As a new season nears, it’s time to draw inspiration from our past successes

posted in: News, Rugby

As rugby fans anticipate the start of a new season, they can dare to dream.

Dreams of end-of-season glory, the raising of fists in triumph and maybe — just maybe — the chance to claim another Waikato Breweries Shield …

For Hautapu Sports Club, another shield victory would be the seventh in the club’s history.

Since 1967, the shield has been the premier trophy of Waikato club rugby.

However, the modern format of the competition, which incorporates sudden-death play-off games, was only introduced in 1983.

That format has certainly suited Hautapu, with six shield wins since.

Main photo: Hautapu raise the shield in 2019. Photo credit: Lauran Robinson.

‘An admirable record in the competition’

In the past 25 years, Hautapu has built an admirable record in the competition with:

  • Six wins.
  • Three sets of back-to-back wins.
  • Eighteen appearances in the semi-finals.
  • Ten grand finals.

As president Jake Moreland says: “Not a bad record for any rugby club!”

Two of the six shield successes stand out for different reasons.

The first-ever win, in 1998, was special with Hautapu beating hot favourites Hamilton Old Boys RFC at Rugby Park, when few expected the upset result.

Enjoy the match programme published for the final by clicking on the cover below:

The 2019 shield win was an historic event because Hautapu became one of the few clubs to achieve an 18-game unbeaten record. The team achieved an all-time record for points and tries scores.

Captain Jono Armstrong told the Cambridge News:

‘It was almost a bit surreal

“It wasn’t until the 14th or 15th game that the coaches actually made it known that we were setting a record, we were just going out each week enjoying what we’re doing and winning. And winning easily.”

Coach Craig Stevenson said:

“Going unbeaten was something really special, it culminated in a win … and it was for everyone. It was for the community, our supporters, sponsors, families. It was a really outstanding day that everyone enjoyed being part of.”

So, will the shield return to Cambridge this year, to be embraced by the club and wider community?

Before the first ball is kicked and the first scrum goes down, we can all look ahead to July and start to dream …

Success in 2019. Pictured (from left): Club patron Jake Moreland, Senior A captain Jono Armstrong and coach Craig Stevenson holding the Waikato Breweries Shield, (bottom) director of rugby Mike Johnston with the Ron Crawford Memorial Trophy, and club president Benjamin Sinclair with the Haswell Catley trophy. Photo credit: Cambridge News.

All the Waikato Breweries Shield winners

1967 Putaruru Athletic
1968 Hamilton Old Boys
1969 Frankton
1970 Frankton
1971 Fraser Tech
1972 Hamilton Marist
1973 Hamilton Old Boys
1974 Tokoroa
1975 Fraser Tech
1976 Fraser Tech
1977 Hamilton Old Boys
1978 Melville
1979 Hamilton Old Boys
1980 Hamilton Marist
1981 Melville
1982 Hamilton Old Boys
1983 Hamilton Marist
1984 Hamilton Old Boys
1985 Ngaruawahia

1986 Ngaruawahia
1987 Fraser Tech
1988 Fraser Tech/Hamilton Old Boys
1989 Hamilton Old Boys
1990 Fraser Tech
1991 Hamilton Old Boys
1992 Taupiri
1993 Hamilton Old Boys
1994 Hamilton Marist
1995 Fraser Tech
1996 Fraser Tech
1997 Hamilton Old Boys
2000 Fraser Tech
2001 Hamilton Old Boys
2002 Hamilton Marist
2003 Hamilton Marist
2004 Hamilton Old Boys

2005 Hamilton Old Boys
2008 Fraser Tech
2009 Morrinsville Sports
2010 Fraser Tech
2011 Fraser Tech
2012 Otorohanga
2013 Hamilton Marist
2014 Hamilton Marist
2015 Hamilton Marist
2016 Melville
2017 Hamilton Old Boys
2018 Hamilton Old Boys
2021 Fraser Tech
2022 Hamilton Old Boys
2023 ……..?

What’s happening at your club