Junior clubs join together to get kids playing rugby

Junior clubs join together to get kids playing rugby

Chalk the story of the Paturaka Bay 13th grade team as a piece of Kiwi ingenuity and the spirit of sport that we all love with Patumahoe, Karaka and Bombay Junior clubs working together.

13th Grade footy is the last step for Junior club rugby before the kids head off to their prospective Secondary Schools and represent them.

This year at Patumahoe Junior Rugby Club coaches Todd Williams and Brendon Tod were in a bit of a predicament as they didn't have the numbers to field a side on their own.

"It was just the way the numbers worked out," Tod said. "A few of our players were a lot smaller and could play 12th grade again, some left for high school and one or two found other sports."

The coaches were left in a predicament as they had a group of around eight or nine loyal players very keen to play their final year at the club, but not the numbers to make it happen. Not willing to allow kids to sit on the sideline and miss their final chapter, Tod and Williams were determined to get the kids on the field.

What did they do?

They, along with Junior Club President Paul Batters, reached out to all Junior Clubs in Counties to see if they had any kids in the same boat. Turns out they did. A unique merger ensued with Bombay and Karaka Junior Club in what was quite possibly the first merger of three clubs to make one team. And the Paturaka Bay 13th Grade Team was born!

"It's all about getting kids on the field playing rugby," Williams says. "Turned out that Bombay and Karaka clubs had kids who had no team to play for as well; some really handy footballers. We welcomed them with open arms!"

To commemorate the team’s unique merger, the players and coaches decided to get hoodies made representing the colours of the three clubs to be presented at their respective prizegivings. To fund this, the kids gathered sponsors and ran 20kms around a track at the Patumahoe Domain this past Sunday.

"It was a mission:" said Tod. "But every kid got there. Even my partner in crime Toddy got to 20km! We reckon we might've made the money needed to get the jumpers made. We're super proud of the kids’ efforts and even prouder that they get to play footy this year."