September 11 - 1990 Thames Valley take 3rd Division title

Beating Nelson Bays 43 – 4 on September 11 Thames Valley convincingly closed out the 1990 National Championship. Not only were they unbeaten in their seven National Championship matches, their wins were by good margins with only South Canterbury, beaten 35 – 18, getting within 20 points. This was the second of three 3rd Division titles the “Swamp Foxes” won over a short period, the others being won in 1988 and 1995.

From “1991 New Zealand Rugby Almanack” p. 179-180.

“After only one year in the third division, Thames Valley won promotion to play in the second division again in 1991. The union had a most rewarding season, winning all its championship games and losing only two of nine played. Even in these matches, against Counties and King Country, Thames Valley was by no means disgraced.

Regulars from the 1989 team who were missing in 1990 were veterans Kevin Handley, Ian Baillie, Pene Reuben and Des and Ray Silvester, along with two younger players, Wayne Warlow and Wayne Yeager. Long-serving loose forward Mark Darrah played only one game, before withdrawing from the team.

Several young players were brought into the team by coach Ross Cooper, to whom much credit is due for the Valley’s success.

Michael Handley had a promising first season, filling the fullback role very capably. David McCallum and Peter Maxwell were determined wings who were well served by centre Richard Taylor, the team’s outstanding back. Chris Costello and Glen Dalgety gave their usual sterling service and once again Dalgety was in fine form with the boot, setting a Thames Valley record for most points in a season. He combined well with Mike Crawford, whose play was very sound. Mike Tarry also played well when called on.

Irvine Campbell hunted relentlessly and his covering was first-rate. The other looose forwards, John van Hout, Jason McFetridge and Ian Handcock were all very fast to breakdowns and their support play was excellent. The front row, Mike Smith, Craig Stockley and Paul Silvester, held their own against allcomers.

Thames Valley coach Ross Cooper, captain Irvine Campbell and manager G D Hazelwood.