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The Thirties
“One third of the way …”

By Jack Hallagan
(written for the 50th Jubilee Magazine. Jack Hallagan is now deceased).

75 YEARS in the life of any organisation is a proud achievement, and Celtic’s seven and a half decades is no exception!

A closer look at each decade gives us a better picture of the progress this rugby club has made in its time, and to me the privilege of covering the glorious thirties is one I accept with pleasurable pride. In this great game of seventy five years the 1930’s marked a period of greater changes, great advances and greater progress.

Many thoughts come to the writer of happenings great and small during these years. No single event nor person really stands out as the hallmark of a glorious era – but glorious I really think it was. Opening as it did with a great provincial tragedy in the 1931 ’quake, it closed with a global upheaval in the Second World War, but in between these catastrophies the Celtic Club made quite remarkable progress.

The “gears” of the 20’s changed place with neat, well-laundered white pants with equally clean and well-defined green and white jerseys. A pride in appearance was recognised by supporters and rivals alike as a notable advance, and clearly numbered jerseys gave a tone to our first fifteen which is evident to this day.

Our green blazer with its white piping and significant pocket came first into being in the mid-thirties. It was the Rev. Fr. W.J. Schaeffer, SM., who designed the pocket with its meaningful motto “Ad Fidem” (For the Faith). The writer still possesses the original sample with this correct, though faded, motto. By some accident all subsequent pockets were inscribed “Ad Finem”. It might well be argued that (fight) “to the finish” has always been a characteristic of Hastings Celts!

Remininscences [Reminiscences] are part and parcel of any jubilee, and the thirties bristle with incidents and personalities worthy of remembrance. Many a smile will light a Celtic face at mention of the word “gears”. Would I be wrong if I gave to Maori All Blacks Wally Wilson (who represented the Club in two decades) the honour of first uttering a word which became a stock phrase? I don’t think I’ll be far out.

The major field success of the thirties was

SENIOR TEAM, 1934 – Co-winners Luttrell Cup
Back Row: W. Thurlow (Coach), W. Large, R. Heeney, C. Thompson, A. Bennett, D. Simon, F. Kelly, W. James, W. Wilson.   Middle Row: J. Calnan, L.J. Hannigan, E.G. Geddes (Capt.), T. Cunningham, M. Evans, A. McKennie.
In Front: J. Bennett, J. King.

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surely the winning of the coveted Hawke’s Bay championship in 1935, the year of our silver jubilee. The Club was certainly moving to better things, and followed this success with the Lane Cup in 1937 and the Maddison Shield in 1939. It was no disgrace that the latter honour was shared with Hastings and M.A.C., but were it not for a draw (3 – 3) with our good friends Tech Old Boys in the very last game, the win would have been absolute.

Jackie Blake coached the seniors that year and the names of grand fellows who later died on active service add lustre to that successful side. The names of Robbie McCarthy and Hawea Tomoana will ever be remembered for their part in that champion side.

A Celtic roll of honour brings to our memory the names of Tommy Cunningham (Maori Battalion), Dick Peers (Fleet Air Arm), Albert McKennie, Moss Garvey, Max Baillie, John O’Connor, Bernie Begley, all players at some stage during the period; and one who died while secretary of the Club – Bill Brigden. Bill’s death in 1937 was a severe blow to the Club at a vital stage in its life.

The thirties saw Celtic’s acceptance into Spillane tournament rugby with an unsuccessful debut at Gisborne in 1936, which was marked nevertheless by an exhibition of gameness which secured Celtic’s place in this competition. Many happy Easter memories of Palmerston North (1937), Napier (1938) and Wanganui (1939) remain with those who made these tours. Had it not been for the outbreak of war in September, 1939, Hastings Celtic was to be host to the North Island Marist clubs at Easter, 1940. Success came to the Celts in 1937, when at Palmerston North we annexed the Brennan and Moran Cups, fielding our side decked in Hastings sub-union colours!

An honours board of players of the thirties would popularly be headed by Phil Reid, twice mentioned in the Rugby Almanac of that decade, firstly as a most promising player (1937) and in the “First Five” for 1939. It will never be known if the proposed All Black side for Africa in 1940 was to have Phil, but none will deny that his play with

SENIOR TEAM, 1935 Winners Hawke’s Bay Championship, Luttrell Cup.
Back Row: W.B. Piper, M. Garvey, T. Cunningham, T. Townshend, E. Colebrook, E. Rollander, E. Galgey.
Second Row: J. Manaena, B. Hassett, N. Griffiths, D. Simon, T. McHardy, FA. Kelly, W. James (Masseur).
Sitting: J. Calnan, H. McKenzie (Treasurer), E. G. Geddes (Captain), W. Thurlow (Coach), L.J. Hannigan (Vice-Captain), W.E. Brigden (Secretary), J. Hollis.
In Front: A. Bower, D. Pullen.
Absent: H. Tomoana, J. Blake (Trainer).

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Crossman in The Rest v. New Zealand in September, 1939, was a classic of inside back play which carved the opposition to shreds. The Rest defeated New Zealand by 22 – 3 and Phil’s contribution was two tries.

Phil represented Hawke’s Bay many times from 1937 to 1941, and with him in that era “Tut” Geddes, Laurie Hannigan, Mick Kelly, Ray Fox, Bill Large and Joe Allsop all played with honour for our province. Phil Reid and Laurie Hannigan both played against the 1937 Springboks at Napier, where Laurie took a knock intended for another forward with the same “tonsure”. Celtic supplied three members of the Hawke’s Bay Colts in these years with Dick Simon (1935), Hawea Tomoana (1936) and Jack Ross (1939) catching the selector’s eye.

There must always be a place of honour for a number of Maori Celts (“sunburned Irishmen” someone once said) who had the respect of the Club during these years. Bishop Bennett’s sons, the Rev. Wi Huata, Derek Maaka, Togo Chadwick, Joe (“Hohepa”) Manaena, George Harvey, Hawea and Tommy Tomoana, Joe Mataira and many more were held in esteem both as players and companions.

The history of the thirties would be incomplete without mention of stalwart “camp followers” Tiki Fraser and the late “Bluey” Humphries, of Jock Brown, whose Haumoana bus we found cheaper for tours, of “Tut” Geddes, the evergreen all-rounder whose “retirements” were broken so often by stand-in games when we were short, of Harry Hearn, one time treasurer and constant supporter, Bill James, expert masseur, and Bill Thurlow, proud coach of the champion 1935 team.

Just as the Old Boys of St. Patrick’s College, Wellington, gave a boost to the Club in the twenties, so in the thirties did the new Silverstream give us well trained Old Boys for both junior and Senior grades. In one particular senior side in 1938 the back-line from half to wing read: Bill Tacon, Vaughan Hallagan, Phil Reid, Ray Fox and Gabe Hannah, with two forwards in Jack Caulton and Bernie Pederson. Quite a contribution! Felix Campbell and Cyril McCarty were other Old Boys who strengthened Celtic during this period.

The characters of any book often creep back into the memory of a reader, and the chapter of the thirties of the Hastings Celtic Football Club must recall to you, as to me, the names of “characters” who left their

SENIOR TEAM, 1936 Winners Hawke’s Bay Challenge Shield, Lane Cup, Luttrell Cup, Moriarty Shield
Back Row: F. Scanlan, E. Gagley [Galgey], A. Bower, M. Garvey, J. Hollis, E. Rollander, D. Pullen.
Front Row: J.M. Blake (Coach), E. G. Geddes (Club Captain), F.A. Kelly (Vice Captain, L.J. Hannigan (Captain), W.E. Brigden (Secretary), h. Tomoana, W. James (Masseur).   Absent: T. Townshend, T. Cunningham, U. Mechen, R. Griffiths.

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mark on the pages of those days. Bowers, Pullen, Galgey, Hollis (Jim and Joe), McCourt, McKenzie, the McKennies (Dordie, Daddy and Doug) . . . such characters could be added to by many readers, but suffice to say that the days of the thirties were days when friendships were made and cemented on and off the rugby paddock. Who will forget the “after-the-match” functions when mine host “Pop” Gallagher joined us in rejoicing in a win or lamenting a loss. May the spirit of those days never depart from the ranks of Celts who down the years, we hope, will honour the jersey and the Club which proudly bears the name “CELTIC”.

SENIOR TEAM, 1939 – Co-winners Hawke’s Bay Championship and Maddison Trophy, Moriarty Shield.
Standing at Back: A. Bower, D. Maaka, J. Caulton, R. Fox.   Standing: G. McKennie, T. Chadwick, F. Campbell, D. Watson, J. Ross, E. Galgey, H. McKenzie, J. Walford.   Sitting: J.M. Blake (Coach), R. McCarthy, L.J. Hannigan (Vice-Captain), P.J. Reid (Captain), L.V. Hallagan, E.G. Geddes, J.D. Hallagan (Secretary).
In Front: D. Pullen, H. Tomoana.   Absent: N. Collins, J. Allsop.

E.G. “Tut” Geddes

THE Mid-Twenties saw the arrival in Club ranks of a player who was destined to achieve distinction in many fields of sport, but who was always to retain Rugby as his greatest interest. “Tut” Geddes was unique as a sportsman, able to excel and gain representative honours in whatever sport he became interested in. Businesses in those days closed on mid-week afternoons, so “Tut” was able to play two winter sports – hockey on Wednesday and rugby on Saturdays.

He played for Celtic seniors as half-back for fifteen years, and as well as representing the sub-union consistently over that period, played as half-back for Hawke’s Bay in 1930 and 1934.

As full-back he played in the Hawke’s Bay hockey team in the early thirties. An efficient cricketer, he was opening batsman and wicket-keeper for the Hawke’s Bay team.

In 1926 he gained the Hawke’s Bay diving title, which he held for ten years. He also represented Hawke’s Bay at the New Zealand swimming championships.

His playing days more or less over, “Tut” turned his energies towards rugby coaching and committee work. After his service overseas with the 19th Armoured Regiment, he and Laurie Hannigan became most efficient as coaches of the Club’s senior teams. In recognition of years of meritorious services the Club was pleased to elect him a life member in 1952.

Page Nineteen

Phil Reid

THE passing in 1981 of Phil Reid, one of Celtic’s greatest members on and off the field, was a sad loss to club members.

Phil was the club’s President from 1949 until 1974. Under the old constitution he was mandatory Chairman until 1970. This must be a record in itself.

Those in the Club who were privileged to serve with him know what marvellous attributes and unique talents he possessed. Kindly, humble and blessed with a patient nature he was able to sum up problems which seemed unsurmountable to most. He was indeed endowed with an analytical mind.

In his era, one of the greatest achievements was to oversee erection of the Clubrooms.

Phil was born in Hastings in 1917. He was educated at Trentham Primary School, his parents having moved to Wellington in the early twenties.

Rugby played a big part in his life even at an early age. He was a Hutt Valley representative in 1929-30, after which he attended St Patrick’s College Silverstream and was a member of the lst XV between 1933 and 1935.

On leaving college he played for Victoria University 1st XV in 1936 and 37, and was selected for the New Zealand Universities team in those years.

On transferring to Hastings in June, 1937, he joined Celtic and represented the Club and Hawke’s Bay until 1940. He represented the North Island at second five-eighth in 1939 and scored two tries. He played in the All Black trials that year and seemed certain to be picked for the All Blacks tour of South Africa the following year. However, the Second World War intervened.

He was a bomber pilot in the Air Force, and in 1941 he clocked up 2000 flying hours and was awarded the Distinguished Fly Cross for gallantry. While in the Air Force he represented Marlborough, Manawatu and the RNZAF.

Phil was also a great administrator for the game in Hawke’s Bay, and was a member of the Hastings Sub Union for 31 years.

Photo caption –  Club President 1949-1974

SENIOR TEAM, 1942 – Winners Hastings Championship, Knock-out Tournament, Moriarty Shield
Back Row: K. Percival, F. Kilkelly, R. Mathews, P. Corby, M. Sullivan.   Middle Row: A. Stoddart, H. Parkinson, G. Geddes, T. Greville, G. MacKenzie, E. Lamb, A. Adams.   Front Row: B.J. Walsh (Secretary), R. Wall, G. Marryott, P. Addis (Capt), B. O’Kane, P. Revell, E.G. Geddes (Coach).

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The ’Forties
“The Club through the War Years”

By Barney Walsh

WITH the Second World War six months old, the chairman, Mr Austin McIvor, told the Club’s 1940 annual meeting that some Celtic boys had already been lost, and football would be playing only a small part in activities. It was up to the older men to see that there was a Celtic Club when the boys came home.

It was in 1940 that Celtic’s fifth grade team, coached by Alan Hart, put up a great record. They won the Hawke’s Bay championship, were Hastings champions and winners of the knockout competition. These were the scores in their notable performance: 25-0, 29-3, 28-0, 29-0, 44-0, 19-0, 14-3, 44-0, 28-0, 26-0. Played 10, won 10. Points for 277, against 6.

That year Celtic entered five teams in the competition: Senior, junior, thirds, fourths and fifths.

In 1941, because many of our playing members were on active service, the Club fielded only four teams: senior, third, fourths and fifth grade. The seniors did well in the first round, but the second round found competition harder and several heavy defeats were suffered. The third grade finished runners-up. Fourths and fifths finished well up in the competition.

With the war at its height, the 1942 season was not a bright one for rugby, and the Hastings Rugby Sub-Union competition was restricted to players under twenty years. The Club was able to field only one team, but this team won the competition against some strong opposition.

In 1943 two teams were entered in the competition. They were: Senior (under twenty) coached by Messrs Geddes and Hannigan, and Junior (under eighteen) coached by Messrs Watson and Wrenn. The senior team tied with Te Aute College for the Hastings championship.

In 1944, the return of some of the boys enabled the Club to field four teams: Senior, junior, thirds and fourths. Napier had no third and fourth grade competition, and the sub-union allowed players from there to play in Hastings. Celtic were strengthened with players from Napier Marist. The fourth grade team, coached by D. Watson and A. Hart, won the Hastings championship.

By the 1945 season rugby was on the up and up and the Club was experiencing an influx of new players. The Club entered four teams in the competition, but after three games the fourths were forced to withdraw due to a shortage of players. The best performance was given by the juniors. They were runners-up in the competition, finishing

Standing at Back: D. Watson, Peter Buck, J. Devoy, K. Murphy, B. O’Kane, B. Aldridge, P. Addis, R. Tutaki, L. J. Hannigan (Coach).   Middle Row: C. Shannon, B. Garnett, K. McKenzie, J. Ross, W. Parker, P. Devoy, D. Pullen.   In Front: M.J. Sullivan, J. O’Connor, S. G. Jones.

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one point behind the winners.

In 1946 three teams were entered in the competitions, all efforts to get a fourth grade team failing. The senior team, after losing their five games, had a great run. They lost only one more game, and that in the final of the Lane Cup. The juniors and thirds played well.

The 1947 and 1948 seasons were lean years. Players under twenty-one were being called up for compulsory territorial service. Young men were serving three months in camp, and those who had done their training were going into week-end camps. Older players in the senior teams were retiring, and it was hard to field regular fifteens. Football declined right throughout New Zealand.

It was in the 1948 season that the Club had visions of building its own gym. The committee was instructed to look around for a site.

In the 1949 season four teams were entered in the competitions. It was pleasing to see the teams at full strength, after the last two seasons. The seniors had a very good team. They won the Brennan Cup at the Spillane tournament at Auckland, and defeated Napier Marist for the McKew Cup. Teams’ performances: Senior, third in competition; junior, tied for second place; thirds, runners-up.

Players who Represented Hawke’s Bay, 1940-49
B. Begley (deceased)   M. Sullivan
T.C. O’Connor   V. Caccioppoli
J. O’Connor   J. Devoy
P. Tacon   P. Devoy
P. Addis   T. Greville

Brevities from the ’Forties

September 1, 1940: Club donated 10 pounds to Catholic Club at Trentham.
September 28, 1940: Celtic Cricket Club formed.
April 4, 1940: Mr R. Hewitt elected life member.
June 13, 1944: Club made life member of Hawke’s Bay Crippled Children Society in recognition of its financial support over the years.
October 3, 1944: Club gave 20 pound to Convent Memorial Baths.

SPILLANE TOURNAMENT, EDEN PARK, 1949 – Brennan Cup Winners
Back Row: J. Lomas, R. Wiggins, C. Barrett, P. Christensen, P. Devoy, J. O’Kane.   Middle Row: D. McMillan, A. Bower, B. Parker, B. Barry, K. Murphy.   Front Row: A.R. Riley, P. A. Tacon (Capt), L. A. Miller (Coach), M.J. Sullivan.   Kneeling: P. Houlahan, M. O’Sullivan. In Front: B. Henry (Ball Boy).

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Standing: B. Kale (Coach), H. Houlahan, N. Wallace, E. Epplett, S. Chapman, D, Hunt, S. Flower. Sitting: F. Brown, A. Hay, M. Kale, B. Barry, B. Birt.   In Front: I. Hamilton, P. Marryott, D. Baker, K. Stinson, A. Blakey. Absent: K. Sleeman.

THIRD GRADE TEAM, 1949 – Runners -up for Hastings Championship, Winners Moriarty Shield
Back Row: R. Mossman, Peter Heeney, F. O’Kane, P. Matthews P. Vesty, P. Kale.   Middle Row: D. Hunt, A. Nankervis, Paul Heeney, M. Elliot, M. Cowan.   Front Row: J. Seed, D. King, H. O’Kane (Capt.) J. Stinson (Coach), K. Blakey, J. Andrews.

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Standing: D. G. Baker (Coach), H. Pomeroy, K. Blakey, R. T. Cameron, T.P. Parker, G. G. Cross, B. Callahan.
Sitting: N.J. Fitzwater, D. Overend, R. Lamb (Capt), B. Gillies (Vice-Capt), H. Baker.
In Front: K. Walsh, W. Thomson, D. Alderman, M. Cowan.

FIFTH GRADE TEAM, 1940 Joint Winners Hawke’s Bay Championship, Winners Hastings Championship, Knock-out Competition, Moriarty Shield.
Played 10, won 10. Points for 277, points against 6.
Back Row; H. Parkinson, E. Priest, J. Lahood, R. Bryant, J. Stone.   Sitting: A. Hutton, J. Sullivan, B. O’Kane (Vice-Capt), B. Brooker (Capt), P. Devoy, M. Aldridge, A. Hart (Coach)
In Front: K. Percival, A. Oulaghan.

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Celtic’s War Effort

THE Celtic Club is proud of its war effort on the home front as well as in the armed forces. The Club organised and ran dances from 1940 to 1946 and raised more than 1,700 pounds for patriotic funds.

The letter reproduced here speaks for itself:-

All correspondence conveying offers on behalf of the Hastings Borough Council and all correspondence relating to property transactions & settlement of claims are entirely WITHOUT PREJUDICE

P.O. Box 218

Town Clerk’s Office
New Zealand

15th. April 1946


The President,
Celtic Rugby Football Club

Dear Sir,

Now that the war is over and collection of Patriotic Funds has ceased, I would like to place on record our appreciation of the wonderful contribution towards Patriotic Funds, made by your Club during the war period.

By the holding of regular dances over the whole of the period no less a sum than £1,707 was paid to me by your Club.

This patriotic effort, sustained over such a long period, is I think one of which your Club should be justly proud. Yours faithfully.

[…] Harding


Two of the Few

REV. FATHER PADDY BUTLER, who was a playing member of Celtic during the forties is the only Club representative of recent decades to have been ordained in the Catholic priesthood. The Club’s esteem for Paddy, as he was popularly known in his football days, was shown at a presentation evening to him in 1956 to mark the occasion of his ordination.

MIKE HANNAH was a playing member of Celtic during the decade just past. After a long and meritorious career in local and national boxing circles, he attained the distinction of representing New Zealand at the British Empire Games in Vancouver as a welter-weight. After a short career in professional boxing Mike retired, and is now fighting the good fight as Brother Leo, a Marist Lay Brother, in Wellington.

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Jim O’Connor

By Brent Reid

If the Celtic Rugby Club were to produce a roll of honour in recognition of members who have made a significant contribution to the sport since the club was formed 75 years ago, then the person at the top of the list would most assuredly be Jim O’Connor.

To say this is in no way diminishing the efforts of countless hundreds of players, administrators, loyal helpers and supporters, but rather to illustrate the role Jim has played.

For purposes of simplicity, it would be easier to list what Jim hasn’t achieved, instead of his achievements.

Currently President of Celtic, the only two positions he hasn’t held with the club are Club Captain and Vice-President.

Though a club man first and foremost – “rugby is nothing without its grassroots” – his contribution has been for the good of Hawke’s Bay Rugby as a whole “The game is bigger than the individual or the club”, he has often said. And this is something I have heard him stress many times as chairman of the Hastings Rugby Sub-Union to members who seem incapable of lifting their thinking above club level.

In statistical terms Jim O’Connor started his rugby life when he joined Celtic 37 years ago. Since then he has been a player – representing Celtic, the Hastings Sub-Union and Hawke’s Bay – a coach and an administrator of the highest order.

To those not close to Jim, he is probably best known as chairman of the HRSU, a position he held for a remarkable 15 years until he retired at the annual general meeting last year. Before attaining the position of chairman, Jim served on the sub-union for 16 years, making his total time on the organisation 31 years.

He also served with distinction on the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, and no one on that body during his years of service will forget his monumental battles, albeit successful, to achieve equal representation for Hastings.

But his crowning glory was doubtless his election as manager of the Hawke’s Bay team for 55 matches during the 1960s, culminating in the winning of the Ranfurly Shield in 1966 and 22 defences over the subsequent three years.

“He was”, said Colin le Quesne, selector- coach of the team, “the best manager I ever had”.

To Jim O’Connor, they were great days in Hawke’s Bay rugby, and though the results of the provincial side since the loss of the shield in 1969 have not always been something to write home about, he fervently believes the Bay will enjoy another great era.

Of the shield side he says: “They were a magnificent, well-balanced side without any weakness”.

Though the shield team, by general consent, is regarded as the greatest of the post-war era, Jim is adamant that the teams in the preceding two or three years to the shield being won against Waikato on September 24, 1966, were of similar quality.

For instance, the 1964 team inflicted two of the heaviest “home” defeats on Canterbury and Otago, while the following year the Bay should to all intents and purposes, have lifted the shield off Taranaki. “Mitigating circumstances cost us that match”, he recalls. One such circumstance was obviously the reverse pass by Barry Neale, the halfback, which put Dennis Smith, the winger, in for a try, but the pass was so skilfully concealed that the referee didn’t see what had happened, and ruled no try.

While his time as manager of a top team and administrator at a high level were natural extensions to his earlier involvement in rugby, Jim never saw them as anything more than that. Deep down his ambition was

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to foster the “grassroots” of the game, and this was never better exemplified than his devotion to schoolboy rugby.

Behind every good man there is a good woman, so the saying goes, and in Jim’s case, this is certainly true. His wife, Isla, who I believe is the only woman life member of a rugby union in New Zealand, was at his side when he was one of the instigators in establishing Saturday morning rugby in Hastings some 30 years ago.

One of my lasting memories of Isla is a photograph of her in the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune which showed her in the process of putting down a scrum. And I will put my last dollar on it that the boys who didn’t follow her instructions to the letter on how to bind, got a real ear-bashing.

During the early days of Saturday morning rugby, Jim and Isla conscientiously picked up youngsters from outlying schools, such as Riverslea (it was then outside the town limits) and took them to their respective grounds.

Not long after, Jim, realising there was enormous natural talent in the country schools, formed a combined country team from such schools as Sherenden, Crownthorpe, Maraekakaho and Mangateretere.

At the same time he coached the Celtic team twice a week. This involvement in schoolboy rugby lead to him being appointed as selector of the Hastings Ross Shield team – and during his eight years in this capacity, Jim’s team won the shield six times. Even then Jim showed a shrewdness which was characteristic of his entire career.

On one occasion Jim had a Maori boy who he believed would be an integral part of the team, but who, because of a greater desire to eat than train, weighed 9st 21b – well above the 8st limit allowed for the tournament.

Not to be deterred, Jim promptly visited the boy’s parents, and told them that their son was to be a guest of the O’Connor household for a week.

At the O’Connors the boy lived on oranges and little else. A week later he tipped the scales at 8st. He was in the team. Immediately after the weigh-in, Jim took the boy to the pie cart – presumably to build up his strength and Jim watched in amazement as the lad demolished the biggest feed of steak and eggs he had ever seen.

While Jim has achieved a great deal in life – he is now in his fourth term as Mayor of Hastings, and a successful businessman he has never lost sight of the little man or the importance of fostering young rugby players.

And for this reason alone, the Celtic Rugby Club, on the occasion of its 75th Jubilee, should pay homage to a man who has given the club 37 years.

More than that, he has given it inspiration.

Back Row: J. McCourt (Manager), M. Cowan, F. O’Kane, B. Murphy, R. Wiggins, S. Reid, C. Barrett, L. Heeney.
Sitting: D. McMillan, Peter Heeney, B. Parker (Captain), M.J. Sullivan, J. O’Connor, B. McCourt.
In Front: T. Greville, R. Scott.

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SENIOR TEAM, 1955 – Winners Hawke’s Bay Challenge Shield, Hastings Championship, Connop Cup, Brady Cup, McKew Cup.
Back Row: R. Brady, T. Greville, K Murphy, Joveci Bau, L. Heeney, J. O’Rourke, Peter Heeney, D. Hunt.
Middle Row: K. Barry, O. McMillan, F. O’Kane (Vice Captain), J. O’Connor (Coach), D. McMillan (Captain), T. Maggin, M. Cowan.
In Front: J. Seed. Absent: B. Cooper, B. Donovan, W. Stirling, B. Thoms, J. Andrews.

Back Row: H. Harris, L. Basin, B. Campbell, D. Leatham, R. Martin A McQuade, W Johnston, T Wells, P. Heremai [Heremia?].   Middle Row: N. Bradleigh, J. Guerin, — Maynard T. Wilson, T. GrevilIe (Coach), J. Morunga, B. McCarty, J. Shand, J. O’Connor (Coach), J. Wrenn (Baggage Man).   In Front: S. Bristowe, J. Steele, B. Stirling (Captain), O. O’Neill, F. Jones.

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The ‘Fifties
Celtic in it’s Fourth Decade

By Kevin Barry
(Written for the 50th Jubilee. Kevin Barry passed away in June 1983)

IN the fourth decade of Celtic’s history the years 1953, 1954 and 1955 stand out as good years, with 1954 showing the highest simultaneous level of achievement by all three teams.

Numerous players have worn our colours in the past decade, and a relatively large number of coaches have trained the various teams. Mr Don McMillan is one example of a player with a very long record (1945-57) from the lower grades right through to senior, which latter status he held for nearly ten years. He served several times as a committeeman, and was club captain for nineteen years. Other prominent players of the decade include Trevor Greville, Peter Heeney, Frank O’Kane, Dave Hunt, John Guerin, Neil McAra, G. Maoate (all Hawke’s Bay representatives), Kevin Murphy (South Island and All Black trialist), Brian Murphy, Brian Parker, Bill Stirling and Brian Donovan. Three veteran coaches were Mr Jim Stinson (fourth and third grades), Mr Jack McCourt (juniors – championship won in 1953) and Mr J.J. O’Connor (senior coach 1953 – 1962).

As a member of the Marist Brothers Old Boys’ Rugby Football Association, our Club has sent its senior team to almost all the Spillane tournaments held during the fifties. Their best achievement in this Catholic competition was the winning of the Brennan Cup at Napier in 1953, earning promotion to the highest (Spillane Cup) division in 1954.

During the decade strenuous efforts were made to link the Catholic schools (St Joseph’s and St Mary’s Convents and St John’s College) more closely with our Club. Father L.P. Dean, S.M., succeeded in 1958 with an ambitious scheme to integrate Catholic boys in the Saturday primary school grade contests into the Club, as full

JUNIOR TEAM, 1953 – Joint Winners Inter-town Competition, Winners of Moriarty Shield, Katene Cup, Watson Cup, Leonard Cup, Ewing Cup.
Back Row: K. Barry, J. Seed, J. Sullivan, I. Omundsen, E. Sullivan, B. Donovan,   Middle Row: K. Walsh, T. Walsh, J. O’Meara, A.J. O’Connor, D. Hutton, P. Hinton, B. Walsh,   Front Row: B.J. Walsh (Secretary), P. McKenna, O. McMillan (Captain), R. Martin (Vice Captain), P. Hewetson, J. McCourt (Coach).
Absent: T. O’Kane, B. Lee, T. Birt, K. Macklow.

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members, playing in our colours and under our name. This scheme is being continued to this day.

The teams’ record over the last ten years is somewhat better than the playing record of the previous decade. On the whole, the seniors have been the most successful, followed by the juniors, and then the thirds. (Only once in those years did we manage to field a fourth grade team, and in 1957 we lacked a junior team). Lower grade coaches were often hard to find, yet it is generally true that players of all grades did not show quite the same enthusiasm and desire for improvement as their mentors.

Administratively, the club was well served by many people of whom a number were noted for their work over a long period.

Here it is possible to mention only a few of the more outstanding ones: Mr Phil Reid, president since 1949 (and who retained that position for 25 years); Mr Alan Hart, a notable club captain; Mr Barney Walsh, a leading vice-president; and Mr Jim Stinson, a prominent treasurer. Mr Bryan O’Neill’s work as secretary and general factotum (1954 -1960) is worthy of praise. In general committee work, Mr J.J. (Jim) O’Connor (who of course is still deeply involved with the club) and Mr Jack Lomas deserve special mention.

Mention should also be made of the late Ray Martin, whose tragic death in a motor accident in 1954 cut short a career of outstanding promise in our club. Among chaplains of the time, Reverend Father Dean is best remembered.

The efforts of numerous people steadily improved the club’s financial position in the decade. Those efforts were backed by prudent handling of monies acquired. Easily the most noteworthy event of the time was the purchase in 1953 of a club home at 205 Victoria Street, very close to Nelson Park. The secretary and his family were the first tenants of the property, with one room set aside as a committee room. Considerable expenditure from club funds and generous voluntary labour by members organised by Mr J.J. O’Connor, plus fine work by the tenant, made the whole property an asset to be proud of.

The period under review was marked by the election of several stalwarts as gold badge life members of the Club, and those alive today still retain a great interest in our doings. These are: Laurie Hannigan, “Tut” Geddes and Father Dean. The last mentioned

NINTH GRADE TEAM, 1958 – Winners Hastings Championship, Moriarty Shield
Back Row: B. Walsh (Coach), C. Bolgar, T. Heeney, P. Barry, K. McCarty, P. Rawson (Vice-Captain), J. Wallace, P. Ward, Rev. Father Dean, S.M. (Coach).   Middle Row: B. Keehan, A. Graham, K. Heffernan, D. Wall, R. Duncan, C. Andrew, D. Blasoni.   Front Row: P. Heffernan, W. Francis, L. McIntosh (Captain), T. Sullivan, J. Brittain, N. Kerrisk.

Page Thirty

was with us as chaplain only one year, 1958, but his labours were so prodigious and his influence so dynamic that the 1959 annual general meeting decided unanimously to grant him this honour.

Social activities in the Club became more widespread. The smoke concert was replaced by a social evening and dance at which the presentation of Club trophies was a feature. Two other regular events in the year were the picnic and old-timers’ match. A feature was also the film evening and presentation of trophies for Convent schoolboys who played in the eighth, ninth and tenth grades as official members of our Club. Of the ladies who graciously supported Celtic on the social side and in other ways, Mrs J.J. (Isla) O’Connor was one outstanding example, later to be honoured by a Life Membership.

In the era under review, two major steps on the administrative side were the establishing in 1951 of a new and complete constitution, and the incorporation of the Club in 1954. These changes were important ones and ensured a sound foundation for the future. That constitution served the Club for nearly 30 years until it was reviewed in 1983.

Ron Martin

Ron commenced playing for Celtic in 1957 starting with Third grade after leaving St John’s College the previous year.

He then moved up to play for the Juniors before being selected for the Senior team in 1959. He locked the Celtic scrum for the next 12 years and was a key player through the 1960’s. His height and physique ensured that he always gained a good supply of lineout ball and that there was always plenty of weight and stability in the scrums.

Ron captained the team for several seasons in the mid 60’s and represented the Hastings Sub-Union for many years. He was also selected for Hawke’s Bay trials but failed to win selection in the Bay team.

Just when Ron thought his playing days were over he was prevailed upon by coach Neil Thimbleby to play the 1970 season. In what was a revived Celtic team, Ron added his experience and untiring efforts to a team which was full of potential. He retired after the 1970 season.

During the best part of the 1960’s the Celtic Seniors struggled to field a team on many occasions and it was a great comfort to have a steady and reliable player like Ron always available and doing his best in what must have been unrewarding circumstances.

Since retiring from active rugby, Ron has maintained close links with the Club and has been a stalwart of the Celtic cricket team. It was very fitting that in this Jubilee year, Ron captained the team to a win in the Napier/Hastings 3rd grade competition. The first competition winning team he has been involved with in 28 years of representing Celtic.

Page Thirty One

The Sixties
Celtic through the Sixties

By Kerry Walsh

The decade of the 1960s was one of prosperity but unfortunately this era was the starting place of the lack of playing interest in young men leaving secondary school.

This trend affected Celtic as in the early part of the decade, the club struggled to field a senior and a third grade team. A junior grade team was fielded in 1963 and, under the coaching of Vince Caccioppoli, went on to win the Hastings and the inter-town knockout competition. There were other isolated instances of success on the playing field during the decade, but unfortunately the playing record of the club during this time was only average. Nevertheless, the players were determined to keep the club to the fore and the spirit of those who donned the green and white jersey during these difficult times was in keeping with their predecessors.

The club continued to have players attaining sub-union representation while Hawke’s Bay representatives during these times included John Guerin, Waka Johnston and George Maoete [Maoate]. Of the remainder, the most remarkable player would probably have been Ron Martin whose career in the senior team spanned the entire decade. The senior team of 1964 was captained by former All Black Dave Gillespie, and under the coaching of the then Fernhill Hotel publican Dave Herbert, won the Bowman Cup.

As with most rugby clubs, it is probably the senior team that supporters look to in terms of performance. Although lacking in success during the decade, the Celtic teams continued to provide their regular band of supporters with occasional upset wins and gutsy performances against stronger opposition. It must be remembered that the decade of the 1960s marked a significant revival in the standard of rugby in Hawke’s Bay culminating in the wonderful era of the Ranfurly Shield from 1967 to 1969. Accordingly the standard of senior grade rugby during this era was probably higher than at any time during the 75 year history of the club.

There were the usual characters in the club during this era. Trevor Greville’s coaching period in the mid 19605 was noted for the appearance of various former All Black names as reserves for the senior team in the weekly programme, and for the subsequent confusion this created with the local newspapers’ sports reporters who thought these players were really on the comeback trail, particularly after Trevor had added a few “absolutely correct mate” statements to the hapless reporter. Another character was Jack Wrenn, the senior

Back Row: J. Martin, R. Martin (Captain), J. Casey, A. Ironside, M. Taaffe, P. Jones, B. Duff, B.J. McFlynn (Vice Captain), C. Carr, J. Wren.   Middle Row: D. McMillan (Club Captain), J. Edwards, Roy Compton, R. Compton, J. Craven, T. Wilson, J. Trumper, S. Taylor, T. Fields (Club Captain)
Front Row: J.P. Verdon (The Rock), G. Anderson, P. Tupangaia.

Page Thirty Two

baggage man for most of this decade. Jack’s antics in the dressing room prior to each game were priceless, whilst his concern for the safety and welfare of the players never endeared him to opposition players and supporters as well as to referees. No doubt there will be many stories retold by players and supporters about Jack Wrenn during the forthcoming reunion.

The same determination shown by the senior teams was demonstrated by the lower grade teams during the decade. Vince Caccioppoli continued to coach successful junior grade sides for many seasons, whilst the third grade teams battled hard in a difficult competition involving local secondary schools lst XV’s. Andy Joseph’s coaching career started in the late 1960s and continued right through the 1970s while John Casey was a popular lower grade coach who did much to build up team spirit among his players with his Sunday morning training sessions.

The successful schoolboy rugby programme launched in 1958 continued during this decade, and the club is indebted to the many coaches and administrators who devoted considerable time and effort to ensure that this aspect of the club’s involvement prospered for the benefit of future playing generations. A noted worker for schoolboy rugby during this time was Kevin Walsh who always ensured that all schoolboy teams had suitable coaches, that all coaches meetings were held at the Hibernian Club and that the end of the season function had plenty of Gannet saveloys, tomato sauce, and bread and butter. Other noted workers were Doug Watson who was a club delegate on the Hastings Junior Advisory Board from 1960 to 1964, and Ted Sullivan who continued as Club delegate on the Junior Advisory Board from 1965 to 1969.

While the playing record of the club was not outstanding during this decade, the administration of the club was first-class. The club was fortunate in having experienced administrators of the calibre of Phil Reid, Barney Walsh, Don McMillan, Tony Field, Dennis Leatham, Jim O’Connor, Mick Cowan, Alan Hart, Jack McNeilly, Bryan O’Neill, Jim Waldren, Jack Brittain, Peter Heeney and others who had held office in the club for many years.

The club was able to sell its property in Victoria Street (now Wrightcars garage/workshop site) and to purchase a house property in Alexandra Crescent. This site was subsequently cleared, and new clubrooms were erected and completed late in 1966 at a cost of $42,000. The concrete driveway was laid with the help of voluntary club labour to enable John and Lyn Caccioppoli to have the first wedding reception in the hall in November 1966.

The official opening of the clubrooms took place on 4 March 1967, and the ceremony was performed by Mr Jack Blake, an ex All Black and one of the club’s greatest players. Also officially associated with the opening were the Mayor of Hastings, Mr R.V. Giorgi, the Minister of Lands, the Hon. Duncan McIntyre, MP. for Hastings, Mr W.S.

CELTIC 1964 – Winners of the Bowman Cup
Back Row: J. Wrenn, D. Herbert, J. Morunga, S. Kupa, J. Brown, W.D. Gillespie (Captain), K. Walsh (Vice Captain), P. Tupangaia, T. Wilson, R. Bright, G. Maoete.
Front Row: B, McAra, D. Ogilvie, C. Kaa, R. Martin, B. Christian, B. Walsh, B. McFlynn, J. Martin, T. Ward,

Page Thirty Three

Bramwell, Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, and Mr C.H. Bunker, President of the Hastings Rugby Sub-Union. Since this time, the club has been able to use the hall for club social functions and for hire to the local community.

The club policy of recognising the outstanding contribution and service of members by the elevation to life membership status continued during this decade, and life memberships were bestowed upon Jim and Isla O’Connor, Brian Murphy, Phil Reid, Barney Walsh and Alan Hart.

In 1967, the club founded a scholarship for the Catholic boys attending primary schools in Hawke’s Bay, to be taken at St John’s College. This first recipient of the scholarship was John Beaumont. The scholarship was originally for a four year period, but is now an annual award for one year’s free tuition at the College. It is appropriate that in the 75th Jubilee year of the club, the 1985 scholarship was won by Matthew Walsh, son of Kerry Walsh and the grandson of club life member, Barney Walsh.

It would be fair to record that the efforts of all players, administrators and supporters of the club during this decade laid the foundations for the successful period in the history of the club from 1970 onwards. The club organisation had established first-class headquarters and was in a reasonably sound financial position. It was from this base that the club was able to attract key players from outside of Hastings to successfully launch the revival of the playing side of the club. This aspect had played an important part in the revival of Hawke’s Bay rugby during the 1960s and it seemed logical that local clubs needed to follow suit if they were going to be successful on the playing field. The groundwork had been completed in the 1960s and the club was set to reap the benefits in the next decade.

JUNIOR TEAM, 1969 – Winners of Moriarty Shield, Runners up Junior Competition Knockout
Back Row: N. Watson, J. Begley, M. McCool, A. McDonald, R. Kennedy, M. Corless.
Middle Row: B.J. Keehan, D. Powell, M. Bourke, R. Freemantle, R. Potts, C. Godfrey, R. Lawton, A.D. Joseph (Coach).   Front Row: K. Walsh (Manager), K McCarthy, G. Duff (Vice Captain), D. Gardiner (Captain), J. Hannah, H. Apatu, D. McMillan (Club Captain).   Absent: D. Couper, C. Waiwera, T. Nooroa.

Page Thirty Four

Kerry Walsh

KERRY Walsh’s association with Celtic began while he was still at St John’s College when he became official Records Keeper of the club. He left college and began playing for Celtic in 1963. That year he was a key member of the Celtic Juniors which won the HE. championship with Kerry scoring 178 points playing at 1st 5/8. He was picked for the H.B. Juniors that year.

Kerry moved to the Seniors in 1964 and for the next 4 seasons was one of the most prolific scorers in Hawke’s Bay rugby.

This was some achievement as Celtic in those years were lucky to win 2 or 3 matches a year and on most occasions were getting beaten by 20 – 30 points a match. He was a century points scorer each season and was a master of the drop goal. Indeed, it was heard to say that his drop kicking accuracy was comparable to All Black Ross Brown’s drop kicking ability in the Taranaki Ranfurly Shield team of that time.

With pressure of examinations, Kerry was forced to give away the game but continued his association with the club as club treasurer in the 1970’s and currently is the club’s honorary auditor, a position he has held for the last 5 years.

Celtic Club Hall

ON Saturday, March 4, 1967, the club saw one of its finest achievements come to fruition with the opening of the club’s new headquarters in Alexandra Crescent. Although the appearance on the inside of the club has altered, the outside still remains much the same as it did on that March day in 1967.

Here is how the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune previewed the opening.

The Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune   Friday, March 3, 1967. Page 5

New headquarters for Celtic rugby club

New gym result of sport’s appeal

The booming popularity of New Zealand’s national sport, rugby, has led to the opening of many fine club gymnasiums throughout the country during recent years. The latest addition to these, and probably one of the finest, is the Celtic Rugby Club’s headquarters, which will be opened IN Hastings tomorrow. Situated on a section between Nelson Park and Alexander Crescent the new Celtic gymnasium incorporates the latest in design and at a total cost of around ₤21,000.

Congratulations to the Celtic Rugby Football Club on the opening of their New Hall.
We were happy to have assisted in the site development for this New and Worthwhile Project.
Orchard Road – Hastings
Phone 83-500

Fibrous Plasterers
Gloucester St, Greenmeadows  Phone 3061 Taradale

We were entrusted with the following Contracts –
Agents for: –

Page Thirty Five

‘The Revival’
Celtic through the Seventies

Pat Sloane
Graeme Walsh

THE solid foundation which was laid during the latter part of the 1960’s was capitalised on right from the beginning of 1970.

Jim O’Connor was directly responsible for obtaining a number of name players for the Club – some names which come to mind are Neil Thimbleby, Ian Bishop, Doug Curtis, Aidan Thomas.

1970 saw the Club hosting the Moran Cup section of the Spillane Tournament on behalf of Napier Marist. Hastings Celtic had no difficulties in winning the Moran Cup which was the first Spillane Tournament Rugby Cup won by the Club since 1953.

1971 saw the Seniors win the Brennan Cup, 1977 the Ham Cumming and 1978 the Spillane Cup, so a good decade for the Seniors and Club.

During the 1970 decade the Club would have produced more Hawke’s Bay representatives at all grades than any other era which made the Club administrators’ job that much more enjoyable. I would like to mention a few players who didn’t make the top but were true Celtic stalwarts.

Graham Walsh, Adam McDonald and Graham Duff commenced playing for Celtic Thirds in 1968, and Dan Hunter and Gavin Patton commenced playing for the Juniors in 1970 – all players played for the full decade for Celtic with the exception of Adam who had 1972 season with Havelock North. Adam is still playing, which represents his ?? year playing for the Club. One must not overlook the efforts of Andy Joseph during this period as Andy commenced coaching in 1967 and coached through the 1970 decade.

During the 1970’s the Club was also thrilled to have past or present players gain the ultimate honour in New Zealand i.e. All Black status. To Neil Thimbleby, Mike

CELTIC SENIORS, 1970 – Winners Moran, Connop, McKew & Brian Brady Memorial Cups
Back Row: D. G. Curtis, D.R. McGregor, B. Kupa, T.A. Symes, F.A. Caccioppoli, K.R. Russell, G.J. Hart,
Third Row: B. Hinton, KB. Walsh, A.R. Caccioppoli, R.J. Martin, G.K. Huntingdon, B.J. Oliver, A.M. Warne, I.R. Bishop, J. Wren (Baggage Man).   Second Row: I.A. Hay (Manager). M.A. Thomas, L.J. Hepburn (Ass. Coach), P.J. Reid (President), N.W. Thimbleby, A. Graham, J.J. O’Connor (Chairman).
First Row: M.J. Watson, J.E. Horan, V.R. Holmes, P.M. Sherry, S.W. Walker.

Page Thirty Six

McCool and Mark Donaldson we say again, we are proud of you.

Mike McCool, Jock McCarroll and John O’Connor (twice) played for New Zealand Marist, Vince Costello and John O’Connor. All Black trialists, Jock McCarroll and Mark Donaldson North Island.

The Seventy decade for the Seniors was dominated by the ever-popular and under-rated player, player/coach, captain, mid Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay representative ALAN STUCK. Popular Frank Caccioppoli played for the Seniors for the full decade – well done Frank.

The Peter O’Connor Memorial Cup was presented in 1975 for the then Senior Reserve, Hastings Champions, and it was a very proud Isla and Jim O’Connor who presented the trophy to Celtic as the first winners.

The 1978 season was the Club’s most successful season on and off the paddock.

The Club hosted the North Island Spillane Tournament for the first time ever. The venue was the Tomoana Showgrounds where the majority of the teams slept in make-shift accommodation and were fed three very good meals per day by Murray Lobban and his merry band of helpers.

Hastings Celtic beat Napier Marist in the final of the Spillane Cup 6 – 0, a try to “centre” John Freer, to win the Spillane Cup for the first time in our history. It is worth recording that three members of the Club’s Under-23 1978 team actually played for the Seniors in the Spillane Cup final – Terry Prattley, John Walsh and the late Brian Walker.

The Seniors went on to win the DB. Trophy, Hastings Club first round championship, McKew Cup (V. Marist), Brady Memorial (V. Havelock North) and last but not least the Maddison Trophy. This was the first time the Club had won the Hastings/Napier Senior Championship outright since 1935. At this point mention must be made of coach Neil McAra and I quote from Jim O’Connor’s 1978 President’s report “Congratulations to Coach Neil McAra. As

CELTIC SENIOR A, 1975 – Winners Hastings D.B. Trophy, McKew Cup, Nash Cup, Runners-up Intercity Championship.
Back Row: N.W. Thimbleby (Coach), J. Laughton, S. Kelleher, P. Russell, F. Caccioppoli, R. Russell, P. Watson, H. Russell, M.P. Sloane
(Manager).   2nd Row: M.H. Jones (Chairman), D. Robertson, A. McDonald, J. Ward, M. McCool, C. Russell, J. O’Connor, I. Haden, R. Hape (Massuer [Masseur]).   Sitting: E. Price, J. McNaughton, M. Donaldson, V. Costello (Vice Captain), A. Stuck (Captain), T. Symes, L. Edwards, G. Moran.
Front – Sitting: L. Mackie, P. Willis. Inset: M. McKenzie.

Page Thirty Seven

coach, Neil’s proud record is second to none. It was indeed heartening to us all to see three years of senior coaching being climaxed with the Spillane/Maddison double”. To support Jim’s statement the Seniors under Neil’s coaching won the Bowman Cup and the Corbett McKnight Shield in 1976, the Connop Cup and D.B. Trophy for first and second round Hastings champions, Nash Cup (V. H.H.S.O.B.), Brady Memorial (V. Havelock North) and the Ham Cumming at the Spillane.

The 1978 Senior 3rd’s won the inter-city Lane Cup and were promoted to Senior 2nd’s, the Under 23’s won the Hastings championship and also were joint winners of the inter-city championship. Three members of the Under 23’s played for Hawke’s Bay Under 18’s in the week long regional tournament – Terry Pratley (Captain), Joe McGrath and Dominic Koko.

1974 saw the closure of Nelson Park, Hastings to both Celtic and H.H.S.O.B. for training purposes. Celtic erected lights at St Johns College and are fortunate to have excellent facilities for training etc.

Administratively a change in the Club’s constitution meant that we could have both a Chairman and a President who were separate, whereas before both positions were held by the President.

The deaths were recorded of long serving member Alan Hart and Club Chaplain Fr. Ivan Fisher, both who had rendered long and honourable service to the Club. Long serving club members John Sullivan and Don MacMillan were both made Life Members of the Club also after many stirling [sterling] years of service.

The CELTS watering hole in Hastings – the Hastings Hotel was demolished and this indeed was a sad moment for many club members who like myself had learned the rudiments of Celtic aftermatch functions on the premises. However, we did not have far to move as we then went to the back bar of the “Ocean” or the Pacific Hotel on Saturday nights.

During the 1970’s the Management Committee were responsible for organising the building of two blocks of flats – one in St Aubyn Street and the other in Windsor Avenue.

During the 1976/77 season the Clubrooms were refurbished, carpet and bar facilities installed. Celtic are indebted to Mr George

CELTIC SENIOR RESERVE GREEN TEAM, 1976 – Winners of Maury Coady Cup, Inter-City Competition, Agnew Cup, Best Hastings Team, Moriarty Shield, Top Celtic Club Team.
Back Row: A. Joseph (Coach), K. McCarthy, J. Begley, B. Dockerty, A. McDonald, K. Foote, C. Keenan, D. Hunter, J. Wilmshurst, P. O’Connor, B. Conole (Manager).   Middle Row: A. Geor, K, Paenga, G. Walsh, G. Duff (Vice-Captain), P. McClelland (Captain), G. Wimsett, T. Ward, D. Freer, M. Marsh.
Front Row: D. Wimsett, T. Tai, G. Clapham, N. Brown.   Absent: R. Russell, K. Dudley, P. Willis, G. Potts.   Inset: G. Patton.

Page Thirty Eight

Chamberlain then General Manager of Leopard Breweries for the generous assistance given to the Club at that time and still continues today.

The Club was granted its Ancilliary Licence also during 1978.

The 1970 decade will also be remembered as the J.J. decade because in 1977 he was installed as a Life Member of the Hastings Rugby Football Sub-Union together with his wife Isla, of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Football Union, and North Island Marist …

Players in the ’70’s

By Vince Costello

As with most clubs, the senior team is undoubtedly the most important team in the club. Some of the names and positions of players who played for the first team and who all contributed to the utmost in the Napier, Hastings club competition, culminating in the winning of the Maddison Trophy in 1978 are, recalled here.

If there was one position where Celtic excelled through the decade it was in the half-back berth. Fine All Black Mark Donaldson was at the base in 1975, he followed the acclaimed passer Aidan Thomas. Others to represent the Bay were Jock McCarroll (1976) and Neil Murphy (current Hawke’s Bay captain). Utility Gavin Yortt also proved competent.

Coaching the sides were Neil Thimbleby, former South Island Rep., Neil McAra, Alan Stuck and Bill Stirling. Practices were held at Nelson Park and moved to St. John’s College in 1974. Another personality always working closely with the team was Andy Joseph.

Two of the real characters of the early seventies were a couple of country bumpkins hailing from the Waimate district – Barry Newell and Ken Love. They linked up with a third farmer in Mike McCool and flatted together in one of Jimmie O’Connor’s houses across from the clubrooms. It was quite an experience to be invited for a meal and

CELTIC SENIOR FIRST DIVISION, 1978 – Winners of Brady Memorial, McKew Cup, Maddison Challenge Trophy, D.B. Trophy, Spillane Cup.
Back Row: M.P. Sloane (Chairman), P. McClelland, G. Wimsett, M. McCool, A. McDonald, S. Kelliher, A. Graham, J. Freer, C. Keenan (Manager).   Middle Row: N. McAra (Coach), F. Caccioppoli, G. Yortt, A. Stuck, P. Russell, J.J. O’Connor (President).   Front Row J. McNaughton, D. Freer, N. Murphy, R. Rutene, A. Caccioppoli, P. Johnston.
Absent: I. Jaspers, N. Graham.

Page Thirty Nine

marvel at their appetites. Loaves of bread were consumed with their dinner, they almost required a concrete mixer to mash their spuds.

The midfield was very solid with Peter Russell the general in most backlines. Others to make a mark were Tangi Kino, Robin Rutene, Evan Price, Tony Caccioppoli, Kieran McCarthy, Peter Willis and Paul Henderson. The wingers used lived up to their reputations as the glamour boys and showed good pace – John McNaughton, Bruce Talbot, Mike Watson, Lance Mackie and Brian Walker (R.I.P.), all capable of finishing promising moves.

As with many teams our full backs were given the kicking responsibilities; Ian Bishop set the early standards, others to follow the fine example were John (J.P.R.) Ward, A.T. McDonald, Pat Watson and Ian Jaspers.

There was an abundance of top loosies throughout; Jeff Wilson, Richard Hunter and Alan Stuck all wore the Bay jersey. Other names to the fore were Peter Norris (6’ 5”), Chris and Roger Russell, Bernie Hinton, Robbie Waters, Gavin Patton, Lindsay Edwards, Dan Hunter, John Freer, Alan Graham, Frank Sullivan, Terry Pratley, Mike McKenzie, Dave Robertson, Don Freer and Ian Haden (brother of Andy).

Locks to assist “Cool” in the powerhouse were G.K. Huntingdon, Peter Johnston, Mike Kohleis and Brian Brownlie.

The inspiration for success in 1978 was due in part to the presence of Junior All Black captain John O’Connor – many club supporters rated him All Black material. Frank Caccioppoli’s dedication made him a real asset and others to fill the proping [propping] berth with credit were Peter McClelland, Ken Love, Barry Stuck and deserved shield hero “Thimbo”.

The hooking was in the hands of Trevor Symes in the early years and latterly shared by Steve Kelleher and Neil Graham.

CELTIC SENIOR FIRST DIVISION, 1978 – Winners Spillane Cup.
Back Row: N. Graham, I. Jaspers, F. Caccioppoli, P. Johnston, A. McDonald, F. Sullivan, A. Kelliher, D. Freer.
Middle Row: C. Keenan (Manager), N. McAra (Coach), K. Thomas, S. Kelliher, T. Prattly, D. Wimsett, P. Sloane (Chairman), D. Martin (Tournament Convener).   Front Row: P. Willis, B. Walker, N. Murphy, J. O’Connor (Captain), A. Stuck, R. Rutene, J. Freer, J. McNaughton.    Absent: M. McCool, P. McClelland.

Page Forty

Neil Thimbleby

Neil joined Celtic from Marist in 1970 and along with other players such as Aidan Thomas, Doug Curtis and Ian Bishop strengthened the senior ranks. In that year he was selected for the All Blacks to tour South Africa, our third All Black, playing in one Test. He returned to Celtic in 1971, played senior rugby and played his 158th and last representative match for Hawke’s Bay.

Neil’s association with Celtic continued in 1972 as player coach and from 1972 to 1975 as coach.

Neil is now a publican living in Waipukurau.

Mike McCool

Mike was a player who played his way through the grades and gained the highest achievement in rugby, All Black status in 1979 for the two games in Australia, including one Test. He played for St Patrick’s College Silverstream 1st XV in 1968 and joined the club in 1969 playing for the juniors in 1969 and 1970. From 1971 to 1978 he played for the seniors. He has played over 100 first class matches. Played for Hawke’s Bay from 1972 to 1978 and for Wairarapa Bush 1979 to 1983. He was also Selected for the juniors in 1973.

Alan Stuck

Alan joined Celtic from Mid-Canterbury in 1973. He immediately made an impact with the Club with his dedication and commitment to club rugby. Alan played for the seniors from 1974 to 1978. He also represented Mid-Canterbury (played 1971 against the Lions) and Hawke’s Bay (1975 vs King Country).

Vince Costello

Vince first played for Celtic in 1972. He joined us from Canterbury where he had already made his mark in junior rugby by being selected for the Canterbury U-20’s. Billy Bush was a team-mate. Vince played for the Seniors from 1972 to 1977. He also played 52 matches for Hawke’s Bay and was an All Black trialist in 1974 and 1975. Vince after retiring from playing, turned his attention to coaching schoolboy rugby and from 1982 to 1984 coached the senior team.

John O’Connor

John joined our club from Te Awamutu in 1974 having already had two seasons with the Waikato A team.

He immediately made an impact, and consolidated our forward play and moulded the seniors into a tight playing unit which ultimately resulted in the senior team winning the Maddison. John’s achievements were by no means restricted to Celtic. These were as follows: Junior All Black 73, 74 and 75; Hawke’s Bay 75, 76, 77 (V. Lions) 78, 82; All Black trialist 73, 74, 75 and 76.


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Jubilee held Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 1985

Surnames in this booklet –
Adams, Addis, Alderman, Aldridge, Allison, Allsop, Anderson, Andrew, Andrews, Apatu, Attwood, Avison, Baillie, Bainbridge, Baker, Barrett, Barry, Basin, Bau, Beck, Begley, Bennett, Birt, Bishop, Blake, Blakey, Blasoni, Bolgar, Bourke, Bower, Bradleigh, Brady, Bramwell, Brenchley, Brigden, Bright, Bristowe, Brittain, Brooker, Brooking, Brown, Brownlie, Bryant, Buck, Bullock, Bunker, Burden, Butler, Caccioppoli, Calnan, Campbell, Carr, Carroll, Casey, Caulton, Chadwick, Chapman, Christensen, Christian, Clapham, Cody, Colebrook, Collins, Compton, Conole, Conway, Cooper, Corby, Corless, Corr, Costello, Coughlan, Couper, Cowan, Craven, Cross, Cumming, Cunningham, Curd, Curtis, Davies, Davis, Dawson, Dean, Devoy, Dewar, Dockerty, Donaldson, Donoghue, Donovan, Drake, Dudley, Duff, Duigan, Duncan, Eddy, Edwards, Elliot, Epplett, Evans, Farrelly, Fields, Fisher, Fitzgerald, Fitzwater, Fitzwilliams, Flower, Foote, Fortune, Fox, Francis, Fraser, Freemantle, Freer, Freeth, Galgey, Gallagher, Gallien, Gardiner, Garnett, Garvey, Geddes, Geenty, Geor, Gillespie, Gillies, Giorgi, Godfrey, Graham, Grenside, Greville, Griffiths, Guerin, Gulbransen, Haden, Hall, Hallagan, Hamilton, Hannah, Hannigan, Hape, Harding, Harold, Harris, Hart, Harvey, Hassett, Hay, Hearn, Hedley, Heeney, Heffernan, Henderson, Henry, Hepburn, Herbert, Heremia, Herlihy, Hewetson, Hewitt, Hide, Hines, Hinton, Hird, Holdsworth, Hollis, Holmes, Honnour, Horan, Horton, Huata, Humphries, Hunt, Hunter, Huntingdon, Hutton, Hyslop, Ironside, Isaacson, James, Jaspers, Jillings, Johnston, Jones, Joseph, Kaa, Kale, Keehan, Keenan, Keith, Kelleher, Kelliher, Kelly, Kennedy, Keogh, Kerley, Kerrisk, Kilkelly, King, Kino, Kirkpatrick, Kohleis, Koko, Kupa, Kyle, La Broome, Lahood, Lamb, Large, Laughton, Lawton, le Quesne, Leatham, Lee, Lewis, Lobban, Lomas, Long, Love, Maaka, MacKenzie, Mackie, Macklow, Maggin, Maher, Manaena, Maoate, Marryott, Marsh, Martin, Mataira, Mathews, Matthew, Maynard, McAra, McArthur, McCarroll, McCarthy, McCarty, McClelland, McCool, McCormick, McCourt, McDonald, McFlynn, McGrath, McHardy, McIntosh, McIntyre, McIvor, McKenna, McKennie, McKenzie, McKeown, McMillan, McNab, McNaughton, McNeilly, McQuade, McRae, Mechen, Merrick, Miller, Mitchinson, Moffat, Mollison, Moran, Morgan, Morunga, Mossman, Motley, Murphy, Nankervis, Neale, Nesbitt, Newell, Nooroa, Nugent, O’Brien, O’Connor, O’Donoghue, Ogilvie, O’Kane, Oliver, O’Meara, Omundsen, O’Neill, O’Rourke, Oulaghan, Overend, Paenga, Parker, Parkinson, Patton, Pederson, Peers, Percival, Percy, Phillips, Piper, Pomeroy, Poppelwell, Potts, Powell, Prattley/Pratley, Price, Priest, Priestley, Pullen, Rawson, Reid, Revell, Richardson, Riley, Roberts, Robertson, Rollander, Ropiha, Rose, Ross, Russell, Rutene, Scanlan, Schaeffer, Scott, Seed, Shand, Shannon, Sherry, Simmonds, Simon, Single, Sleeman, Sloane, Smith, Southon, Sowersby, Speers, Speir, Steele, Stevenson, Stewart, Stinson, Stirling, Stoddart, Stone, Stuck, Sturrock, Sullivan, Sunley, Symes, Taaffe, Tacon, Tait, Talbot, Taylor, Thimbleby, Thomas, Thompson, Thoms, Thomson, Thurlow, Tomoana, Townsend, Townshend, Tremain, Tremewan, Trumper, Tupangaia, Tutaki, Verdon, Vesty, Vogtherr, Waiwaera, Waldren, Walford, Walker, Wall, Wallace, Walsh, Ward, Warne, Watson, Wattie, Wells, White, Wiggins, Willis, Wilmshurst, Wilson, Wimsett, Wrenn, Yortt, Yule

Business / Organisation

Hastings Celtic Rugby Football Club Inc.

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