Sunday the 8th of August 1993 is a day that will be forever etched in the memories of folk from the Ponsonby and Marist clubs for years to come.
The scene was Eden Park, number one field.
Two of the heavy weights at the time of the grassroots competition had successfully progressed to the Gallaher Shield Final – the prized trophy of Auckland club rugby up for grabs.
It was appropriate that Ponsonby and Marist were drawn to meet in the final, an event that had happened on so many previous occasions.
With a break in the International rugby calendar, Marist seized the opportunity to stack their starting XV with no fewer than seven current or past All Blacks, with the addition of four Auckland representative players.
Ponsonby’s head coach, Lin Colling was well known as a deep thinker with an immense rugby brain. Colling pre-empted Marist’s selection policy, so called upon Ponsonby’s several Western Samoan Internationals, plus the one available All Black. The result on paper was a very impressive Ponsonby side.
The blue and blacks played the match at a frenetic pace, scoring five tries in all. They starved Marist of possession, and kept the All Black laden side on the back foot for the full 80 minutes.
Ponsonby scored an incredible 38 points in the match, and did not concede a solitary point.
Prior to this Saturday’s match between Ponsonby and Marist there is an informal gathering at Western Springs which will feature several of the players that took the field that day in addition to speeches by the respective captains. The event will commence at the Western Springs clubrooms at 12.30pm with a complimentary light luncheon.
The bar will be open and everyone is most welcome to attend.
The two teams from 1993 were:
15 Alfred Uluinayau 15 Shane Howarth
14 Brian Lima 14 John Kirwan
13 Martin Stanley 13 Waisake Sotutu
12 Herati Matipo 12 Bernie McCahill
11 Vai’aga Tuigamala 11 Terry Wright
10 Darren Kellett 10 Paul Doubleday
9 Junior Tonu’u 9 Des Allen
8 Ross Thompson 8 Zinzan Brooke
7 Milton Froggatt 7 Matthew Webber
6 Shem Tatupu 6 Pat Lam/Dylan Mika
5 Jason Chandler 5 Stephen Lancaster
4 Daniel Manu 4 Robin Brooke
3 Nick Mantell 3 John Akurangi
2 Mike Turner 2 Rudi Kapeli
1 Peter Buffalora 1 Kevin Nepia