WRFU team profile: Paremata-Plimmerton Punters (Reserve Grade)

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The Paremata-Plimmerton Punters have won the first round Reserve Grade Mike Copeland Trophy competition and this week start the second round John Davies Cup. Meet the team below.


Congratulations on winning the first round Mike Copeland Trophy. Is this the first trophy win for this team in this grade?
This is the first trophy win for this team in this grade for many years; it’s been a long time coming and the boys really worked hard this season and put in the hard work. We are really proud of the boys and the commitment shown to the club and the respect for the jersey. 


How did the team celebrate? 
We were presented with the Mike Copeland Trophy on Saturday after our game against the OBU Righteous Brothers. It was a great feeling winning our game and then having this trophy presentation, being able to celebrate with our partners, kids, close friends and family was awesome, We manage to have a few beers in the changing rooms out of the Cup and sing a few songs and enjoy the moment. Some of the boys carried on throughout the night but this weekend is when we will have a formal presentation at our clubrooms and show the rest of the club our silverware.


How did the first round develop for the Punters, what were the big games?
We had set some goals earlier in the year on what we wanted to achieve as a team for 2018. The first round for us started off promising as we managed to pull off a few wins to start the season which was unusual for us. We managed to continue the momentum and keep winning games week by week and the boys started to believe in themselves and play to their potential. Everything was clicking on the field and somehow we were unbeaten and found ourselves at the top of the table, but we knew we had some tough games coming up against OBU Pink Ginners and Upper Hutt J8s.

The game against the Ginners was a top of the table Clash at home and we knew it was going to be a tough game – and it came down to the wire, when “Jupp” our “Intercept King” stole the show and managed to run away with 2 intercept tries to seal the game. This was one of the proudest moments of the round.

Our final game of the round was away against the Upper Hutt J8s, Every year we know the J8s are the team to beat, they have set the bar so high for many seasons, this was the test of the round. We started off strong, scoring consecutive tries and looking good. As the J8s do they fought back and managed to take the lead back and from this moment it looked like the game was gone. We managed to muscle our way down the other end  of the park and string some phases together and our Half Back “OT” dotted down under the posts. We thought the game was ours with only a few minutes left in the game, but the J8s were able to score in the corner and kick the goal to tie the game.  We knew we had got 3 points out of the game and remained in contention for the Cup.

 Overall we are proud of what we have achieved in this first round, Unbeaten and champions. However we feel we still have plenty more to offer this second round and would like to do the double and take home the John Davies Cup also. 


How long have the Punters been playing for?
The Punters have been playing since 2000, and have always been playing in the Reserve Grade. The majority of the team would love to play for the higher teams in the club, however cannot commit due to work and family so the Punters is the team that allows for players to continue to play the game with good mates without the extras. A bunch of good men who enjoy playing rugby and catching up with good mates. 


How long has this particular group of players been playing for? 
The majority of the team has been playing since the 2000’s, the senior players like Jimmy Grey, Boof, Welchy our “no1” supporter & Best Water Boy”, Jupp, & Chief. The team has a strong leadership group who call themselves “Reservoir Dogs.” These guys are in charge of making sure the team and the younger playing group are well prepared each week and making sure the punters are well placed for the future. The team has done well in recruiting younger players into the squad this year which has helped out some of the older guys in the team. Our squad this season is made up of 30 players. Age range from 21-50+.


How many of the players have played for other teams in the club? 
The punters in previous years have been the feeding team to our senior 1’s where we have had many of the lads experience playing in the higher levels and getting a chance to prove themselves for the top teams, Our Captain “BC” Blair Clark,  Jamie Barnes, & Jupp has played for our Premier Reverses and Dave Baker this year was able to make his debut for the Premiers for one game against Johnsonville where he started on the wing and  scoring a intercept in front of the clubrooms which was a highlight. Dave is currently our top try scorer for the team and showing the boys how it’s done each week. 


How often does the team train and come together away from match-days on Saturdays?
We train once a week on Thursday as most of the boys are unable to train due to work commitments. When we say train I mean play touch, but we do finish it off with a team run and set -pieces and plays to get ready for the big game on Saturday.  


Are there any traditions or rituals of note? 
A new team ritual after each game we sing to the song “Wagon Wheel”, one of the older boy’s favourite songs! 


Who have been the Punters’ rival teams? 
Some of our main rivals over the years would be the Upper Hutt J8s, the Wests Mixed Vegies and the MSP internationals. Every year we have great battles on the field with these guys and after the game we enjoy a beer with them, great bunch of lads. 


Who are the team’s longest serving members and some of the characters? 
We have a few long serving players in the punters, who are still active in our team to date. Jimmy Gray is the longest serving having played since 2000 so is in his 18th year. He is the founder of the team name Punters and has been spotted on social media in photos of touring overseas with the OBU 69rs. His time and effort put into the team over the previous years is a foundation of where the team is today. 

Then there is Boof. He started in the team in 2001 and originates from the mighty Waikato. He is well known in the Reserve Grade for his bone crunching tackles and his blockbusting runs. 

We also have our water boy Welshy who has been with the team for a period of time and his work he does for the team is much appreciated. 

Dave baker would be the character of the team as he joined the squad in 2007 and has a ritual before most games to have a bourbon or 2 to calm those pre-match nerves. 

The majority of the team have been there for eight-nine years and are still enjoying their footy in the grade. We do have a player danger who is from the Otago area and has claimed in his earlier years been on the bench in a game which included the famous Richie McCaw. This is yet to be proven as there is no evidence. 


The last word
The Punters would like to thank all the partners and wives for still allowing the boys to continue to play rugby. Thank you to the club, family and friends for coming to support us each week and the boys for all the hard work and dedication to the team this season. And Last of all special thank you to our sponsor CBS Controlled Building Services, Owner Michael Irvine for the team hoodies, #Upthemata, #PUNTERS2018