Upper Hutt Leader
The Rams are ready to rumble.
Players, administrators and supporters of the Upper Hutt Rams, formed with the merger of the Rimutaka and Upper Hutt Rugby clubs, visited Orongomai Marae on Saturday for a ceremony to officially seal the union.
While negotiations have been going on since last year on how it would work, "we needed a day that represented the beginning," Rams interim chairwoman Christina Edmonds said.
"Orongomai is a symbol of our community and that's why we gathered there.
"We went on to the marae as two clubs, and came off it as one," she said.
There is a real sense of purpose among local rugby fans to capitalise on the best of both clubs, and with their combined strength to become a real force in all the grades, right up to premiere.
It was a surprise and a delight when the people of Orongomai presented a special token of their own best wishes for the merged club - a pounamu (greenstone) patu.
"It just recognised the bringing together of everything [associated with rugby] in Upper Hutt - it is really beautiful," Mrs Edmonds said.
The Rams interim committee had yet to decide on how to best use the patu, but it is likely to become an end-of-season trophy for an outstanding player or team.
"We have to be quite considered about it because it really is cool," Mrs Edmonds said.
The two clubs were coming together well, and the new playing jerseys were being made in time for the Upper Hutt Rams' first premiere game on March 29, and the netball teams' dresses in time for their season start on April 5.
But there was still a lot of work to do, Mrs Edmonds said.
All premiere home games will be played at Maidstone but the Rams will continue to use both the Rimutaka (Maoribank) and Upper Hutt (Maidstone) clubrooms.
"We're still working on all the logistical stuff of transferring to one club," Mrs Edmonds said.
An early outing of an Upper Hutt Rams team augurs well for the future.
The merged club was invited by Northern United to a 10-aside tournament during the weekend. A team was quickly put together - and won the title.
"We're taking it as a good sign," Mrs Edmonds said.
- Upper Hutt Leader