Old Boys Rugby Back In Play

Old Boys Rugby Back In Play

The Freeport Rugby Football Club (FRFC) was pleased to welcome back the Harvard Business School Old Boys Rugby team this weekend. The two teams met on the Freeport Rugby field on Saturday for action

The Freeport Rugby Foot- ball Club (FRFC) was pleased to welcome back the Harvard Business School Old Boys Rugby team this weekend. “Old Boys” rugby is a game for the over 35s who feel they can no longer commit to the rigors of a full-time season with many continuing to play into their 60s and later.

Harvard arrived with a team of 33 participants, including 19 active players as well as three of the original founders of the club in 1978 — Mike Rush (president for life), Row Moriarty and Gene ‘Geno’ Skowronski — who made their first official function coming to Freeport that year to play in the FRFC Easter Tournament.

The two teams met on the Freeport rugby field on Saturday under sunny skies with Freeport taking the win.

“It was a great day of good rugby,” said FRFC President Robert Spellor. “We had great support from the community, and the best part — no one got injured. We also had players come from Nassau and Canada to support our team and a referee from Florida.” Fans thronged the club and enthusiastically ap- plauded the players.

 

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Freeport Rugby & Football Club (FRFC) Welcomes GITS from Toronto

Freeport Rugby & Football Club (FRFC) Welcomes GITS from Toronto

On Saturday afternoon, the “golden oldies”, as they say in the rugby world, were back on the Freeport Rugby & Football Club (FRFC) pitch for a game with the GITS from Toronto.

Past players were thrilled to welcome a second visiting team to Grand Bahama for a weekend of revelry and fun, which ended with a hard-won game.

The team was also cheered on by the prime minister’s wife, Ann Marie Davis, who was visiting the island for the weekend and made a quick stop at the club to welcome the visiting players.

The Toronto team of 18 had a difficult time arriving on the island, due to Fort Lauderdale weather issues, but managed to get rerouted in time to stay at Viva Fortuna and enjoy a few days in Freeport supporting the game and enjoying the island.

Nigel Kirkby, coach and FRFC’s team captain, was excited to be back out on the pitch.

“We want to thank the team for coming down, for being generous tourists and for a sportsman-like game, which is the ethos of golden oldies rugby,” Kirkby said.

Source: Nassau Guardian

 

Freeport Rugby Club forging a Comeback

Freeport Rugby Club forging a Comeback

One of Grand Bahama’s oldest sporting clubs, Freeport Rugby Football Club (FRFC), is now back in action after a low profile due to hurricanes and the pandemic.

Club President Rob Speller is excited about the new season fixtures and in a recent interview with Grand Bahama News,said, “Freeport has a young aggressive team and will be challenging our old rivals, the Nassau Buccaneers, and other teams, for the Bahamas Rugby Cup with the first match to be held here in March.”

Formed in 1965 by the late Chris Cafferata, school teacher John Lively and others, the club property was a popular venue for various sporting and social events and used to host an annual Easter Festival Rugby Tournament with visiting clubs from all over the world. In the late 1970’s, members of the New York Cosmos soccer team were frequent visitors with world-famous payers like Chinaglia, Alberto and Beckenbauer holding their off-season training camps at the club and playing friendly matches against Freeport on a couple of occasions in 1979.

Donnie Knowles is one former sportsman with vivid memories of those times.

“I was the Freeport goalie and I managed to save a few but I will never forget Franz Beckenbauer slamming a ball into the back of the net, just missing taking my head off,” he said.

“I think we lost 12-0 that time.”

Even Pelé, recognized as the world’s greatest soccer player, was supposed to come to Freeport but was called back to represent his home team Santos.

The Youth International Rugby Festival was formed 13 years ago, catering to junior players and consisting of teams from Freeport, Nassau, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the USA. Over the years, hundreds of youngsters from all of the named countries battled it out on the field and made lifelong friends during the after-match celebrations.

FRFC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a special party and banquet on the field and many of the former members flew in from all over the world to the event.

Hurricane Matthew tore the roof off the clubhouse and blew the storage shed over the fence into the YMCA in 2016, then the whole field and club apartment was flooded by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. During the cleanup after Dorian, the club was used as the base of operations for the Rubicon Disaster Relief Team, a nonprofit US-based organization whose volunteers are all US military veterans, to assist in the rip-outs and build back of all the flooded residential houses in Freeport.

Then came the virtual shutdown of just about everything when COVID arrived six months later.

Despite the recent difficulties, the club still managed to keep up a training schedule for its players. Five members, Justin Lewis, Treyvon Henfield, Spencer Graham, Marcus Gouthro and Michael Watkins were selected from Freeport to play for The Bahamas National 7’s team at the Rugby American North Tournament in Mexico City last November.

Grand Bahama Rugby Coach, Nigel Kirkby, traveled with them and said, “Despite the fact that they haven’t been able to play against other teams for so long, the lads did really well and I was proud of their aggressive and sporting spirit.”

In December, the Miami Tridents Rugby Team, who is presently celebrating its 50th anniversary season, came over on the recently introduced Margaritaville At Sea cruise ship for a friendly match, which was combined with a celebration cocktail party designed to attract new Freeport rugby members. The social game was a fiercely fought affair with the gracious Freeport team submitting to a loss at the hands of a very talented touring side who happen to boast being state champions for the past five years.

A number of fixtures are planned for this year to be hosted by Freeport and Nassau and hopefully more foreign touring teams will be added to the programs later in the season.

The Freeport Youth Festival is once again scheduled to take place in Freeport this year on May 13 and 14. – Dave Mellor

Photo: FRFC’s Michael Watson leaps up as he scores a try against Buccaneers during their Heineken Cup match Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the Freeport Rugby Club. Credit: Timmy “Muscles” Aylen

National Exposure on deck for Freeport RFC

National Exposure on deck for Freeport RFC

If you’re in Nassau, come cheer on our Freeport U23 players who’ll be teaming up with other Bahamas players to take on an all-star team from Texas! Kickoff is at 3 p.m. Saturday at Winton Rugby Park!

Also, Abby Alain from our girls program will be training with the Bahamas Women’s National Team in preparation for a trip to Mexico next month. Check out the article in The Tribune below.