Battle of The North Shore

Stags at The Battle
Stags at The Battle

We turned up for the annual Battle of the North Shore between Wahroonga, Lindfield, Gordon and Killara West Pymble. The event was hosted by new comers to The Battle, KWP who put on a great day with the BBQ pumping, icy cold beers on hand and a table full of pre filled port glasses for pre kick-off toasts or for just grabbing some fortification anytime you were off the field.

The ground was packed with players and supporters from four teams. Following the exciting boost of new players attending the Eastwood match two weeks prior and the addition of even more new players to the Stags at this venue, we anticipated a strong showing from those present. What we walked into that day was nothing short of an “ambush” with a full day of hard running, firm tackling Golden Oldies rugby.

Our first game was against our mates the Wahroonga Toothless Tigers and we were very surprised to see that they had been busy recruiting new players as well. Not only did they turn up with a full complement of players but they had secured the services of the rugby legend MARK ELLA for the day.

Intimidated? Not us! In Awe? Well, maybe just a little bit ……. after all, a man who’s played for Australia 25 times (1980-1984), was Australian Captain (1982-1984) and scored 78 points before retiring at age 25 with a reputation as being one of the best fly-half’s to ever play the game is due some respect.  What a privilege to have a person of this calibre come out for a game of Golden Oldies Rugby. If it’s good enough for him it should be good enough for anyone. Okay, enough of my man crush, on with the report.

The game got underway with great gusto and it became apparent from the start that Mark had obviously been giving some coaching to the boys from Wahroonga as they turned it on and came at us with everything they had. It was a good close game with plenty of to-and-fro.

No hands in this ruck
No hands in this ruck

The second match was against the hosts, the KWP Limping Leos. The fact that these guys have NOT had a home ground to play on or a club house to access for over 12 months had not reduced their ability to field what appeared to be a squad of about 40 players. With an endless supply of runners who were all under 40 years old and prepared to take possession of the ball at any opportunity it did not go all that well for the Stags.

Finally, our final game against our old friends, the Lindfield Funnelwebs, gave us a chance to take out our frustrations on a bunch of olders guys, so we thought. Unfortunately, we were disappointed once again, as the Webs managed to import a couple of old Gordon Highlander Graders to cut us apart in the backs.

It seemed all the opposition was out to impress Mark Ella at every opportunity.

Overall, it was a tough day at the office but happy to report there was very little blood spilt and no injuries to report so that translates to a very good outcome when all is said & done.The bright side is that the following guys had their first run with the Stags so we welcome them to our club and hope to see more of them in the future:

Kris Weston – Finally got to scratch that itch and showed great potential as a hard running back or breakaway having recovered from a knee injury that prevented him playing against Eastwood

Tony Coote – his first game of rugby ever (has an AFL background, trouble is you can’t kick very often in Golden Oldies) and will be valuable asset once he knows what he is doing. Based upon his AFL background and our current kicking for line standard we’ll be making better use of his kicking talents in the future.

Steve Green – brings some Central Coast rugby experience to our side (ex – Lindfield Rugby when he used to live at East Roseville)

Chris “Flemboy” Fleming – an excellent prop in the making, just needs to bulk up a bit more

Mark “Nerf” Herford – comes with excellent playing pedigree from Lane Cove subbies and has potential to be a devastating centre, if not No. 10

Gene Burns – Worked his magc out in the backline. Has the build of a half back but appears to be too mobile and too smart to want to play in that position on a full time basis (besides he would have to compete with Gifted, Ric and Jeremy Anderson for this position – watch this space)

And Elvis – another dynamic prop who showed great skill with the held ball as he took it up, hit after hit.  Trouble was he tried to pass the ball Bob “Lolly” Lollback style (Bob is affectionately referred to as Catapult by his fellow backs) while we were attacking 5 meters out from the KWP try line. This led to an unfortunate intercept and a full length of the field runaway try – ah well …….. another story of what could have been.

crunching tackle
Our President shows the way with a crunching tackle

Welcome back on to the field in 2011 to Jonathan “Jonno” Leek and Matt Prowse for their first run of the season.  Thanks again for the effort put in by regulars Ric Brennan, Hamish “Gifted” Macdonald, Karl “Karlos” Houghton, Scott Tanfield and Thomas “Rocky” Roch. Finally, well done to the guys that came back for their second game with the Stags in 2011, Chris Perfect, Matt Curran, Anthony Johnson, Matt “Sausage” Redward and Pablo Bawdekar.

Bring on the Hawkesbury Gala Day.

Keep thinking about inviting other mates to have a run with the Stags this season, as we need even more reserves for the upcoming away games.

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Charcoals on Fire!!

Ready to go

Stags at TG Milner

What a great result for our first full team run of the season. The Stags turned up in numbers and what a great sight to see so many players in the Gordon Green – GO GORDON!!Unfortunately, we were not granted access to the No 1 field at TG Millner but we more than overcame that slight drawback with an outstanding performance on the upper playing field behind the Eastwood Club House.

The Eastwood boys turned up keen to play. Unfortunately for them the backs seemed to be missing in action (must have been hair washing day) and the forwards filled their team out to number 13. Of course this meant our backs got to step around some slower moving machinery but also had to tackle some hard running boys that were bigger than they are normally used to. Mind you, those big boys can still motor when they want to with one of them making a break and running away from our backs to score a 40m try.

It was a great day of rugby played in glorious sunshine – those of us who went to the ACT remembered our sunscreen, after all we didn’t want sore heads the next day again (okay, the sunscreen wasn’t going to guarantee that) – over 3 x 20min 3rds and ended with the usual presentations, we remembered to dig the burnt wood trophy out of the cupboard to present back to Eastwood, and speeches that ensure anyone who thought they had a blinder is brought down to earth – gotta love golden oldies.

The Eastwood boys always put on a great day and it’s a pleasure to play against them – Thanks Charcoals.

The outstanding feature of the day, apart from having 18 players attend, was the exciting new talent that joined us for this impressive start to the season.  A warm welcome to the following new faces:

Winner!! ETDT Winter 1987 Girls Division 5
Winner!! ETDT Winter 1987 Girls Division 5

Matt Curran , a strong running centre who scored 3 tries and received the Charcoals award for the outstanding player in our team. Matt received one of the best Rugby trophies we’ve seen in a long time – The Eastwood District Tennis Associations Winter 0f 1987 Girls Division 5 winners’ trophy. Due to the fact no one has mantle pieces these days it’ll obviously take pride of place on top of the TV.

Chris Perfect, a rampaging utility forward who was everywhere in attack & defense and received a bloody nose for his efforts. Great work Chris. Be sure to thank your mate Alex “Grumpy” Burton for bringing you along – we will.

Pablo Bawdekar, an ex-Lane Cove player keen to pack down on the side of the scrum or run on the wing or get flattened  by about 350kg on the bottom of a ruck.

Anthony Johnson, an exciting addition to the front row and a scorer of an outstanding runaway try under the posts. He’ll lose his membership to the front row club if he keeps that up.

Matt “Sausage” Redward, still fresh after his first run with the Stags in Canberra, scored a number of tries but felt sorry for Eastwood as they were now short a player, due to an “effective” tackle from Karlos, and joined them for the last 10 minutes of the game. Of course he got touched up by our forwards (driven back 20 metres and ball turned over) to thank him for helping the opposition out. Great Golden Oldies attitude Matt and good work from our forwards. Matt is called Sausage by his mates – apparently he’s not good for your health, is a bit fatty but tastes great on a barbie – don’t ask me, I just play rugby with him, ask his mates.

Kris Weston, who was dying to get on the field but is recovering from a knee injury. Kris came to check it out and ran water for us. Great work Kris, see you at the Battle of the North Shore.

Matt Callahan, not really a new face as he comes from Wahroonga and comes and bashes it up with us when there are no games happening up at Wahroonga.  Good to have with us big fella. Better running with us then against us.

Game On!

Game On!

So that just leaves me to acknowledge the return of our regular players in Karl “Karlos” Houghton, Mark Staveley”– who received the Mug’s Mug for being, not once, but twice penalised and threatened with a send off for shoulder charging (Those Mungos are slow learners), Matt “Croz” Crozier, Scott Tanfield, Hamish “Gifted” MacDonald (The best scrum half that Gordon’s ever seen, just ask him), Ric Brennan, Alex “Grumpy” Burton, Nick “The Ging” Gleeson, Thomas “Rocky” Roch and Dave Whightely. Well done guys on our first local hit out for the season.

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ACT Vets Weekend

Ready to go at RMC Duntroon

Who would have thought you could get sunburnt playing rugby in Canberra, of all places.  But that’s what happened last Saturday at the RMC Duntroon grounds when five brave Gordon Stags took to the paddock to participate in this annual fixture.  Graham “Macca” MacDonald, Thomas “Rocky” Roch, Matt “Sausage” Redward, Karl “Karlos” Houghton and Brett McLachlan enjoyed the run around, just wished we packed the sunscreen.

In our first game we joined up with the Vincentia Van Gones to take on the might of the local ACT Vikings. It was a torrid affair but we came away with a great result (another draw and a slight burning sensation on our heads).  The next game followed shortly after when the organisers teamed us up with our old touring mates (to the 2008 World Festival in Edinburgh) the Orange Emus. We faced the host club, ACT Vets, and this was a real test of all our pre-season training.  It’s a good thing that all our matches end in a draw because this side – deploying tactics from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – managed to find a few holes in our defence via our Red Shorted backline provided courtesy of the Orange Emus.  At this point we had red faces from the embarrassment we suffered at the hands of the Vets rather from those extra rays of sunshine.

Redheads in the stands - Oysters anyone??
Redheads in the stands – Oysters anyone??

That match concluded our scheduled involvement in the event but Karlos, Sausage and Rocky hadn’t had enough punishment and took to the field again for the Bega (old & smelly) Blue Veins to redeem themselves against the Vets.  It all ended up nicely  – sitting in the grandstand with a few beers, being served freshly “shucked“ oysters from the boys from Vincentia and a blue ribbon for each participating player donated by the president of the ACT Vets, John (Pudge) Hillier.

From the grounds of RMC Duntroon, we retired to the “shabby grandure” of Olims Hotel in Braddon for the post match post-mortem and a well earned BBQ feed in the Beer Garden.  Oh yeah, the $2 schooners tasted pretty good as well.  It certainly is good to enjoy the hospitality of a club with generous sponsors.

Unfortunately, after dinner things went down-hill rapidly as we decided that it was much safer to watch the Waratahs v Brumbies match from the luxurious hotel lounge rather than risk travelling across town to Bruce Stadium. So we settled in with a couple bottles of the 2007 Pepper Jack Shiraz (Rocky’s favourite) and a few more $2 beers while we nursed those bruises, sore ribs and sunburnt heads.

The drive back from Canberra the next day was a long one, particularly with a few sore heads.  Bloody Canberra sunshine!

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SPECIAL!!! MATES RATES!!!

Okay, before I start let me preface this by saying this is going to be an advertorial, but this is one with a difference. In this one we both get something.

The Gordon Stags website is hosted through Smarty Host. We’ve got a great offer that has us hosted for the next 20 years for a one off cost including all their power tools like the Photo Gallery, Shop and Blog. I’m going to see about using the Blog during the Festival to give all those at home daily updates.

So why am I telling you this?

They have a special offer called MATES RATES and we all know what that means………..yep, discounts for our friends. The best part about this offert hough is that we get a kick back too.

Here’s how it works.

Any time you purchase a new service from Smarty Host  simply quote the Mates Rates Discount Code below. You’ll get a whopping 10% discount off the listed price.

Every time one of our mates, or your mates, uses our discount code we receive a 5% credit voucher of the transaction. The 5% voucher accumulates with each of our mates orders.

So the more services our mates order the more money we accumulate as a voucher. We can use this voucher for renewal, upgrades and new services, extra space for all those photos you all seem to like.

Mates Rates Discount Code: QGL974WPK

So, if you or your company or your friends or your friends companies (that’s right pass it around, share the love. It doesn’t matter who uses the code), are in the market for a domain name or web hosting check out Smarty host and if they suit you use the Mate Rates code for a great discount and help the club out at the same time.

Smarty Host are recognised as one of the best web services companies in Australia, why? because they not only do it smarter, they do it cheaper and they do it all. Check out their list of services and if anything takes your fancy don’t forget to use your Mates Rates Code.

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Someone Remembers !!!!

We finally found someone who hasn’t got Old Timers Disease or killed too many brain cells during their Rugby tours to provide us with a history, and photos, of the Gordon Stags from the start. As the Stags were formed for the first Golden Oldies Festival we’ve added the story to our History Page.

Check out this photo of the first Stags side. Complete with our very own Priest.

The First Stags

The First Stags

Thanks to Peter Goodman, one of the original Stags, for the History and the Photos. We look forward to more stories from the Stags past.

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