Papanui Old Boys Day A New Tradition For The Ages
Papanui Tigers celebrated their second annual Old Boys Day on Saturday – and it’s a recently-initiated tradition that seems destined to become an integral part of the club’s calendar for decades to come.
The brainchild of Papanui’s major sponsor Nigel Thompson, Old Boys Days honours the Tigers’ past players and was again a rousing success…despite the chilly conditions at Papanui Domain.
“It was really good, a good atmosphere,” Tigers stalwart and Old Boys Day chief organiser Andy Campbell said.
“The weather wasn’t that good, but it was well-received.
“I can’t really speak for other clubs, but it’s a good concept. The Northern Bulldogs have their ‘Grandparents Day’ and I guess (Old Boys Day) is taken off the back of that.
“It’s just something we hadn’t done before, but we’re running with it now. There’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes but it came up really good.”
Club greats such as Mike Godinet and former Kiwi Kevin Pearce were among those in attendance as the Tigers premiers marked the occasion with a hard-fought 24-10 win over the plucky Aranui Eagles, who trailed by just six points at halftime.
“It was pretty even – Aranui really came to play, they did well,” Campbell enthused.
“There was a couple of young guys in the Aranui team that used to play for Papanui, so it was good to see them out there playing against their teammates from when they were 15 or 16.”
The festivities continued into the evening with a function in the Tigers’ clubrooms, where long-serving player and committee member Marcus Doyle was awarded a life membership. Campbell said the honour could not have gone to someone more deserving.
“He just works tirelessly, mate,” Campbell said of Doyle.
Campbell himself has dedicated more than 30 years to rugby league and the Papanui club, where he started out as a player in 1984 before taking on roles including – but not limited to – coach, referee, committee member, acting chairman and club captain.
He wished to thank the dozens of people that had helped make the Old Boys Day a genuine season highlight, from those who marked out the field to those who rolled up their sleeves all day in the kitchen and kept the throng fed on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Campbell believes the Tigers can give the Canterbury Rugby League premiership a real shake in 2017 – even if most of the attention remains on Massetti Cup front-runners Linwood and Hornby. He says qualifying for the top four is the main thing, and from there anything can happen.
“They’ve done that, even with a few injuries.
“It’s pretty even amongst the top four teams, so it will be very close – but we’ll have to be on our game.”
With Old Boys Day done and dusted, the Tigers’ attention now turns to the last two rounds of the regular season, featuring a home clash against the Bulldogs before a final-round blockbuster against the Panthers on July 15 that doubles as Papanui’s Club Day.
“It would be good (for the premiers) to finish off strong and get a couple of combinations together, then we’ll be right for the playoffs,” Campbell said.