TAMWORTH Minor League celebrates its 50th grand final day at the Plain Street fields today.
While the mini junior footballers had their gala day last Saturday, today offers Under 9,10,11 and 12 year age players the chance to win their premierships, Tamworth Minor League president Greg Sharman said.
He was delighted with the turnout at last week’s Mini Gala Day and is preparing for some big finishes to the minor league seasons with the four grand finals.
“The 9s are at 9, the 10s at 10, the 11s at 11 and the 12s at noon,” Sharman said with a wide smile.
“Easy to remember, that.”
And remember is what he and registrar Jim Lupton did for a little while on Thursday afternoon.
While a couple of the grand final combatants trained at the Plain Street fields, they took a little time out to remember the genesis of the junior rugby league competitions.
Lupton, a long-serving former secretary, even brought a copy of the first-ever Tamworth & District Minor Rugby Football League annual report.
President was Nev Smith, secretary Vic Harding and treasurer Allan Bissell.
Harry Marcellos, an outstanding footballer in his own right with West Tamworth, was the publicity officer and he helped pioneer a weekly radio show on 2TM that included interviews with the likes of legendary footballers Norm Provan, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper and Ian Walsh.
Lupton was part of that committee from the early days and then became secretary for 15 years before retiring a few years ago.
He’s still serving as the registrar and also looking forward to another big grand final day.
“We had very good numbers at the mini gala day.
“I remember Jimmy Leis (Australian lock) playing down at minor league and a few others who went on to play NRL.”
The TDML was organised in 1963, he said, when a working committee was established.
“This was a result of the Peel Schools Carnival being successful on a yearly basis and the players had nowhere to play on a regular basis,” he said.
“In those days, all ages played on a full-sized football field and kicked goals with a full-sized leather football.
“In 1974 the competition was extended to include the secondary schools in the 13, 14, 15 and 16 year divisions.
“It included A and B Divisions in all ages.”
Lupton is one of seven life members of the TDML.
The others are inaugural president Neville Smith, Neville Fishenden, Len Walters, Alan Blume,Terry Faint and Ken Jeffriess.
“It is impossible to recognise all the people, both male and female, who have played great parts in the establishment of our complex.
“We must thank those early minor league pioneers who left us with such a greatcomplex,” Lupton said.