Humble Beginnings - First Years
Over the first few years, Pirates could only field a side of eleven or twelve men and made up players from the opposition.. It must be agreed, that under very adverse conditions, Pirates had an excellent record both on and off the field of play. Our after game socialising was, and still is, without peer!
Our first four years showed a magnificent effort on the part of our players, making the Grand Final every year.
1966 Year Book including list of 1962 players
Extract from 1966 Year Book
1962 and onward….
It all began at the commencement of the 1962 Rugby season. Prior to 1962, there had been only five clubs fielding first grade teams in the central North Rugby Union district. A three round competition had been customary, with Walcha, Quirindi, Tamworth and Gunnedah playing the full season; then the newly formed Moree XV would play in the second and third rounds.
A sixth team would have eliminated a bye, so several former Tamworth players saw the opportunity of forming another club. the originators of the new team were mainly the older players from the Tamworth club who did not want to have organised team training, but who still liked their game of rugby on Saturday.
So, Tom Jackson, Geoff Quninlan, lex Wiseman, Geoff Goodacre and Ron May formed the core of the Pirates Rugby Football Club. Other players in the first year came from Barraba, Kootingal, Army CYO and of course, Tamworth.
The name "Pirates" was most apt, describing well some ofthe founders. Todays players have no trouble in keeping up the tradition and standard set by our forefathers.
The Pirates have certainly made their mark in Central Northern Rugby and look forward to winning the so far elusive premiership in 1967. Final words of advice - "See Pirates Play Rugby".
THE FIRST PIRATES: 1962 Tom Jackson (Tamworth) Ron May (Tamworth) Geoff Quinlan (Tamworth) Bill Bucknell (Barraba) Pat Brazel (Kootingal) Noel Skewes (Army) Geoff Goodacre (Tamworth) Bill Looney Laurie James Tony Artuso (Kootingal) Roy Artuso (Kootingal) Don Ward (Kootingal) . Dave Milson (Barraba) Pip Kelly (Barraba) Neville McDonald (Tamworth) Rindy Ryan John Hawthorne Darryl James Michael Mahony Dick Webster (Tamworth) Tony Sharp (CYO) Eric Young (Kootingal) Lex Wiseman (Tamworth) Bill Kelly (Barraba) Mick Wilson (Kootingal) Geoff Bradbury Don Moore Peter Prince
The following is an extract from a letter received by Mike Mahony from Geoff Quinlan in September, 1966.
...you ask me to relate the “full facts” on the formation of the Pirates.
Well, there are plenty of “full facts”, as a matter of fact, some of our early stars were picked up in pubs and went on the field very “full” indeed.
Pirates were started to fill what was thought to be a substantial need in Central North Rugby. Besides the high sounding reasons which follow, we all enjoyed playing rugby together.
At the time of Pirates formation, a new club would have avoided the district clubs having a bye in their competition and it was mainly for this reason that the Pirates (a club team only) entered into the district competition at all. However, there were very good reasons for the birth of the Pirates. it was hoped to provide rugby for chaps in outlying districts where there was no district club operating, and optimistically it was felt that this may encourage some of the smaller towns, in time, to form (or reform) their own teams. So much for the theory - we wanted players!
There is no doubt that in the early stages Pirates were scratching for players. It was quite common in the early days to do a round of the pubs (in whatever town we were playing) to see who would have a game". Other teams were most helpful at times loaning us the odd player or two.
Never did we forfeit because we were short of a few players - as a matter of fact on a few occasions our opponents didn't realise we were short and the more gullible opponents never did find the man whom they were supposed to 'mark'.
In the Pirates first season we had some most peculiar club rules . positively no training! (Club practice was impossible in any case) . a different captain led the team each week . players must be willing to take the field in any position whatsoever (many of our opponents thought it was all part of carefully conceived plan to playa hulking forward in the centres, or the like, when it was really only brought about by necessity), and the golden rule was . no criticism of fellow team members, only encouragement!
This was one of the factors which gave the Pirates such a wonderful team spirit.
Our club consists of four men’s grades; Under 17’s, Under 19’s, Reserve grade and First grade along with two women’s rugby teams, Under 18’s and Opens . We have annexed a vast number of junior and senior grade premierships over the years as well as an against the odds first grade premiership in 1985 and a lead from the front victory in 2009, again in 2010, undefeated premiers in 2011, a miraculous come from 6th spot premiership in 2012, a dominate 66-19 victory in the 2016 grand final followed by our second undefeated season in 2017. As the hard work from the committees started to bear fruit so did the results on the field with the Club being zone Club Champions for ten of the past eleven years.
In 2017 Pirates Rugby Club looked to branch out to support other ares of the local sporting community, and saw an opportunity to bring an existing netball club into the family and thus, the Westview Pirates Netball Club was formed who currently have 6 local teams!
Pirates Rugby Club is well known across the zone as a family club with activities provided for children at each home game as well as the ground being a child friendly place where Mums and Dads can enjoy their Rugby knowing that their children are being entertained and are safe. We have excellent Canteen and Clubhouse facilities as well as a large covered area to get out of the weather. In addition to this 2010 saw the addition of corporate boxes on the roof of the Clubhouse. These boxes are air conditioned have video facilities and are fully catered. We continue to grow and are looking forward to many successful years ahead.