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First league club set to mark centenary

Last updated 00:00 31/07/2007
JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News
PROUD PLAYERS: Keith Bell, left, Phil Campbell and David Wong are organising a celebration to mark the Ponsonby league club's centenary and want to get in touch with former members.
OLD BOYS: The club's 1912 team.

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Auckland's first league club is going back to the future.

Ponsonby Ponies are back at their original Victoria Park home as members prepare to mark the club's centenary next year.

"For us the whole world has turned, and we are back where we started," celebration organiser Phil Campbell says.

"The future is bright and we are looking forward to the next 100 years."

The club has moved around a lot during the past century.

In 1951 it moved to Clarence St, where it stayed until the land was bought for what is now Ponsonby Intermediate.

In 1975 the Ponies leased a Blake St building for clubrooms until it was sold in 1994.

Members were without a permanent home for 13 years until signing a lease to share Victoria Park clubrooms with Grafton United Cricket Club.

Despite all the upheaval, Phil says the club has built a strong reputation. It boasts 48 New Zealand representatives and currently fields 13 teams.

"We are the most famous club around," Phil says.

"You say Ponsonby, and they know who you are.

"There are two types of players - the ones who play for Ponsonby and the ones who wish they had."

David Wong has been playing for Ponsonby since the 1950s and his grandson plays for a junior team.

He says the club has been a major part of his life.

"I've been here such a long time and I can't see me doing anything else.

"It's all about the passion in this club."

The reunion will be held over a weekend in October next year, with events including a dinner and old boys game.

Phil wants to hear from as many former players and their families as possible.

"We want to plant a seed and make it grow, and hopefully next year we will see the fruit," he says.

Phil is particularly keen to hear from descendants of the players from the 1912 team - pictured in the oldest photo in the club archives.

They were: Arthur Carlaw, J Chorley, Charlie Dunning, W Hooper, B Kean, Pip Webb, V Hunter, Tom Lynch, Scotch MacDonald, Harry Oakley, M Stanaway, Syd Riley, Billy Tyler and J Warner. For more information about the centenary, contact Phil, phone: 027-472-7981.

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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