It is significant Frankton Rugby Sports Club should be proudly celebrating its centenary during Queen's Birthday weekend.
Fifty six years ago on Queen's Birthday Saturday, June 9, 1956 the Waikato rugby team shattered the Springbok aura of invincibility by beating them 14-10 in the much-awaited opening match of a New Zealand tour.
The Springboks had drubbed the All Blacks 4-0 in 1949, marched triumphantly through the British Isles in 1951-52, and at home, had beaten the Wallabies in 1953, and had by far the better of the British Lions in the drawn series in 1955.
When they ran on to Rugby Park, Hamilton, many New Zealanders feared the worst - this team appeared unbeatable .
Just over 90 minutes later, a mighty Waikato team (reduced to 14 men after 30 minutes when first-five Jack Bullick had his cheekbone shattered) had scored a magnificent, gutsy victory and had given a huge confidence boost to every other New Zealand team to face the invading Springboks.
The match has gone down in rugby folklore as a pivotal event in New Zealand -South Africa rugby rivalry.
So, you may wonder, what has this got to do with the Frankton Rugby celebrations? Why the victory over the Springboks should be toasted at the Frankton celebrations, together with all the club successes that warrant a raised glass!
Five of that magnificent Waikato team were Frankton club players - winger Gaine Carrington, halfback (and captain) Alan (Ponty) Reid, No 8 (and winger after Bullick retired hurt) Rex Pickering, hooker Ron Hemi and last, but certainly not least, 'new boy', flanker Alan Hayes.
Reid and Hemi were well regarded All Blacks, Carrington was in his fifth season as a Waikato representative and Pickering, 19, had played one match for Waikato in 1955 and three more before the Springbok game in 1956.
Alan Hayes, 20, was the 'new boy' in the Waikato team and very few would have seen him in Waikato colours - his only previous appearance for the province was against Wellington at Athletic Park on May 16, 1956, when he was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury after 20 minutes.
Six of the Springbok pack (and six of the backs) against Waikato that day later played in the tests against the All Blacks.
The seven Waikato forwards (after Pickering moved to the wing) matched and at times bettered the South African pack, even after George Nola was concussed, but played on.
Hayes was carried from the field on spectators' shoulders after the final whistle in tribute to his part in that great forward display. He went on to play for Waikato until 1961 when he retired - still only 25-years-old - due to business and family responsibilities.
He was an All Black trialist 1957-60, played for North Island in 1958 and captained Waikato in 1959. Hayes also played for the NZ under-23 team in 1958 on the Japan-Hong Kong tour.
Before representing Waikato he was a member of the NZ colts who toured Australia and Ceylon in 1955.
Alan later said that due to the intensity, his recollection of the match was 'very hazy' but you can bet that every one of the 31,000 spectators who crammed Rugby Park that day never forgot a minute of the epic encounter.
Rex Pickering played for Frankton and Waikato through to the 1965 season, was an All Black 1957-1960 and is a life member and the present patron of Frankton Rugby Sports Club.
For the record, the full Waikato team that day was :
Fullback: D B Clarke (Kereone). Threequarters: M J McDonald (Matamata), G J Carrington (Frankton). B A C Cowley (Hamilton HSOB). Five-eights: G R Brunskill(Cambridge United), J R Bullick (Matangi). Halfback: A R Reid (Frankton), captain. No. 8: E A R Pickering (Frankton). Flankers: A Hayes (Frankton), G P Nola (Hinuera). Locks: D E Grant (Hamilton TCOB), J H Mauger (Hamilton HSOB). Props: I J Clarke (Kereone), J T Graham (Putaruru Athletic). Hooker: R C Hemi ( Frankton). Selector Coach: R A (Dick) Everest. Assistant: E H (Has) Catley
Ali Schmidt is a member of the Association of Rugby Historians and Statisticians.