THE BARBARIANS OF KENILWORTH – NEW ZEALAND STYLE
In May 2007 an email was received from Dave Smith, a Kenilworth stalwart now partly resident in New Zealand. Two young members of his local club had been seriously injured with strokes whilst playing rugby, one being the son of the former All Blacks centre Graham Thorne. Dave decided that something had to be done to help. To this end he organised a match involving a Kenilworth Barbarians against an Orange County Select XV at Riwaka RFC on 26th June.
The Kenilworth Ba Ba's team was to contain a lot of the Antipodeans who had played for Kenilworth over the past fifteen years or so and to augment the team Dave persuaded Todd Blackadder (24 All Black games, 14 as captain) to play as captain and also a cameo appearance from Graham Thorne. Other notable locals filled the team and Dave himself played scrum half. There was even an appearance from one of our current first XV, winger Elliott Brown, who just happened to be in the area at that time.
Dave had shirts made up in the colours of Kenilworth when he first played for them and raffled two of them to help cover his costs. Speights Brewery gave him five kegs of beer, the local Napua Tavern gave $300 and two pigs were provided for a spit roast and entertainment. Terry Crafar, father of the Crafar brothers from Wellington, donated $200. To top it all Emmerson Press in Kenilworth, UK and major sponsors of Kenilworth RFC and printers of this fine publication agreed to prepare and print and dispatch the programme for the event. Dave's own company, 'Rosie's Grove' also sponsored the event and Fund Raising will be completed in the new season when Kenilworth RFC raise some money when the players and supporters return. To date an incredible 10000 dollars has been raised by Dave and all of this will go to assist the two young lads.
For the record Kenilworth Ba Ba's won 27-19 and were down 19-17 until the last 10 minutes. To quote Dave
" we sat in the changing rooms one minute before the match in total silence and just looked around at each other, and after the match the same happened, nothing needed to be said, and then Toddy stood up and said well that's about as good as it gets, and we all stood up and congratulated each other, it was about the most emotional moment I've ever experienced. Ex Kenilworth players Jeff (Head), Roly (Dane Rowlett), Tony (Munro), Tak (Norton), both Marks (Crafar and Crosbie) were magnificent and played like gladiators. It was a privilege to be in their company."