From the News over the Years

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This Blog contains a variety of newspaper extracts involving the Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club harvested from three main sources:

  • The National Library’s “Papers Past” Newspapers Collection.
  • The Upper Hutt Newspaper Archive where you are able to access retrospective issues of Upper Hutt’s longest running community newspaper — The Leader. The current digital collection covers the early years of the paper, 1939–1964 but is incomplete with no issues for 1942, 1945 and 1948 and some issues missing from various years.
  • The Upper Hutt City Library Community Archive which holds paper copies of the Leader from 1965 to the present day. Enquiries can be made to The two UHCC Collections contain a gold mine of articles of weekly reports of matches across all grades in which Upper Hutt teams participated, contributed by Jack F Douglas who in recognition of his work in reporting club news was appointed at the Club’s 1960 AGM as its Publicity Officer, a post he held until 1970.

We welcome comments and anecdotes to add to this collection of items from the past. Please forward your contributions by posting a “Comment” from the box at the bottom of this Post or by email to .

Also, you may be able to assist in growing our former members’ mailing list. In this respect we would be delighted to have any contact addresses (preferably email) that you may be able to muster up. An option here would be to subscribe the good soul. Thanks.

At the recent meeting of the Wellington Rugby Union the Referees’ Association proffered a request for first class fare and tea money for the members officiating in matches at the Upper Hutt. The union had previously decided to grant 2s 6d for expenses, and it was decided to stick to this resolution. One of the committee remarked that the referees would soon expect to be provided with cigars and chocolates.

Evening Post, 1909.

It was decided to reply to an application from the Upper Hutt Football Club, that unless the club could procure a ground convenient to town, its nomination could not be accepted. 

Evening Post, 1 April 1909

An explanation was received from T. Nuttall, referee in the Upper Hutt St. John’s game, regarding a protest made by Upper Hutt concerning some of his decisions. He admitted on one occasion having ruled against Upper Hutt by mistake when the team had really scored a try. The match was won by St. John’s by 5 points to 3. It was decided to accede to the request of Upper Hutt Club and have the match replayed.

New Zealand Times, 8 July 1909

The Management Committee of the New” Zealand Rugby Union met last night. ……….
The action of the Wellington Union in suspending H. Benge, captain of the Upper Hutt Club, for failing to appear before the union, was endorsed.

Evening Post 21 December 1920

The annual meeting of the Upper Hutt Football Club was held last evening. There were about 60. members present. Mr. T. Quinn, President, occupied the chair.
The club had a very successful season, the third-class championship being annexed. This team was beaten twice in the first round, but won all games in the final. Four members played with the third-grade representatives. The fifth class team gave a creditable showing.
The election of-, officers resulted:— Patron, Mr, W. H. Field, M.P. ; president, Mr. T. Quinn; vice-president, Dr. Kemp, Messrs. F. W. Connell, D. P. Barrett, H. B, Barrett, P. McLauglan, J. Wunnibal, W. Keys, J. Horlock, A. K. Jowitt. M. Greig, P. Robertson, P. D. Davis, R. E. Jones. G. Campbell. W. H. Edwards, W F Hawker club captain, Mr. J. Paul; delegate to Rugby Union,. Mr. G. Wall; management committee, Messrs. L. Benge, G. Wale, W. Hawker, J. Paul, R. Sanderson; treasurer, Mr. F. Martin; secretary, Mr. L. D. Greenwood.

Evening Post, 16 March 1922

The Upper Hutt Club is to be asked to supply an estimate of the approximate cost of putting two grounds at Quinn’s Post in order.

Evening Post, 2 April 1930

A meeting of the Upper Ilutt Borough Council was held on Monday. Mr. J. Robertson (Mayor) was in the chair, and others present were Councillors M. Hood, G. 11. Guthrie, J. 0. Duff, E: W. Cottle, C. L. A. Spearman. A. Howell, and W. Greig.
Thc-Upper Hutt Football Club was granted the use of No. 1 and No. 2 grounds on Maidstone Park at a rent of £1 per ground every Saturday during the football season. Councillor Greig said the Rugby Union had not taken advantage of the park during the latter part of last season and said he thought the Park should be used for games each Saturday to the end of the season.

Evening Post, 2 April 1930

The Selwyn team continued on its winning way by defeating a much-improved Upper Hutt fifteen at Maidstone Park on Saturday. Play was very even in the first spell, and give-and-take play was the order, until- Leggat kicked a penalty goal for Selwyn from well out. Shortly afterwards Mitchell secured from a. line-out, and, after a short run, scored in the corner. Leggat missed the kick. Selwyn 6, Upper Hutt 0. Just before half Mime Taylor scored for Upper Hutt and Avery converted. Selwyn set up a strong attack at the commencement of the second half. Leggat secured the ball and “potted” a clever goal. Selwyn 10, Upper Hutt 5. Selwyn continued to press, and from a line-out Mooney secured and forced his way over. The kick missed. Selwyn 13, Upper Hutt 5. Ward next made a strong run for Selvyn, but he was well tackled near the line. Ballinger then broke away for Upper Hutt
, but met with the same fate as Ward. Selwyn came back, and Hancock scored a good try, which. Leggat converted just on time, leaving Selwyn the winners by 18 points to 5. During most of the second spell Selwyn played with fourteen men, owing to Allerdyce having to retire wth an injured ankle.

Evening Post, 3 June 1930

Jim Kemp is a member of the Ohakea Air Force team and has represented Manawatu. He is at present on leave because of a football injury which will keep him on the bank for some time.

Note: Jim Kemp served the Club as Senior II Coach 1948 1949 1956 1959 and 1960.

Hutt News, 18 July 1945

A practice will be held at the gymnasium on Friday evening at 6.30 p.m. All boys are also asked to bring their cobbers. Teams for Saturday at Maidstone Park at 10 o’clock will be selected from Adamson, Turvey, Burgess, Dunn, Lloyd, J. Braid, Butler, Barr, Doran, Williamson, D. Braid, Braddock, Piper, Hardie, Sygrove, Mountier, J. Braddock, B. Braddock, Foster, Alley, Edwards, Myers, Howan, Coley, Askew, Moore, James, Jackson, Pelling and de Stefano.

Upper Hutt Leader, 19 June 1947

Upper Hutt’s Success: Upper Hutt won the Wellington Rugby Union’s senior second division on Saturday, beating Wellington 17-15.

Note: This was the first time in its history that Upper Hutt had won the Harper-Locke Shield and the right to challenge for Senior A status. The match was lost 25 – 20 to Hutt.

Note: The Harper-Locke Shield was also won in the 1958 and 1960 Seasons. Both Promotion/Relegation matches were lost – Oriental 11-14 and Taita 3-3 all draw. Of interest the Try to draw was scored for Taita by John Penny the owner of the New World Supermarket in Maidstone Mall.

Hutt News, 3 September 1947

On September 15, 1934, Upper Hutt Rugby Club played their Annual Match against Ngaruwahia at Maidstone Park and after some bright and fast rugby the local team was successful. Players who represented Upper Hutt on this occasion were Avery, Bell, Musgrove. Collins, Carrig, Aitkin, Gibling, Martenga, Danby, McGregor, Jackson, Bruid, Maher (Stan), McDonald, Galloway.
Note: “Jackson’ was the father of the late “Jacko” Jackson a popular Upper Hutt player whose father was Lawrence Jackson (rower) Lawrence Jackson (27 February 1907 − 28 October 1937), also known as Lawrence Woodgate, a New Zealand rower, who represented New Zealand at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was a member of the New Zealand crew that was eliminated in the repêchage of the men’s eight.
Jackson, of Ngāi Tahu descent, and Jack Macdonald, also a member of the men’s eight, were the first Māori Olympians. (Wikipedia)

Upper Hutt Leader, 12 March 1953

Colin Guppy former Upper Hutt Club player, who last year captained the Petone second diyision team, will be turning out for the local club once again. Guppy is a great line-out forward, and will be a tower of strength in the local pack. George Torkington, Upper Hutt’s best line-out forward last season, will also be turning out, so between the two of them in line-outs, a decided weakness last season may become one of our strong points. There is still a grave shortage ofcoaches, so anyone interested should contact the club captain. Eric Connolly, or any member of the committee. Another acquisition to .the club will be Brian Palmer, a former Hutt senior. “Happy” Swain, whose swerving runs have caused so much excitement at Maidstone Park has decided to retire. Trevor Burgess, who played in the front row for Massey College last season will be turning out for Upper Hutt. Neil Butler, former Upper Hutt junior, has transferred to Wellington Marist and stands a good chance of gutting into the senior first division. Ray Daley, who showed promise in the forwards last year, has also transferred to Wellington Marist. Tom Humphries, who played for Hutt senior B last year is returning to the Upper Hutt Club. Peter Edwards, ex-Saturday morning schoolboy star is also to play for the local club this season, probably with the fourths. Colin Thorner, Dick Gribben, the Turvey brothers, Brian Osborne, Johnny Fowke, Don Garrett, Fabian Stewart, Nev. Turner, Keith Maher, Bill Moule and Joe Daley are all in training, so most likely the senior team will start off very much the same as last year. It has to be remembered however,that with young players fighting for promotion it is quite possible that there will be quite a few alterations as the season progresses. Noel Bell, a third grade representative, shows good prospects as a five-eighth. Jim Toms, who played for the juniors but turned out for the seniors on a couple of occasions will also be available. The seniors will be looking around for a good hooker—he will have to be a good one—to take the place of Ray Maher who has decided to call it a day. The club is keen to enter teams in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades so if you were under 18, 17 or 16 on April 1 get in touch with Eric Connolly. Ross Wilkinson, who played on the wing for the junior and senior teams last year will be playing for Otahuhu this season. Ross was a Wellington junior 440 yds champion so Upper Hutt’ s loss will be Otahuhu’s gain. P. & T. have again affiliated with the club and hope to field a very strong team. It is understood that former All Black Mike Gilbert will be coaching the team. All players are requested to be at Trentham Camp at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday for training games. There is a possibility that matches will he played in all grades with the Taita Club.

Upper Hutt Leader, 1 April 1954

J. Johnstone, the Athletic Club and Wellington representative rugby fullback; has joined the Upper Hutt Club. Upper Hutt play in the senior second division. Johnstone is now living at Upper Hutt.  Johnstone played many times for Wellington. One of his best performances was his full-back display against the Springboks.

Upper Hutt Leader, 27 March 1958

Promotion/Relegation Match 1958
Sport Rugby Football
At the risk of being considered one-eyed, we are going to say that Upper Hutt could be considered unlucky to be beaten by Oriental 14-11 at Athletic Park last Saturday. Certainly the maroon and golds did not play as well as they had been going a few weeks back, hut nevertheless the Upper Hutt pack had the measure of their opponents. Weak tackling and lack of penetration by the Upper Hutt backs proved the team’s downfall. .
However with a shade of luck they still could have got there. The bounce of the ball went Oriental’s way for the entire game. To prove our contention about Upper Hint being a bit unlucky to start with, Oriental gained 5 points from two kicks at goal, a conversion and a penalty goal -in each case the ball hit the upright and bounced in over the crossbar. A bit lucky for Oriental? Well, all in the game. At a most crucial part of the game Oriental were awarded a try after the ball had apparently been forced by two Upper Hutt players. Then again in the first spell after Dalev had bullocked his way to the line, he flipped the ball to Bradv who certainly appeared to score. In the second half, Martin must have gone close alter Cole had made a break. Neither move raised the referee’s arm.
Still it is no use grizzling, Upper Hutt are still Second Division, but there’s no doubt about it, they gave the Magpies a fright!
Upper Hutt won the toss and once again surprisingly elected to play against the strong wind. Oriental used this wind to advantage and were on attack for ten minutes before opening the scoring with a converted try.
It was another ten minutes before Upper Hutt moved into opposition territory. This came when Pelling went through quickly to catch Oriental in possession, and he then toed the ball to the 25. Palmer had a shot at goal from between the 25 and the 10 yard, when-Oriental were caught
offside but the wind held the ball up. A minute later he had another shot from 28 yards out 5 in but again the wind proved too strong. The Upper Hutt forwards followed up fast and Oriental were caught in possession. Daly emerged from the ruck, broke through to the line and handed on to Brady who only had to fail on the ball. A dropout was ruled and Oriental used the wind to take play inside the Upper Hutt 25. However, Oriental were not having it all their own way and tho cover defence withstood the attack. The local forwards then worked their way to the half where Martin collected and booted downfield. Sullivan was up fast and took the ball at toe but. near the 25 stood on the ball when things looked dangerous for Oriental. The black and whites kicked to Upper Hutt’s 10 yard where Upper Hutt handled in a set scrum. The ball from the kick hit the post and bounced over to make the score after 25 minutes, OrientalS 5 Upper Hutt 0.
Upper Hutt went on the attack following this lapse, but all Oriental had to do was to kick and the wind did all the clearing necessary.
The Upper Hull defence lasted until two minutes before halftime when Oriental scored an unconverted try. Oriental 11, Upper Hutt 0.
From the kick-off for the second spell, Upper Hutt moved to 30 yards from the line and Palmer had a shot at goal from six yards in from touch. An excellent kick sent the ball about a foot outside the uprights. However, following the dropout. Oriental were penalised again and another excellent kick earned three point.s this time. Oriental 11, Upper Hutt 3.
Upper Hutt remained on the attack but found the defence solid. Johnstone had a glorious attempt at a field goal and the ball sent very high from 40 yards out must have gone very close. Upper Hutt hammered the line but after 15 minutes Oriental cleared and moved to the UpperHutt 25. Winning the ball from a lineout here, Oriental kicked for the corner. Priddle and Jackson both raced back over the line and fell on the ball which, however, rolled away from them to be forced again by a Oriental player who was awarded a try. The kick missed. Oriental 14, Upper Hutt 3. That try was Upper Hutt’s downfall.
The ball was sent dead from the kickoff and the maroon and golds
camped near the line. Upper Hutt won a serum and the ball was sent on to Palmer who kicked Into the corner and when an Oriental defender over-ran the ball, Priddle scored 5 yards from ‘the corner. A magnificent kick by Palmer reduced Oriental’s lead to 14-8.
Upper Hutt were striving in every possible way to penetrate, but found the opposition stiff. Then the maroon and gold forwards swept down to the line in a grand short passing movement and a yard from the line Cole handed on to Martin who dived over only for a 5 yard scrum to be ruled. Upper Hutt were doing everything but score, and then with four minutes to go Palmer goaled when Oriental infringed in a ruck. Oriental 14, Upper Hutt 11.
The maroon and golds kept up their efforts but to no avail and it must have been a very relieved Oriental team that heard the final whistle sound.

Upper Hutt Leader, 18 September 1958

An excellent runaway try by the Taita winger just four minutes before the final whistle dashed Upper Hull’s hopes and chances of senior first division status next season.
Leading 3-0 and having had all the better of the second spell, Upper Hutt were really unlucky not to take the game, but full credit must go to the Taita scorer for a very line try after a 45-yard dash. Playing against the breeze in the first spell Upper Hutt held Taita to a scoreless draw and then in the second half looked by far the better team. They pounded the Taita line for prolonged periods, but could not breach the defence. Upper Hutt’s points came after 17 minutes when Dudley kicked an excellent penalty goal when a Taita player deliberately threw the ball out. Although they didn’t quite make the grade the Upper Hutt team had a remarkably successful season – unbeaten after 16 games – 15 wins and a draw. Congratulations are offered to the coach and team on their outstanding performance to win the Harper-Lock Shield. It is hoped that this season’s performance can be repeated next year.

Upper Hutt Leader, 18 August 1960
Upper Hutt Leader, 4 September 1958

It would seem that times have not changed too much!

The senior second division match between Upper Hutt and Eastern Suburbs will be replayed if the result of it has any bearing on the championship or the club championship. The decision was made at a meeting of the management committee of the Wellington Rugby Union on Tuesday night, when an appeal was received from the Upper Hutt Club, who contended that the referee’s ruling was contrary to law 33. In his report to the meeting, the referee did not say whether the ball had been forced or not. Mr.’ H. B. Simmons (president of the Referees’ Association), said that it was such a blatant sort of act of tomfoolery on the player’s part that the referee thought it was deserving of a penalty. If the referee had awarded a penalty try between the posts there would have been no appeal—as it would have been a matter of fact. There is no doubt the referee’s decision, given on the spur of the moment,was wrong,” said Mr. J N Millard.

Upper Hutt Leader, 7 July 1960

A Hutt medical student, E. W. Kirton, has proved the find of the Otago Rugby Season. Kirton has won the first-five-eighth berth in the Otago team and has played with considerable coolness and ability in that position. Kirton began the season in Otago Rugby in the second grade B competition, playing for Otago University. Mid-way through the season he gained a place in the University B senior team, when R. G. Pirrett retired because of injury. Otago’s big problem was the first five-eighth position, and after two matches, against New South Wales Country and North Otago the chosen man, J. Mcllroy, was dropped, and Kirton went into the team as a “bombshell” selection. His-first, game was against South Canterbury at Timaru and he-gave a delightful exhibition of solid yet attacking play. Facing a solid and experienced man in A. Pearce a former Canterbury player, Kirton showed a deal of promise. Later he was matched against the experienced Robin Archer, of Southland. Archer was in top form and the architect of Southland’s crushing 28-0 win over Otag0 but Kirton again showed considerable coolness and ability in a vital position. With at least five years of medical studies ahead of him in Dunedin, Kirton, now 20, could prove the answer to Otago’s most pressing problem. Kirton is 5ft. 8in. and weighs near 12st. Kirton attended St. Patrick’s (Silverstream) College and played as first five-eighth in the first XV. He left school in 1957, but did not play Rugby in 1958. Last year he played for the Upper Hutt senior team as first five-eighth and at full-back, playing his. best football in the latter position. Lawn tennis is Kirton’s summer sport. Last year he won the Maidstone Club’s senior singles. He also played top tennis at school.

Upper Hutt Leader, 25 August 1960

In one of the closest finishes for several years, Upper Hutt won the Wellington Rugby Union’s club championship for 1960 by one point from Petone.
Upper Hutt 180
Petone 179
University 153
Wellington 145
Marist (Wellington) 135

Taita 115
Athletic 111
Onslow 98
Oriental 85
Johnsonville 84
Poneke 80
Wellington College Old Boys 80
(Hutt Valley) 80
St. Pat’s Old Boys 77 
Hutt 69
Karori 68
High School Old Boys 63
Paremata-Plimmerton 59
Tawa 58

Naenae 57
Eastbourne 48
Brooklyn 36
Titahi Bay 32
Porirua 29
Berhampore 28
Eastern Suburbs 23
Te Aroha 22
Teachers’ College 18
Wainuiomata 18
Stokes Valley 17
Kaiwarra 5

Upper Hutt Leader

Upper Hutt Double Champions
Congratulations to the Upper Hutt Cricket Club on completing thc double for the district. The local Rugby Club holds the club championship for the Wellington Union and now the cricket club has been awarded the Hutt Valley cricket club championship. The cricket club had an excellent season, particularly in ‘the lower grades, the third firsts being runners-up in their division and the fourth firsts and fifth seconds both winning their respective grades.

Upper Hutt Leader, 20 April 1961

The annual .match between Married and Single for the Lidia Shield was won this season by -Married by 15 points 9. It was great to see the Coaches turning out in such force and also good to hear the comments of the players turned spectators as to the handling of certain aspects of play by their respective coaches. There must have been some ears burning at times. Brian Palmer showed that he has not lost the skill with his boot, while Bill Hourigan proved he still has a turn of speed. Tom Cunningham, Jim Day and Dave Curruthers also proved that there is still plenty of fire in the boiler.

Upper Hutt Leader, 30 August 1962

Worthy Ambassadors
The following is a letter received from the Secretary of the Randwick District 
Rugby Union Football Club, and addressed to The Editor, “Leader”, Upper Hutt – Dear Sir, I would appreciate you allowing me a few lines in your paper to publicly express this Club’s appreciation of the conduct and good fellowship of the Upper Hutt R.F. Club’s team, which under the managership of Mr Eric Connolly, has just completed a tour of New South Wales. My Club had the honour and pleasure to act as hosts to your team for the first week of their tour. Their conduct both on and off the field was beyond reproach. They made many friends with our players and supporters, and we were indeed sorry to see them leave. Their manager, Mr Connolly carried out his duties without fuss, and in a manner that endeared him to all who had pleasure of his company. We at Randwick look forward with pleasure to renewing our friendship with your team when we visit New Zealand next March. Rugby supporters in the Hutt Valley can rest assured that New Zealand Rugby and the Upper Hutt Club, in particular, could not have had better ambassadors to this country than Eric and his team. Best wishes to the; Upper Hutt Club for the coming season. Yours :faithfully, H. KAHL Hon. Secretary. Randwick District R.U.F.C.

Upper Hutt Leader, 18 April 1963

RANDWICK WINS NARROWLY With a couple of decisive wins under their belts the Randwick touring Australian XV most likely thought that Upper.Hutt would be a “piece of cake” when they met the maroon and golds at Maidstone Park last Saturday afternoon. But they were in for a shock. Trailing 8-6 with only a couple of minutes to go the Aussies had to throw everything into it to snatch a narrow 9-8 victory. The tourists fielded a strong team, tall weighty forwards and solid backs with good hands, an eye for an opening and tons of pace. Individually there were flashes of brilliance at times and given a well-drilled leader in the pack, Randwick would be a force to be reckoned with in Club Rugby in New Zealand. Undoubtedly the star of the day was full-back Jim Briggs. An attacking fullback who never loses the opportunity to run his three quarters, Briggs has been Randwick Club’s leading points scorer. In the last two seasons scoring 127 points in 1962 and 97 In 1963. He represented City Colts against Newcastle in 1962, Sydney versus Country, and South versus North in 1963. He was a Wallaby trialist. The visitors defeated the Chistchurch Marist Club Seniors by 30 points to 13, and downed a Central Otago Invitation. XV by 14 points to 6. The Otago team included such players as Otago number 8, D. W. Clark, Archer the ex-All Black and Southland first five and Townsend ex-Otago and New Zealand halfback. The Australians were also to play a Rotorua Sub-Union XV, and the Taranaki Colts. In the game at Maidstone Park, the Tourists opened the scoring early in the piece with an unconverted try, but although both sides went close at times these were the only points of the spell. Upper Hutt took the lead after 10 minutes had gone in the second half. Upper Hutt. had been pressing for some time inside the 25 and when Randwick cleared, Edwards snapped up the ball and attempted a field goal. The ball hit the upright and Ernie Neale collected the rebound and weaved his way over. Gordon Dry converted. Randwick went on attack from the kickoff sweeping downfield and regaining the lead with a try in the corner following a good back movement with the fullback up to give the overlap. The kick missed. 6-5. Ten minutes later after the Upper Hutt forwards had battled their way to the line Kirton bulldozed his way across for a try six yards in from the corner. The kick missed. 8-6 to Upper Hutt. The maroon and golds remained on the attack but long raking touch-finders by Briggs took Randwick to the Upper Hutt 25 From here the backs were sent away once again with the fullback up and he flashed through a gap to score a very nice try in the corner. The kick missed and the whistle sounded shortly afterwards with the score Randwick 9, Upper Hutt 8. The game was very capably controlled by Mr Bill Shakespeare. At a very pleasant little “do” after the game, the President of the Upper Hutt Club, Mr Dudley .Hercock, welcomed the. .Rahdwick players to Upper Hutt and expressed the Club’s best wishes for a most enjoyable tour. Upper Hutt’s skipper. Rex Kirton, also said a few words, thanking the Randwick players for the game, which Rex affirmed was thoroughly enjoyed by the wearers of the maroon and gold. All the tourists were presented with Upper Hutt badges as a memento of the visit. Replying on behalf of the Randwick Club the Captain, Tony Moore, thanked the Upper Hutt Club for the badges and also for a most enjoyable game’ of Rugby. “We all feel that we have played a hard game of rugby, a feeling one should have after a good game,” he said. He presented the Upper Hutt Club with a framed Randwick monogram as a token of appreciation of the hospitality received. The referee, Bill Shakespeare, was presented with set of drinking glasses. The visitors were the guests of honour at a ball given by the local Rugby Club in the Gymnasium on Saturday; evening, and from all accounts a grand, grand time was had by all.

Upper Hutt Leader 12 March 1964

Rugby Gate Takings
Up to and including Saturday, June 22, rugby gate takings amounted to £140. It was reported that cars had been kept out of the park because of wet conditions and the reforming of the road leading to the car park area and that this had affected receipts by as approximately £10 on a good day.

Upper Hutt Leader, 1 August 1963

More at a later date.

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