Keas Presidents To Honour ‘Smiley’ In Memorial Game
A quick scan over Saturday’s line-up of Presidents grade games reveals Linwood Keas will default their final-round encounter against Marist Saints – but there’s a good reason for the scheduling change.
With Marist’s blessing, the fixture will be replaced by a tribute match between Linwood Presidents and an Invitational side to mark one year since club icon Craig ‘Smiley’ Holmes passed away aged 57.
The memorial match honours ‘Smiley’s’ contribution to the Linwood club, which will welcome his family in for the occasion – some of whom are travelling from Australia to pull on the boots and play.
After cutting his teeth at Woolston, ‘Smiley’ joined Linwood and went on to play 15 years of Presidents rugby league at the club, as well as 15 years with Eastside Masters and a further two years with Eastern Masters. A larger-than-life character, he was a beloved and respected figure at Linwood and amongst the Canterbury Rugby League fraternity.
“‘Smiley’ loved his family, he loved his dog, Cowboy, and you could usually hear him before you could see him,” Linwood Keas Presidents manager Mel Morris said.
“He was a very humble man, and you can still hear his voice echoing around Linwood Park to this day.
“He was a very big icon at Linwood.”
The memorial match was originally slated for Sunday but a clash with a Masters tournament forced a rethink, and the Keas extended their gratitude to Marist for accommodating what shapes as a wonderful occasion at Linwood Park.
Along with ‘Smiley’s’ family members, many of his former teammates and opponents will take the field – including Digger McGill, who will captain the Invitational team.
The match kicks off at 1pm.