Colts celebrating their A-grade grand final win in 2009.
Colts celebrating their A-grade grand final win in 2009.

‘Proud history’: Colts to celebrate 50-year anniversary

Stories will be shared, friendships rekindled and games relived in vivid detail when hundreds turn out to celebrate Colts Rugby Club’s 50-year anniversary.

Saturday’s celebrations will feature a full day of rugby action starting at 9.30am at the club’s home ground, T.A. Nutley Field, to be followed by a dinner at the Victoria Tavern.

More than 170 guests will attend the dinner, which sold out a month ago.

Club president Jeff Ballinger said people were coming from far and wide, and the stage was set for a fantastic weekend.

Colts 1976 A-grade premiers.
Colts 1976 A-grade premiers.

He said it would be a wonderful opportunity to recognise all those who had played a part in forming and continuing to shape the club, both on and off the field.

“Colts have a proud history and we’ve had our share of success along the way,” Ballinger said.

“We have continued to build and today we have six junior boys teams, are developing two junior girls teams, have a senior men’s and senior women’s team, as well as four senior women’s netball teams.

“I love the atmosphere and support within the club and the camaraderie we share.

“We work hard to promote and grow rugby union but also to help our players develop into well-rounded men and women.”

Colts A-grade team at T.A. Nutley Field during the club's 40-year celebrations.
Colts A-grade team at T.A. Nutley Field during the club's 40-year celebrations.

Colts was formed in 1971, a number of its original players coming from the Army Rugby Club where they played in 1969 and 1970.

Ballinger said the club enjoyed considerable success in its first decade, winning two reserve grade premierships in 1973 and 1974, and taking the A-grade title in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1980.

Another notable run of premierships came several decades later.

Colts won three of the seven reserve grade grand finals they played in the 2000s, while the A-grade team hoisted the premiership trophy every year from 2008-2011.

Ballinger said the 2008 A-grade grand final was stuff of legend and the star of the day, Alistar Hirst, cemented his standing as one of Colts’ favourite sons.

Colts legend Alistar Hirst in the 2011 A-grade grand final.
Colts legend Alistar Hirst in the 2011 A-grade grand final.

“The boys were down and on the last play of the game, there was a miracle pass to winger Alistair Hirst who ran 50m to score in the corner and win the game,” he said.

“The excitement was unbelievable; the atmosphere incredible.

“To come from behind and grab it at the death, that’s one game that really stands out in the memories of all those who were there and saw it.

“Alistair’s still playing today. He’s 45 next month and he’s played more than 300 games for the club.

“He just keeps soldiering on. He loves it, and as long as he can play, I’m sure he’ll keep playing.”

Hirst will line up with the Colts senior men in their clash with Rockhampton Brothers at 3.30pm.

Colts celebrating their A-grade grand final win in 2009.
Colts celebrating their A-grade grand final win in 2009.

Many of his former teammates, including Michael Benson, Mitchell Lauga, Steve Roser and four-time premiership captain Steve Benson, will take the field in the Old Boys game against Cities at 1.10pm.

Ballinger said that was sure to be an entertaining clash, with the Colts line-up boasting plenty of experience.

Colts women will also be in action, playing in a round robin with Frenchville and Rockhampton Brothers from 11.40am.

Ballinger said Saturday’s program would be a wonderful representation of Colts as a club and a showpiece for CQ rugby.

The celebrations will be bookended by a meet and greet at the club grounds on Friday night and a recovery brunch at the Victoria Tavern on Sunday.



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