First ever Old Collegians rugby reunion

2016-07-21 06:00
<Calvin van Appel, former captain of Old Collegians, driving with the ball. To his left is team mate and flanker Peet van Staden. Photos: SUPPLIED

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Excitement is building up for the first-ever reunion of the once top local rugby club Old Collegians Rugby & Football Club, also referred to as “OC” or “Red Socks”.

Driving this much anticipated event are former captain, eighth man and EP player Calvin van Appel and team mate Leon Ferreira who also played for EP.

“This is the first-ever reunion of the club and we would like for it to be an annual event,” said Van Appel.

Well-known referees from the heydays of local rugby have been invited to the reunion. These include Jap Claassen, Laury Marx, Jimmy Smith-Belton, Herman Koornhof, Mike Callaghan and Morris Miltz.

“I think it is about time to pull their legs and corner them about some of the arguable referee decisions they have made,” said Van Appel jokingly.

Ferreira has been hard at work to compile a spectacular slide show of the hundreds of photos portraying the action of those days which will be shown on big screen.

The club was established during 1928 and an old dirt track near the railway station, was used as their initial rugby field. Soon afterwards a new field was acquired in Lower Drostdy Street.

The club progressed from strength to strength with the best years during the 1970s when OC scooped all the local prestige cups like the Birch Cup, Grand Challenge Cup (1972, 1976 & 1979), Dewar Shield as well as the Oosterlig Cup. A total of 35 OC players have during the period of 1949 to 1986 played for EP.

In those days the highlight on the sporting calendar was the annual clash between Old Collegians and Swifts Rugby Club, which was supported by thousands of spectators.

Came the 1990s, social and economic transformation hit the town and it was said that “Uitenhage is too big for one club and too small for two clubs.” Thus OC and Swifts amalgamated becoming the Uitenhage Rugby Club.

“This should never have happened. It was a huge mistake and the end of good competitive rugby,” said Van Appel.

Reunion & steak evening

All former players (with their spouses) and supporters are invited to the reunion. It will be held on October 7th in the form of a steak evening at Barkly Street Theatre at 18:00 for 18:30. Tickets are limited and cost only R85 per person which includes a healthy meal.

  • To book your seat contact Calvin van Appel on 082 572 8085 or Leon Ferreira on 082 460 8919 or 041 992 3605.

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