For the record:

A 2013 account of Married Singles Shield by Div 2/3 Vet, Keith ‘Aussie’ Eleftheriou. Appearing in the late, lamented, ‘Ohoka Tribune’.

(Edited for this readership)

The media scrum gets out of hand…

In a media conference of the highest order, Tim Fulton, Esq. DIC, woke everyone up and made a formal announcement of the Married’s Squad to take on the Singles in the grudge match of the season;

Thanks for coming, both of you. It has always been my pleasure to be able to take the opportunity to get out of the house, away from the wife and kids, to be involved in top-flight rugby. This morning doesn’t quite reach those dizzying heights, but one should not look a gift horse in the mouth.

I pondered over this selection every night since last night, poring through seasons’ statistics, video playbacks, and Facebook profiles to determine the absolute best collection of men to be able to defeat the heathen Singles tomorrow. In fact it was so difficult, I could only really nail down 14 because the rest were not up to the high standards we demand. And likely, they should win the boat race afterwards.

They are Single for a reason, and we, the lucky, chosen few, men of vigour and loins brim to capacity, of good breeding and strong gene pools, will once and for all show these larrikin.

As the biggest game on the rugby calendar draws near, I had the opportunity to spend an evening with a gentleman whose name is the patron of the Challenge Shield being played for, and as I waited in the bar at MSC I half expected to be greeted by someone who was showing the years that he must have been approaching, but what I was greeted by was a man who could ‘put me on my arse’, rip the ball, and score before I had even managed to smoke another (note plural) cigarette.
Yep, Albie Waters is a man who should still be wearing the boots, and was a helluva nice bloke to chat to.
The Waters Challenge Shield is, or at times, has been an annual event played between the married blokes of the club and those lucky enough to still be single. It was first played in 1947 and other than a few glitches here and there has been played another 49 times, this Saturday being the first such replay in five seasons.
Accompanying Albie was his fantastic wife Lorraine who was armed with a book, actually, an encyclopedia of Ohoka history, amongst its pages a time capsule of local rugby dating back to those early days as the husbands, brothers, and boys returned from war, and even included some insight into a woman’s team which can’t have been an easy, less acceptable occurrence.
So without paraphrasing at the risk of journalistic freedom, it went along something like this;
The first game in ’47 was played not at the current MSC, nor at the old Ohoka Rugby Club on Mill Rd, but at local farmer’s paddock which became affectionately known as ‘Cottle Park’ up Bradley’s Rd. That game was won by the Singles 20-11 and set in place a fierce rivalry possibly not even matched by the club’s Senior squad. Since then it has, as alluded to earlier, 49 times with 24 wins to the lads, and 19 to the men, with four draws and a cancelled game. The other years being made up by people without a clue. Going back to that first game, Albie recounted that there were no jerseys, or at least tops as we know them now, one being of blue and white hoops, the other blue/light blue/white hoops. One particular instance is worthy of mentioning;

“So the ball was kicked off and was immediately fielded by our 1st 5/8, standing on our 20 yard line, who promptly drop kicked it for the opening score. As the ball came back to half way for the restart, the opposing captain, who fantastically was named Captain Cook (and was a Captain in the Army) was heard to yell ‘Don’t kick it to that bastard again!’ “

The Shield was made by Waters and a close friend, George Schroeder, and the name plate itself was one as found on a coffin. Without his knowledge, Albie’s name was inscribed on the shield in his honor.
Albie himself does not venture to the club often, so to have him there was a huge honor, to have his wife was doubly so as she recounted to me tid bits of Ohoka’

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