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Sumner Celebrates 125th Anniversary in Style

4 May 2012

SumnerThe Sumner club, which is fielding 18 teams this season, celebrated its 125th anniversary in style last weekend.

The story goes that around 1887, on one Saturday morning, a patron at a Sumner hotel said something like: “This rugby is a great game”. His cobber replied: “Yeah! I bet we could get a team together. I hear the Ferrymead boys are looking for game.” The first bloke responded: “Hey Boys! Did you hear that? Ferrymead boys reckon they could beat us at rugby”. The other patrons in the bar responded: “Garn! Who do they think they are?” The first patron eyed up his mates: “Ok fellows – how many of you are up for a game?” About 20 responded and so the following Saturday the boys from Sumner fielded their first team on a paddock opposite the Ferrymead Hotel. After what was described as a hilarious game with frequent stops for refreshments, the Sumner side won! Or so the story goes…

This fable may not be quite true (it appears on the club’s website tongue in cheek) but the Sumner club was indeed formed in 1887. Sumner College had fielded a team in 1884 and the best theory behind the club’s origin is that some of those players stayed together and formed a team of their own.

What is known for sure is that in 1888 a club committee was formed and an application was made to affiliate with the Canterbury union.

Since those early days Sumner has become one of the warmest and most distinct clubs in Canterbury. In recent seasons the club has blossomed thanks to an energetic and vibrant committee (led by president Andy Toy this season) and the valuable coaching skills and promotion of Scott Robertson.

Sumner started its celebrations last Friday with a golf afternoon at, appropriately, the Ferrymead Golf Club followed by its club day (all club teams played at home) last Saturday. The Waves (the Division 1 side) drew with Lincoln University 25-25 in the main game and they represented the club proudly.  

That was followed by the Jubilee dinner on Saturday night where clubmen and All Blacks Justin Marshall and Scott Robertson spoke and legendary local band Shag Rock played.

Last Sunday the aptly named ‘Razor Robertson Invitational XV’ took on the ‘Sumner Waves Legend XV’. The Robertson Invitation XV included many of the greats of the club including Robertson, Marshall and Simon Forrest.

Club committeeman and organiser Richie Dimbleby says preparations for the weekend began around last August. The club had originally intended to hold the jubilee later this year but brought it forward to avoid late-season congestion.

Richie says that with all that has happened to the local area in the last 18 months the jubilee has been a welcome distraction. ”The club has a proud history and so to celebrate it with some style and in the process lift spirits has been very gratifying.”


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