Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thames (NZ): Soldiers football team post WWI

Sport played an important role in the early history of Thames, during times of hardship giving a place to relax and mix with others - for both the players and their supporters. The returned soldiers from WWI, also found it a way to continue their comradeship in sports such as football/rugby.

While at war in Europe, there are reports of teams playing at venues in France and England. Family report rugby games played by the men of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, while they were serving overseas.
Thames Star 5/2/1918
 When the World War One soldiers returned home to Thames, they started playing in the local rugby competition. In the 1920s the team was called the Returned Soldiers Football team. Some of the players of the day were: M Dare, T Burrett, G Buchan, McNiece, H Jamieson, Chalton, L Smith, Houghton, G Crawford, Lomas, Cooke, Strange, J Stewart, J Finnerty, L Sutcliffe, Alexander, O'Carroll, C Burt, L Stewart, T Crawford, F Marson, P Rolton and J O'Sullivan.  (Thames Star 30/4/1920)

In 1921, the SOLDIERS' FOOTBALL Club won the Thames Rugby Union Knock-outs Competition Cup. The team photo below names the following men and their supporters: L Towers, A Barker, W Ryan, W Lomas, A Dufty, J McLean, A Shepherd, L Pedrotti, L Stewart, J Stewart, A Lomas, Master Houghton, L J Sutcliffe, H Murray, J Wells, L Houghton, E Rickett, A Tate and H Royal (Absent)