A brief and fairly accurate history of Raglan Football 1980ish – 2013.

It all began in the late 1970’s. No one is totally sure which year but the earliest photo we’ve got is of a kid’s team at Papahua with 1982 written on the back. We know they started with just two teams and that the club was set up by parents who wanted an alternative to rugby for their kids in Raglan.  An initial group of families began meeting at the Walter’s house including the Beets, Baddeley and Brown families. Eva Rickard gave her blessing for the fields at Te Kopua (as they were called then) to be used and the parents began designing jerseys and building goals.

Because of the desire to be different to Rugby some of the Mum’s in the club insisted on a different colour scheme to Rugby’s green and black and so the fabulous maroon and yellow jersey’s were born. The parents raised money for the jerseys by selling raffle tickets outside the supermarket every Saturday “forever” to raise the money.  Perhaps they were the height of fashion back in the 80s but the club is very happy with our green and black vertical stripes these days.

The first pitch was created with huge timber goals which the council insisted be removed at the end of the season. New lightweight goals were installed by Clint Baddeley the following season but Alan Dando – Club President in 1983, says he still has the original goals in his garden holding up sweet peas and a passion fruit vine. Perhaps it was one of those heavy ones that smashed Bill Walters’ sawhorse when they were putting up a cross bar that first year.

If we think we have problems with our fields flooding these days though, it’s nothing compared to what the first teams had to put up with. They only had one useable pitch and all it took to make it flood back then was a decent high tide.  It very quickly got to the point where the teams from Hamilton issued an ultimatum saying they wouldn’t come out to Raglan anymore until something was done about it.

You can tell times have changed from what happened next: One weekend in spring three of the Dads got a truck and a couple of tractors and raided the sand dunes (where the BMX track is) in order to raise the height of the one existing pitch and then create a second pitch big enough for adults to play on. They took “truckloads and truckloads” of sand and you can still see the change in the height of the sand dunes by the boundary between the camp and the soccer fields to this day.

The early teams had some success with the 9th grade Stingrays winning the Waikato competition in 1986. We can confirm the year because Ben Dando still has his winner’s medal. The following year (probably) this group of kids won a 5-a-side (or maybe it was a 7-a-side invitation) competition in Cambridge. “All the top schools were there and the scruffy guys from the country won” recalls his father Alan.

It’s believed that one of the first two teams produced our first (and perhaps only) national representative with Andrea Rogers going on to play for New Zealand as well as in the UK. Her parents still live up Hills Rd today.

The current parents can only remember back a few years so there’s a lot of forgotten memories in the intervening years but the club is still here and going strong. We’ve got 12 teams this season and a brand new set of jerseys, plus there are three former players who are now parents at the club, including Bradey Hartstone, Freddy Limbert and Tai Ringia.

Thanks to Alan Dando who was the only one of the early parents with surviving memories. Also there, but unsure of what happened was Clint Baddeley, Bernie Brown, John Beet and Butch Walters (well, Butch does remember his saw horse being broken but that’s all). Also possibly there were Mark Snowden and Rob Cowley.

Recent History

The club was delighted when it’s first girls team arrived in 2012 – with 9 girls forming the 7th grade Dolphins. The next year the Anemones joined them and the year after the Seastars were formed. The number of girls continued to grow in the club and by 2019 there were 10 girls teams in Raglan forming 44% of player numbers. The number of boys continued to grow over this period as well. In 2011 there were about 90 kids playing in Raglan and by 2019 there were 250 players, including 2 youth teams at Raglan Area School.

This has bought huge pressure on the fields and although council had been convinced to do some work on the grounds at Papahua it hasn’t been enough to cope with the growth and flooding still continues to affect many of the weekend games and create lots of work for the volunteers on the committee.

2012 was also the year the new shipping container arrived. While council had built fancy new buildings at the rugby grounds a few year earlier football had been making do with a 2 metre square shed that was packed so tight the gear would burst out as soon as the door was opened. This was replaced by a comparatively luxurious shipping container which gave the club plenty of space… until the continued growth  had it too, bursting at the seams just a few years later.

2013 saw the arrival of a newly designed logo and uniform (aspects of which have been copied by other clubs). The kids were very excited that the new uniform had numbers on the back and the initial run of 11 team-sets had to be quickly followed up with another 7 sets in 2014 and then a further 7 in 2016.

Teams from the early 1980s:

1983 Back row: Michael ?, Holly Mudford, Steve Pairama, Natasha Walsh, Marieta Gilmour, ? Front row: Ben Dando, Dylan Brown, Kris Dando, Sean Smith.

9th grade. Back row: Kris Dando, Sean Smith, Brady Hartstone. Middle row: Jason Brown, Taitai Ringia. Front row; Fred Limbert, Richard Hart, Natasha Walsh.

12th grade. Back row: Reuben Brown, Richard Hart, Sean Smith, Taitai Ringia, Kris Dando, Paulla Witchell. Front row: Steve Pairama, Mathew Kennedy, Andrew Galletly, Josh White.

1986 U13 winning team. Rear: Glen Mead, ?, ?, Coach: Sam Neil. Middle row: Kris Dando, ?, ?, ? Front row: Taitai Ringia, Rueben Brown, Richard Saunders; Shaun Conquest.

1982. Back Row: ?,?, Rueben Brown, Steve Pairama, Middle row: Sean Smith, Kris Dando, Dylan Brown, Fred Limbert. Front row: ?,?,?, Natasha Walsh. Coaches: Bernie Brown, Xavier Hart-Meade

2012 Raglan Dolphins first girls team. Back row: Caitlin Black, Jordan Mooar, Luca Glover, Kiera Hartstone. Front row: Sienna Harding, Amara Taranaki, Halena Lorenzen-Hawking, Fox Gill. Coach Bridget Allen, Absent: Coco Smith