March 19, 2012

St Patrick’s Day was celebrated by the Gwydir River Rats Rugby Club with their first game of the 2012 season being a trial game against a combined Barraba Rams team made up of first and second graders.

The Rams started training at Christmas and it showed in their ability to combine well when they put 6 tries against the Rats who are only just now getting into a regular training program. We lost the shield for this year, but we won the BOAT RACE in record time. It was great to have 23 players suit up for the Rats which included eleven players from the Original Rat Pack.

The game was the inaugural Rats v Rams Annual Shield which will be spending this season at Barraba after a strongly contested game of Rugby. The Gwydir club met and decided to put the trophy up for grabs to initiate an inter community competition between the clubs that can grow into a long term fixed trial each year playing at alternating grounds. Next year the Rams will travel to our home ground to play and we will invite one of the other New England clubs to bring their first grade side along to have 2 games here.

For the Gwydir based club it was a much needed eye opener for the season allowing 12 of our new players the opportunity to showcase their abilities for the first time in the Green and Purple. The Rats enjoyed their first hit out for the season and showed they are going to be a real force within the New England competition this year. Veteran Roger Rigby was joined by two of his sons, Clayton and Mitchell in the forwards along with last year’s Ben Roberts, Chris Thomas, Pud Woollett, Andrew Kennedy and newcomers Gerrard Sherman, Dan Coulton, Nic Hutton, Luke Hillenberg and Will Johnstone. Young guns included Taylor Holland-Wright, Jesse Rogers, Pat Anderson, Jayden Fields and Dan Rafter who joined last year’s fullback Alex Abra and Travis Allen, Jon Alliston, Jason Lewis, Graham Rampling and Bingara’s own international Mick Wade.

The Rats welcome new sponsors Crown Lift Trucks, Booroomooka Angus Stud, Castletop Bike Territory and New England Credit Union who have joined our returning sponsors Sportsmans Hotel, Austbrokers RWA, Bingara IGA, Bingara RSL, McGregor Gourlay, Wonga Santa Stud and patron Ken Holden and Gay.

Tex will be contacting our other sponsors from last year, if you would like to become a sponsor of the Gwydir River Rats please call Tex on 0409712010. This year supporters can pre-order Polo shirts, Hoodies, Caps and Stubby Holders by calling Glenda Wright at 6724-1599.