Pioneers turn 20
STAR English recruit Max Venables became part of history at the Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers rugby union club’s 20-year reunion ball at the Goonellabah Sports Club on Saturday night.
“I’ve only been in Australia for five weeks and it was great to be here for the reunion,” he said.
“My dad even came out a week early on vacation for it too.
“My older brother came to the club on exchange a few years back when Matt Scott was captain of the under-19s team.
“Now he (Scott) is my captain in first grade, so it’s good to see that tradition still going.”
Event organiser Howard Atkinson was thrilled with the success of the reunion.
“There were plenty of old faces getting about and many lies told,” Atkinson joked.
“We had about 220 people attend. It was a fantastic night and really well received.”
In the highlight of the night 23 of the club’s best players were named in a 20-year merit team.
“It got a tremendous response and we had so many good players to pick from,” Atkinson said.
“The life members picked the team and everyone agreed that we got it pretty spot-on.
“The best thing is some of the players that were named are still in first and second grade this season.”
Current Pioneers Ben Damen, James Nunn, Ben Grayndler and Justin Whicker were among the 13 that made it to the event.
Chris Jarrett got a special mention for being the only player left at the club who has been there for the entire 20 years.
Final 23 for the 20-year team
Dave Graham, Ben Grayndler, Justin Whicker, Mick Mitchell, Brett Evans, Leo McLean, Rob Hurst, James Nunn, Hamish Dunlop, Len Blok,
Josh Damen, Damian Parker, Ben Damen, Ash Brewis, Nick Glynn, Mick Melino, Richard Mould, Steve Caldwell, Steve Mison, Chris Joyce, Wayne Connelly, Scott Jenkins, and Ben Johnston.