THE HISTORY OF
HAMILTON SEA POINT RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
Hamilton’s was founded in 1875. No other rugby club in South Africa dates back to 1875. When Hamilton’s claims to be the oldest in South Africa, it does so with justification.
The form of football played at the Cape in 1875 was not rugby football, according to the rules of Rugby School in England. The rules did not reach the Cape until 1878. Before that people here played a game based on a form of football played at Winchester College, brought to the Cape by Canon G. Ogilvie, principal of Diocesan College (Bishops), in 1861. This was before the formation of the Football Association, which was father to soccer, or the Rugby Football Union, which became rugby’s guardian.
At that time there were many, many goal-related games played, especially at English public schools such as Winchester, Eton, Harrow, Marlborough, Bradfield and Rugby. The rules of the games were often made to suit the area of play available. For that reason Eton had two games – the wall game and the field game. Old boys of these schools began to play these games at universities, in army regiments and eventually in clubs. More and more this led to uniformity in the games which frequently did not differ greatly.
To talk about the game played at the Cape as an amalgam of rugby and soccer is wrong. There was no game called soccer then. The game played at the Cape was a local variation of Winchester College football, still played there and called sweetly “Winkies”. At the Cape it was often referred to as Gog’s Game or Gogball after Canon G. Ogilvie’s nickname. It was a slow moving game and would probably have suited sumo wrestlers more than the athletic rugby players of today. It was all manly stuff – chest to chest, hacking forward towards the goal, never backing off. Passing and so on were engaged in.
The first recorded match at the Cape was played on 23 August 1862 on the racecourse at Green Point between officers of the 11th Regiment and the Civilians (members of the Civil Service). This sentence contains many things worth mentioning. The report of the match was contained in the Cape Argus. Newspapers were short then and used mainly as advertisers of coming events, but this was an unusual event.
The match was played on the racecourse, for the first form of organised sport at the Cape was horseracing, dating back to the 1790s with the first British occupation. By the 1820s horseracing – cups, betting and all – was in full swing. Lord Charles Somerset loved the races, a generous winner but a bad loser.
That the racecourse – the Track, as it still called, though no longer a racecourse – was in Green Point made sense. Cape Town was small, virtually just the city bowl. It spread out towards Woodstock and Green Point, but the only bit of convenient flat land, before the reclamation of the Foreshore after World War II, was at Green Point. The racecourse was built on the flat bit of the Green Point Common nearest habitation, next to the Somerset Hospital which had been opened in 1818. The Common was then a bit of a wetland with frogs and birds and buck. The match itself was played between soldiers and men of the Civil Service. Like the schools, they were natural groupings of men and so did not require the organisation which clubs afforded men who had no tie other than the common desire to play football.
There had been matches before this one at Diocesan College (Bishops) and possibly between Bishops and SACS. There was also a match advertised to take place in Port Elizabeth in May 1862, of which no record has yet been found.
Adrian van der Bijl kicked off that first recorded match at 3 p.m. before “an immense crowd of on-lookers” and in the presence of His Excellency the Governor and Mrs Wodehouse and the Colonial Secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs Jenner. Playing for the Civilians was John X. Merriman, later Prime Minister of the Cape. It was clearly a great occasion. The report said: “We have never seen so plucky a game played for one hour and three quarters and no goal gained by either side.” After all that pointless effort the wind changed and blew straight at the Civilians’ goal. The officers decided that they then had an unfair advantage and deferred the match to a later date.
As long as the game was confined to schools, the army and the Civil Service, there was no need for clubs, but after the discovery of diamonds in 1867 the Cape population grew. Diamond fever hit the city and immigrants started arriving. When gold fever started with the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, the city grew even more. It was at this time that relatively unattached gentlemen started ways of organising games for themselves. This had happened in the UK and Ireland: clubs had been founded at Guy’s Hospital (1843), Trinity College, Dublin (1854), Edinburgh Academicals (1858), Sydney University (1863) and Christchurch in New Zealand (1863). There exists a belief that a club was established at Swellendam in 1865, but there are no extant records to confirm this. And so it came to pass that the first club founded was in Green Point. The suggestion for its formation came from W. Nightingale. The club was founded, it was believed, in March 1875. Nightingale suggested its name – the Hamilton Football Club (henceforth known as ‘Hamiltons’).
It is recorded that the name of the club was taken from a club of that name in Scotland. There was indeed a club, the Hamilton Academicals Football Club founded in 1874 by men who had been to the Hamilton Academy. The Scottish town of Hamilton is just south of Glasgow. The Hamilton Academicals FC still exists, but it is a soccer club. Back in 1874 the distinctions between the various forms of football which existed then were vague. There was nothing like the clear distinctions that exist today.
- Nightingale convened the founding meeting of the Club. The meeting took place in the offices of Messrs Hamilton Ross & Company of Adderley Street. The chairman was W.Y.T. Philip and amongst those present were J.R. Wiley, Walter Searle, Charles Johnston, R.A. McIntyre, G.G. Wrentmore and G.G. Meredith. Willie Philip became the first captain and the first president of the Club. He was then 24 years of age, for the men who founded the Club were players. This was true of the other founding fathers of the Club, many of whom were prominent men.
From 1875 to 1910 that was the name of the Club – the Hamilton Football Club. The ‘Football Club’ part is important historically as it reveals that the Club was formed before rugby football was played at the Club. The Claremont club is still called the Villager Football Club (henceforth known as ‘Villagers’). In 1910 Hamiltons merged with the Sea Point club and came to be called the Hamilton Sea Point Rugby Football Club. The word ‘Rugby’ was now inserted in the name as that was the brand of football that it was then playing, after first playing it in 1878.
Rugby School put great importance on sport. Many of its old boys wanted to continue playing and clubs were formed. Trying to get uniformity in the playing rules of old boys from differing football traditions led to the formation in 1863 of the Football Association. But there were those who wanted to handle the ball more and they broke away in 1871 and formed a Football Union. Because of the dominance of Old Rugbeians they adopted the rules as played at Rugby School and so called themselves the Rugby Football Union, as the ruling body in England is still called. (There was after all no reason to attach the word English as Rugby was in England, as everybody knew. One does not speak of the South African Cape Town Highlanders.)
As early as 1875 the Club decided on colours. In those early days club members frequently played amongst themselves in various kinds of teams – Colonial Born vs Home Born, Ugly vs Handsome, Married vs Unmarried , for example. But in 1875 Hamiltons had opponents and the opponents had colours. Bishops wore dark blue jerseys – for practical reasons. These boys played in shirts which were not very hardy and so some bright fellow decided to use the rough dark blue jerseys which workmen on ships used and in many cases still use. Bishops had jerseys and so SACS decided to get jerseys as well. They went off to Porter Hodgson’s in Adderley Street. The only jerseys they had in stock – and in only two sizes – were those with blue and white hoops. That’s how SACS, and subsequently Western Province, got their colours. The Western Province jersey would develop a mystique, but in fact its unromantic ancestor was the only jersey design the shop had!
Hamiltons was far more systematic. One must bear in mind that at that time there was a limited assortment of colours and materials available and coloured materials were brought from overseas. That is why it was easiest to wear white and to dye garments a single colour. In 1875 Hamiltons colours were white with a bright scarlet sash from the right shoulder to the waist with a Maltese cross on the left breast. In 1878 the jersey was changed to white and scarlet hoops two inches wide. In 1881 the jersey was changed to orange, black and scarlet bands, first about 2½ inches wide, then 3½ inches wide. In 1894 the present jersey was introduced – three single broad bands of scarlet, black and orange. In 1910, with the amalgamation with Sea Point, the jersey was again changed to red and black in four broad bands with a yellow Maltese cross on the left breast. In 1914 the club went back to the 1894 jersey.
In 1875 shorts were white; in 1898 they became navy blue; and in 1910 they became white again.
The Hamiltons playing uniform has not changed since 1914 – apart from a brief (and ugly) flirtation with collarless jerseys in the 1970s! – and it has also retained its distinctive, striped blazer.
The Wanderers Club in Johannesburg, founded in 1887 when Johannesburg was just a year old, took its colours from Hamiltons. The first secretary of the Wanderers was Charles Llewellyn Andersson, who was knighted in 1922, a former Hamiltons captain. He wrote to Cape Town for a supply of maroon jerseys, but the only jerseys the supplier had were Hamiltons jerseys. Wanderers bought them and their colours have remained Hamiltons’ colours since. The Hamiltons Club in East London, founded in 1904, was, according to Ivor Difford’s history of South African rugby, named after the Green Point club. According to Syd Loubscher of Border, it took its name from the Duke of Hamilton in Scotland, whose family home, set amongst the East Lothian woodlands, is Lennoxlove, dating back to the 14th century.
The early years
On 19 June 1875 the Green Point club played a match against SACS. On 3 July the return match was played. This time the Green Point club is called Hamilton Football Club. The first match between Hamiltons and Villagers was played on Rondebosch Common on 1 July 1876. The result was a draw as neither side scored.
For some twenty years the game at the Cape was Gog’s Game. Then along came two men from Britain, one a Villager and the other a Hamiltonian – Joey Milton and Billy Simkins. Joey Milton had played for England, as did two of his sons. He later became Administrator of Southern Rhodesia and has a famous school in Bulawayo named after him. Billy Simkins was a Cockney – born within the sound of Bow Bells. Those two persuaded footballers at the Cape to adopt Rugby School’s rules. Canon Ogilvie did not like the idea at all and Bishops lagged behind Villagers and Hamiltons in this regard. Hamiltons adopted Rugby Rules in 1878.
The first rugby match between Hamiltons and Villagers was played in 1878. At this time the number of clubs in and around Cape Town started increasing with the formation of Gardens, Woodstock, Stellenbosch, Malmesbury, Paarl, Worcester and Wellington. In 1883 the Western Province Rugby Football Union was founded. Its first duty was to standardise the laws and its second duty was to organise a competition. This was an important change for South African rugby because from then on clubs played, not just “friendlies”, but for two points a match. This happened a century before competitive games were introduced in England. South African rugby was competitive at all levels.
The Western Province RFU was followed by other Unions – Griqualand West (1886), Eastern Province (1888) and Transvaal (1889). This led to the formation of the S.A. Rugby Football Board in Kimberley in 1889, to co-ordinate the laws nationally and to develop a competition. Then came Natal (1890) and Border (1891), and in 1892 the Currie Cup was introduced as a competition for the first time.
It is worth recording that in 1886 another Western Province Rugby Union was founded – the Western Province Coloured Rugby Union, for rugby was a passion for many, especially those of the Moslem faith. Then they lived in places like District Six, Bo-Kaap and Green Point – and they were ardent supporters of Hamiltons – as distinct from those “agter die tol”, down in Mowbray, Rondebosch, Newlands, Claremont and Harfield Village who supported Varsity (University of Cape Town) or Villagers.
For many years a Hamiltons AGM would have a packed gallery of supporters wearing their fezzes – knowledgeable men who knew their players and were especially fond of the likes of Gerry Brand, Bennie Osler and Jan Pickard.
Not only was the game competitive in the Western Province, but it also had no qualms about charging gate money. Hamiltons were to play Villagers on Green Point Common in the late 1870s. Jack Heyneman went to see the Mayor of Cape Town and told him he intended to rope off the field and charge entrance. The Mayor warned him that this was not strictly legal as the ground was on a common. Undeterred, Heyneman recruited some soldiers from The Castle at a shilling a head, pegged out and roped off the playing area, and stationed a policeman at the only entrance. Entrance was a shilling for adults and 6d (6 pence) for children. One man, Christoffel Brand, objected. The policeman called Heyneman who told Brand to come in and keep quiet, which Brand did. The gate money amounted to £25. The expenses were £10 and the balance was given to the WPRFU.
The WPRFU instituted the Grand Challenge in 1883 on a knock-out basis. The first winners were Hamiltons. Twelve teams entered – Hamiltons, Villagers, United Banks, Malmesbury, Civil Service, All Comers, Mother Country, Colonial Born, Stellenbosch, Woodstock, Rugby and SA College (SACS).
Hamiltons and Villagers met in the first round on 7 July 1883. Hamiltons won one goal to nil and went on to beat Rugby (4-0), and Malmesbury (7-0) to win the Grand Challenge Cup which had cost the Union £25. The teams for that historic Hamiltons-Villagers clash were:
Hamiltons: JA Gibbs, J Biccard, AM McLeod, CWP Douglas de Fenzi, CL Versfeld, M Versfeld, CL Andersson, A Cassidy, CC Jones, J Cluper, E Rowe, JR Wiley, C Heath, H Butler, WV Simkins (captain)
Villagers: TE Lawton, A Peterkin (captain), E Stanford, WA Philip, RC van Renen, RB Badnall, RH Tredgold, CG Shea, AF Mostert, ET Ashley, A Bowen, DF Gilfillan, J van Niekerk, A Clisser, A Philip.
In those days the referee was a gentleman who sat on the touch-line and was referred to if there was a dispute. The captains would decide right and wrong. If they could not agree they would refer to the umpires, of whom there were two, one attached to each side. If the umpires could not agree they referred the matter to the referee. The officials for this match were:
Referee: HE Tindall (Stellenbosch)
Umpires: A Goodyear, S Couper.
In 1884, at the WPRFU’s first annual general meeting, it was reported that despite the “considerable” expense of the previous year, a profit of £4 5s 11d had been made – a far cry from the multi-million rand business of today. Ten clubs were represented at that first AGM. Hamiltons had three representatives – WV Simkins, AH McLeod and L Miller. The clubs represented were Hamiltons, Villagers, Stellenbosch, Gardens, Woodstock, Rugby, Diocesan College (Bishops), SA College (SACS), Garrison and Malmesbury. Paarl was to join later that year.
In 1884 Kimberley came on tour, a combined team and the forerunner of provincial teams. They played seven: won 3, lost 3 and drew 1. They lost to Combined Cape Town by two tries and seven ‘touches-down’ to one try and two ‘touches-down’. Their last match was against Hamiltons who beat them by a dropped goal and seven ‘touches-down’ to nil. Touches-down? Those were the days before the introduction of scoring. A goal was what really counted. Then there were tries – opportunities to attempt to improve (=convert) it into a goal. Then sometimes minors were countered. Minoring the ball was the act of touching it down on defence. A minor was also called a rouge. If you had a draw in your favour, rouges could win you the match.
Points were introduced in 1886 on the system used at Cheltenham College. The following table shows the history of changes in scoring:
|Year||Goal||Try||Convert||Penalty||Drop||Goal from a mark|
It was not a sissy game in those days. The list of Kimberley injuries is recorded as one fractured collarbone, one injury to knee, one injury to neck, one injury to shoulder, one sprained ankle and two knocked insensible.
The Union was founded on 30 May 1883 at a meeting in the Masonic Hotel in Cape Town, scheduled for 10.30 a.m. The man responsible for calling the meeting was FJ Aicheson, the Hamiltons Secretary. The club representatives who attended were:
Hamilton FC: WV Simkins, J Miller, FJ Aitcheson, HJ Budler
Villager FC: RW Shepstone Giddy, JB van Renen, V Sampson
Woodstock FC: CWP Douglas de Fenzi, J Robb
Rugby FC: JT Apsey, J Tennant
United Banks: JA Cooper, M Burdon
These were delegates at a time when club affiliation was vague. CWP Douglas de Fenzi, for example, was the captain of Hamiltons that year. He, Budler and Simkins were in the Hamiltons team that won the Grand Challenge that year.
Despite the preponderance of Hamiltons people at the meeting, they elected RW Shepstone Giddy as the first president of the WPRFU with another Villagers man, Joey Milton, as vice-president. The additional members were Simkins, Douglas de Fenzi, Sampson, HE Tindall of Stellenbosch (father of Jackie Tindall), and WH Ashley of the SA College (SACS), better known as an opening bowler. Douglas de Fenzi became the first secretary of the WPRFU.
Writing in the 1930s, CGS Nicholson, a well-known sports writer, speaks of the Big Five who had run Western Province rugby up till then – Billy Simkins, Jack Heyneman, Louis Smuts, Bill Schreiner and Jock Haswell. Simkins, Heyneman and Haswell were Hamiltons men; Smuts was a SACS man; and Schreiner was president of Gardens.
In 1887 the WPRFU started to look for headquarters. Playing on Green Point and Rondebosch Common was not satisfactory. Cricket had obtained a ground from the local breweries and rugby looked for a dedicated playing venue. The men behind the idea were both from Hamiltons – CWP Douglas de Fenzi, secretary to the WPRFU, and Billy Simkins. They asked cricket if they could share the ground, but were turned down and so rugby went in search of its own ground. Shepstone Giddy, Billy Simkins and F. Robb of the Woodstock Club identified a piece of ground opposite the cricket ground. It was then leased from the breweries for £50 for the first year and £100 for each subsequent year. Newlands was first used for rugby in 1890. The Union eventually bought it for £2 500 in 1894.
In all of this finance was a problem, and the man who saw to it was Billy Simkins of Hamiltons, who had become president of the WPRFU in 1889. Newlands remains the only major rugby ground in South Africa wholly bought and owned by the Union. For much of its existence – in fact till the presidency of another Hamiltons man, Jan Pickard – it led a precarious existence financially. The clubs had to chip in regularly. For example, when in the 1920s new stands were built and the field was swung round to run north-south instead of east-west, the clubs held functions to raise money. The president of the WPRFU wrote to Hamiltons in 1921 to ask for help in raising money for “rebuilding the centre portion of the stand at Newlands”. In the days when the ground still ran east-west, the main stand was where the Jan Pickard Stand is now and the old Members’ Pavilion was in the north-west corner.
Sporting bodies often co-operated in ventures such as building a stand. The Union wrote to Mr HJC Stephan to ask the Metropolitan Golf Club and also to the Green & Sea Point Bowling Club to become involved. Hamiltons organised a “Stand Ball” in the City Hall, for which ladies worked on a committee chaired by the Mayoress. The Club also organised bridge drives, which raised £15 5s 9d, and suggested a seven-a-side soccer tournament to be played with a soccer ball. The lub also organised its own ball – at 15/- (15 shillings) a double ticket, and 10/6 (10 shillings and sixpence) for a single. Mark’s Orchestra played for 13 guineas (13 pounds and 13 shillings).
The first fully representative Western Province team won the SARB’s first tournament, held in Kimberley 1889. Billy Simkins was the manager of the side which contained other members of Hamiltons – Ben Duff, John Versfeld, JC Berrangé, A Darter, CL van der Byl (who died in 1922), Charles Versfeld and Marthinus Versfeld (whose nickname was Oupa).
At this time, as was not surprising for the South Africa’s first club, Hamiltons had much influence in running rugby and in team representation. Top men in forming the spirit of rugby administration in the Western Province in those early years were Billy Simkins, CWP Douglas de Fenzi, Jack Heyneman and Jock Haswell, and later those such as Piet Bayly and Jan Pickard. For many years outstanding players, both Springboks and Western Province, played for Hamiltons.
Between 1891 and 1910 twelve Hamiltons players represented South Africa. They were BR Duff, M and C Versfeld, PA Scott, CB Brown, TEC Hobson, JW Anderson, A Reid, ARD Burmeister, C Hahn and RR Luyt. Between 1884 and 1910 Hamiltons players who played for Western Province were: CL Andersson, CWP Douglas de Fenzi, DS Pargiter, JR Wiley, AH McLeod, RLO Versfeld, J Berrangé, BR Duff, B Darter, C Versfeld, J Versfeld, M Versfeld, CL van der Byl, CJ Jones, CJ Thompson, HT Jones, P Myburgh, PA Scott, P Butler, HC Wood, C Duff, F Scholtz, E Allen, G Butler, A Brown, J Jeffares, PJ van Reenen, CB Brown, JC Faure, TEC Hobson, A Reid, ARD Burmeister, J Dobbs, H Flockhart, R Pritchard, JW Anderson, C Hahn, WJ Mills, WJ Sleigh, EH Shum, RR Solomon and C van Vuuren – 42 players in all, a remarkable number at a time when provincial matches did not occur every year.
In 1910 Hamiltons merged with Sea Point. There had been other clubs in the area before that – Sea Point Villagers, Headlands RFC and Green Point RFC, all of short duration. Sea Point Club had been formed in 1900 by old boys of Green and Sea Point Boys’ High School after the school team had won the Schools Championship in 1899. The club made regular progress but lost players to Hamiltons. Nevertheless it won the Junior Challenege in 1909. At the suggestion of LB Smuts, the president of WPRFU, the two clubs amalgamated in 1910. Amalgamations are not easy. The committees merged, with the Hamiltons men in the more dominant role. At Sea Point’s insistence, the new club was named the Hamilton Sea Point RFC. The president of Sea Point RFC, A Blair, became the vice-president and their captain, Dennis Stoltz (whose brother, Melton, played for Hamiltons and Western Province), became the vice-captain of the new club. The name has stayed, thought the colours were changed for a while.
The Club’s greatest success after amalgamation was victory in 1914 over the Somerset West side which was a real powerhouse at the time with nine Springboks and three others who were provincial players. Hamiltons won 18-3. The Hamiltons team was ARD Burmeister, CH Hahn, RR Luyt, W Bosman, A Roper, CFS Nicholson, M Scholtz, TM Moll (captain), S Glendenning, C Marais, D Bam, C Brodziak, R Flock, C Wood and PJ Bayly.
In the 1920s there was much negotiation with the Cape Town City Council for ground at “The Track”. Several sporting codes joined in the negotiations. In October 1921 Hamiltons and Green Point Cricket Club joined forces to attend to the field, granted on a year’s lease by the City Council. The cost of levelling and rolling was £21. In those days there was great respect for the seasons. Hamiltons would have its first practice on 1 April 1922, thereby not interfering with cricket. And that practice would be on the side ground at the Track, used by the WP Athletic Association which agreed to allow Hamiltons players free entry to train. Then on 8 April 1922 Hamiltons teams played Villagers teams in friendly matches. In those days members of the home club would referee the matches. The first team would practise on a Thursday – only. At the 1924 AGM Oupa Versfeld chastised the Club for practising only once a week. In his day – a phrase nobody ever wants to hear – the players went up Table Mountain every week and trained every night.
On 8 May 1922 Jock Haswell informed the Club’s committee that it had obtained the use of the new ground – between Fort Wynard and the Somerset Hospital – at a rental of £1 per annum. That year the groundsman’s wages were 25/- (25 shillings) per week and he received a bonus of £2. The military authorities allowed the Club to connect up to their water main with meter and piping. The City Council laid the piping and installed the meter for £13 7s 6d, an amount shared with Green Point CC. The military also allowed them the use of a hut on the field, to which a shower was installed at a cost of £12. Gun fittings had to be removed and the first estimate of doing the job was £10, then it was £4, and finally the SA Railways & Harbours did the job for £1 2s 6d to which Fred Burmeister added tips to the value of 17/6! Hamiltons was happy, till it turned out that that amount had covered labour only and the SAR&H then charged an additional £5.
In 1923 Hamiltons gained permanent use of The Track as its home ground.
Committee meetings in the 1920s were held at The Track, but the AGM was held in the Manchester Hotel.
Having acquired the ground next to the Track, Hamiltons and Green Point CC moved the next year to take over the Track itself. The combined delegation, led by Maj. GB Brand, went to see the City Council when the YMCA’s lease of the ground expired. They were supported by the Amateur Sports Federation. The two bodies, referred to as “the Amalgamated Club”, were offered a ten-year lease from 1 August 1924. The two clubs formed a Board of Control. They were close, sharing a ball that year. In fact the Board of Control was financed partly by a series of dances held in the Sea Point town hall. In April that year a “gang of convicts” was hired at 15/- a day for a week to work on the ground. The leading light for Hamiltons in this matter was the chairman, WE Lawton.
After World War II the clubhouse needed renovating and lucky cards were sold at 6d each to raise funds. Members spent time working to improve the clubhouse, so much so that the captain of the 2nd XV used working in the clubhouse as an excuse for poor attendance at practices. Some members of the committee “expressed concern” when beer was served in the clubhouse. They “hoped that this privilege would not be abused”. Later Bo Wintle would suggest that the Club apply for a “malt licence” so that beer could be sold. Graham McGregor had a friend in the Liquor Branch of the SA Police, from whom he would find out procedures. When the committee discussed the matter, it was decided that neither wine nor spirits would be served. There was disagreement about serving beer, John Appleton leading the charge against its availability. It was agreed to investigate a licence for the sale of beer. Appleton was “strongly opposed”: to any such action. The clubhouse was used for meetings in 1949, after the purchase of 12 tables and 48 chairs.
In 1925 Hamiltons and Villagers, believing it was founded in 1875, celebrated their golden jubilees. The two clubs had a joint jubilee committee to organise the celebrations. The Hamiltons members involved were AR Burmeister, JD de Villiers, WE Lawton, AJ Pienaar and HA Solomon. The Villagers men were PS Twentyman-Jones, WFR Schreiner, RB McIntyre, ED Tudhope and EF van der Riet. But the workhorse behind it all was Mrs Stephan.
The rugby match was played at Newlands on 2 May. The WP Rugby Union allocated 250 stand tickets for the clubs. Six teams played, including the Old Crocks. Playing for the Hamiltons Old Crocks were some famous names – Arthur Burmeister, Sport Pienaar, Richard Luyt, Alex Reid and Jock Anderson.
HRH the Prince of Wales, later the short-reigned Edward VII, was introduced to the two first teams. Newlands was decorated for the occasion – at a cost of £35. Hamiltons won the main match 12-4 and of the six matches Hamiltons won two, Villagers won two and two were drawn. The teams that day were:
Hamiltons: E Sonnenberg, S Robinson, C Keet, V Bosman, A Fish, J Tindall, W Humphreys, PJ Bayly (captain), KL Hogsett, T Kruger, W Swan, F Jameson, G Allken, R Scott, J Brown
Villagers: T Davies, PW Krige, G Findlay, JK van Niekerk, EF van der Riet, JA van Niekerk, R Brunt, FW Mellish (captain), J Findlay, AI de Villiers, HF Melck, R Archer, A Wood, J Shannon, W Hennessy.
The referee was WA Millar. From the gate the WPRFU made a grant to the Club of £125 for developing the grounds.
The committee elected for the jubilee year was as follows:
President: JGB Heyneman
Vice-president: A Blair
Captain: PJ Bayly
Secretary & Treasurer: JC Haswell
Assistant secretary: A Vercueil
Committee: DS Bam, FA Burmeister, LE Helm, CL Keet, WE Lawton, RR Solomon, JC Tindall
WE Lawton was elected chairman by the committee.
A joint Hamiltons-Villagers dinner was held that same day, 2 May 1925, at the Cadag Hotel at 12/6d a head. A Jubilee Ball was held, organised by Mrs Stephan. It raised the amount of £135 16s 0d. The two clubs combined to buy Mrs Stephan “certain silverware” purchased from Messrs Fletcher & Cartwright at a cost of £10 12s 6d.
Hamiltons ended the 1920s in triumph. The Club won the Grand and Town Challenge cups. The players who played were: G Michau, E Sonnenberg, G Pinchin, HW Morgan, A Uys, WJ Steensma, EHF Mellish, L Adkins, V Viljoen, AF Fish, A Zoutendyk, GH Brand, CE Louw, JC Tindall (captain), SP van Wyk, PJ Bayly, JG Siveright, D Doherty, AE Gordon, BL Osler, AE Herbst.
In 1932 the Club membership exceeded 750 and fielded 8 teams. But then more than 40 new members would join each year
Grand Challenge Victories
Hamiltons won the Grand Challenge in the Western Province 14 times, in the following years: 1883 (inaugural year), 1885, 1886, 1887, 1889, 1890, 1895, 1898, 1900, 1906, 1908, 1927, 1929 and 1936.
World War II
World War II again saw many Hamiltons men in action. The WPRFU split over support for the Governor-General’s War Fund. The Weskaaplandse Rugbybond was formed, in which George van Reenen played a prominent part. The split occurred largely along language lines. Rugby went on in the WPRFU. There were two teams of servicemen – Fortress Red and Fortress Green, and Hamiltons and Villagers combined to produce a team. The president of the WPRFU at the time was JD de Villiers. He was stubbornly in favour of support for the war effort. The Gardens Club, which had some 200 members in the army, split and the Union Club was formed, a powerful club for many years. Union promptly won the Grand Challenge in its first year of existence.
The split in the WPRFU was healed at a meeting on 3 April 1945. Stellenbosch, Gardens, Paarl and Maitland came back to the Union and the secessionist UCT (University of Cape Town, “Varsity”) side, called Groote Schuur, ceased to exist.
During the War some provincial friendlies were played, in which Bjorkie Björkman, Bo Wintle, Don Duffett and Bull Bisogno took part.
On 19 September 1949 the chairman, Piet Bayly, reported to the committee that he had had discussions with Colonel Stephan and members of the City Engineer’s Department when the group visited the site on Green Point Common where Hamiltons would have its future fields. The Club asked for three grounds which it offered to grass. The rent would be £1 per annum.
This sudden move after the clubhouse had just been completed was to accommodate the needs of Coloured sportsmen. It was not a move which Hamiltons members welcomed as it meant starting all over again – planting grass (done by members), getting a clubhouse going, partly with a soft loan from the Council and partly by selling life associate membership for £5 per person. The members’ disapproval disappointed Colonel Stephan who offered to build two squash courts there at his own expense. In the end the Club had to fight the City Council for permission to build a clubhouse at the grounds.
In addition to rugby, the Club had a tennis section, a cricket match was played against Villagers and a golf day arranged. A biannual golf match was organised with Union RFC. One of the Club’s serious golfers referred to such days as “agricultural courses”. An annual dance was held, as well as a Christmas dance and braaivleises with dances. There was an Injuries Fund, from which the highest payment to a player in 1949 was £4 to Japie Verwey.
The Club started 1950 with £327 16s 5d on fixed deposit. There were some Under 19 players who had not paid for their photos and a list of members who had defaulted on their subscriptions was put up on the Club noticeboard. It was decided that members should pay their subs before being allowed to play during the season and when V McFarlane asked for permission to buy a blazer and badge, he was allowed to do so on condition that he paid two years’ arrears in subscriptions, amounting to 10 shillings. (Thurstons were the Club stockists at the time.)
Paying subscriptions would seem odd to many players. On the other hand when P Steyn of the Crusaders Club in Port Elizabeth wrote about a move to Cape Town, the Club investigated and found him employment.
In 1950 Hamiltons celebrated its 75th Jubilee, as did Villagers. The committee set up to organise the celebrations was A Fish, who was soon replaced by Frank Moore, S Millar and Vincent Thompson. They were to work with the Villagers Committee. A joint dance was to be held on 24 June 1950 at the Rotunda Hotel in Camps Bay, tickets a guinea (£1 1s) a double.
A joint bank account, called the Hamilton Villager Benevolent Fund, was opened at the Cape Town Branch of the Standard Bank. Signatories for Hamiltons were Piet Bayly and V Björkman, and for Villagers C Hofmeyr and Herby Twine. Invitations were extended to the Governor General and the presidents of the SARB, WPRFU, Villagers and Hamiltons. The net profit from the dance in favour of the benevolent fund was £43 5s 11d.
Hamiltons decided, after much deliberation, to present Villagers with a chairman’s chair – at a cost of £15. It was “not to be of inferior quality to the one presented to us”. The response to the dance was poor – only 80 tickets sold by due date. An so it was decided to open the dance up to members’ friends. In the end the dance was pronounced a great success and Villagers were presented with their chair. In addition, Villagers had won the Derby Match 9-6 and Hamiltons presented Villagers with a shield to commemorate the event. A joint golf day was organised at Westlake Golf Course for 8 October 1950.
The Union’s fixtures would start on 22 April 1950. However, the fixture list was not yet available by 12 April, and so Hamiltons and Villagers decided to hold celebratory matches on 1 April, and Hamiltons would play friendlies against Van der Stel and UCT. The first practices of the season took place on 25 March 1950 – a week before the Villagers matches! The coach of the 1st and 2nd teams was Bo Wintle, with John Appleton and Jimmy Bain coaching the Under 19 teams, which had an abundance of players to choose from. V Thompson, S Millar and S Venn would “take practices” on Thursday evenings.
Francis Mellish was elected captain for 1950, ahead of Keith Elliott and Frank Moore. Mellish exhorted the members to keep fit, admonishing them “not to spoil all the good work put in by living a hectic life”. Frank Moore was then elected vice-captain. The captains and vice-captains of the other teams were elected in the changeroom on the day of the first Union fixture, 22 April.
For the match against Villagers the clubs appointed referees alternately. This would be a Hamiltons home match and so they appointed referees for the 1st team, 3rd team, Reserve B and Under 19A matches. They were be Ralph Burmeister, A Rutter, A Russell, D Veitch and John Appleton respectively. Seven teams played and the results were as follows:
1st XV: Hamiltons 0 Villagers 0
2nd XV: Hamiltons 0 Villagers 6
3rd XV: Hamiltons 8 Villagers 6
Reserve A: Hamiltons 1 Villagers 3
Reserve B: Hamiltons 14 Villagers 8
U/19 A: Hamiltons 0 Villagers 3
U/19 B: Hamiltons 0 Villagers 12
The Hamiltons 1st XV for that day was: R Dryburgh, H Morkel, L MacKay, A Arnold, R Lazarus, G Tasker, D Brodziak, R Bisogno, A Barichievy, J Morris, W Hamilton-Browne, F Moore, J Bresler, K Elliott, and D Olivier. Notable absentees were Francis Mellish and Don Duffett. (Roy Dryburgh and Don Duffett played for Western Province in 1951.)
The main celebrations would actually take place at Newlands on 24 June, which was labelled Derby Day.
Seven matches were also played against van der Stel, freshly back from its “loan” to the Boland. Van der Stel won the 3rd XV match, the Under 19A was drawn and Hamiltons won the rest, winning the 1st XV match 11-10. As van der Stel had not been granted a portion of the gate, it was decided to grant them £25 to cover travelling expenses, just over £3 per team!
Eight matches were played against UCT. The first team beat Varsity 5-3, and for the rest Hamiltons won three matches and Varsity four. Varsity won the Grand Challenge in 1950.
It was decided to produce a history booklet commemorating Hamiltons’ 75th anniversary.
Once again Hamiltons and Villagers celebrated a jubilee year together, this time their centenary, in 1975. The teams for that historic clash were:
- Parker (capt.) 15 H.O. de Villiers (capt.)
- McPetrie 13 M. O’Brien
- Keyser 11 M. Gluckman
- Cloete 12 G. Abernethy
A Laurence 14 R. Bryant
B Nicol 10 K. Kolesky
- Kagan 9 R. McCullum
- Breach 1 R. Collie
- Telo 2 T. Venables
- Schmidt 3 M. Stein
- v.d. Westhuizen 6 B. Rookledge
- Calder 4 P. Reynolds
- Murie 5 K. McQueen
- Lurie 7 M. du Plessis
- Greenacre (v.-capt.) 8 P. Geldenhuys
Isolation and Towards Unity
In the seventies South Africa began to feel the cold winds of sporting isolation, starting in rugby with the cancellation by Scotland of its tour to South Africa. This whole period caused the development of a different rugby culture within the country, one increasingly greased by money to keep it going.
Out of this isolation came increasing efforts to get the four national rugby bodies together – the SA Rugby Football Board (SARB), the SA Coloured Rugby Board (which became the SA Rugby Union), the SA Bantu Rugby Board (which became the SA African Rugby Board (which became the SA Rugby Association – SARA) and the SA Rugby Football Federation (SARFF). Eventually the SARB, SARA and the SARFF united to form the SA Rugby Board and the gulf between that body and SARU grew wider.
The change meant that all rugby, including club rugby in the Western Province, and all facilities at grounds, including Newlands, were opened to all races. The first league of the Western Province had four teams which had previously represented provincial units within the Western Province league which in turn was an affiliate of the Federation. Those teams were Bellville South, Paarl League, Northerns League and Coronations which was based in Stellenbosch.
After the government of the day declared an end to all forms of apartheid, the unbanning of political organisations, the freeing of Nelson Mandela and the extension of the franchise to all people, negotiations started for the unification of all sport in South Africa, including rugby football.
This happened eventually in 1992. In the Western Province six provincial units came together to form the new provincial body – Western Province based at Newlands and founded in 1883, Western Province with its headquarters at the Track in Green Point and founded in 1886, City and Suburban with its headquarters at City Park and founded in 1899, Tygerberg, based at Florida Park, Somerset Board of Somerset West, a part of Boland, based in Paarl, and Western Province Board with headquarters in Langa.
The new Western Province RFU took a great deal of organisation and patience. New structures had to be put in place, and in a hurry. As far as Hamiltons was concerned, the face of club rugby was changed. From the 30 clubs it was accustomed to in its old Union, its new Union comprised nearly 100 clubs.
On to 125
The demographics of Sea Point had been changing for many years. This change was accentuated from the 1970s on. The area became less residential and the two main schools in the area, Sea Point Boys’ High and Christian Brothers College, became co‑educational establishments and phased rugby out. The Atlantic shift was towards Camps Bay and there rugby was a keen pursuit under Hamiltons member Eban Tucker, though the school had by the turn of the century not achieved the rugby name which Sea Point Boys’ High had had in the past. Because the suburbs of Sea Point and Green Point ceased to be the same sort of residential areas as they had been, so the Club was forced to resort to various means to attract players. This frequently involved a form of “shamteurism” in pre-1996 days, especially to entice top players to the Club.
After the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, the game was declared officially professional. This brought added pressure to clubs. Players suddenly had an expectation of plenty. Some clubs strained their resources, demanded ingenuity of the club in raising funds, including exploitation of the excellent clubhouse facilities and the generosity of individuals to provide some of that plenty. Nothing could be more foreign to players than the idea of paying subscriptions or buying jerseys. On the contrary, the players looked to be played – at least those in the 1st XV.
The introduction into the Union of promotion-relegation put added pressure on a club which lacked the local infrastructure to provide players. In 1999 the Club barely escaped relegation to what was tantamount to the second division of Western Province rugby and in 2000, the year of Hamiltons 125, the prospects were even bleaker.
In 2000 the Club celebrated its 125th anniversary. Its contribution to rugby in South Africa has been enormous, as John Appleton reminded the Club time and again. “It is the finest club in the Western Province – nay, in South Africa,” he would say with conviction.
In 125 years a club like Hamiltons has had many personalities amongst its players and administrators at various levels. What follows is a selection from the past, some of whom may be unknown or forgotten.
Willie Philip (born: Port Elizabeth, 7 October 1850; deceased: Port Elizabeth, 16 August 1922)
William Yalden Thomson Philip was the first Hamiltons captain, way back in 1875. He was a partner in the firm Philip Bros, a general merchant, which was sold in 1897, and then of W Yalden Philip & Son.
His father was the son of John Ross Philip, the fourth child of the Rev. Dr John Philip of the London Missionary Society, who arrived in South Africa on 26 February 1819 and did much to establish rights for the indigenous populations of the Cape, to the annoyance of many who found him a troublesome priest. The town of Philippolis is named after him.
Willie Philip was one of eight children. His brother, WA Philip, was an active Villagers member. Willie Philip was also a keen cricketer and oarsman. Willie Philip’s grandsons, Barry Yalden Philip and Graham Yalden Philip, played for the Club. Barry was in the 1st XV from 1954 to 1960.
Billy Simkins (born: London, 16 January 1857; deceased: Civil Service Club, Cape Town, 3 October 1919)
William Valencie (also Vallancey) Simkins was one of South Africa’s greatest and most popular sporting administrators. He arrived in Cape Town in 1876 and joined Hamiltons, captaining the Club in 1881 and 1882. He was the Club’s representative on the Union board from 1883 to 1887 and its president from 1889 to his death in the Civil Service Club, whose property had once incorporated the Rev. John Philip’s church. He was vice-president of the WPRFU in 1888 and president from 1889 to 1913, the Union’s second president.
He, together with Joey Milton of Villagers, was largely instrumental in persuading the adoption of Rugby Rules at the Cape to replace Gog’s Game. He was the referee in the second match at South Africa’s first provincial rugby tournament in Kimberley in 1889 when Griquas beat Transvaal 4‑3.
In 1890 he became the second president of the South African Rugby Football Board, a position he held until 1913. From then until 1956 the position would be a Hamiltons-Villagers preserve for the president after Simkins was a Villagers man, followed by two Hamiltons men, followed by another Villagers man, followed by Dr Danie Craven.
Billy Simkins was the WP Rugby Football Union’s second president – from 1889 to 1905. He was also a founder member of Cape Town Cricket Club, president of the WP Cricket Union and a keen member of the Alfred’s Rowing Club when rowing was a big sport at the Cape.
In the midst of all his sporting commitments he had time to father six children.
Jack Heyneman (born: Cape Town, 7 September 1861; deceased: Weltevreden, Jamieson Ave, Cape Town on 28 September 1927)
Jan Godlieb Brink Heyneman was probably the first man to charge gate money to watch a rugby match and he, a legal man, did it illegally. He roped off a part of Green Point Common, got some soldiers from The Castle and charged people entry to watch rugby. Challenged by another legal man, Christoffel Brand, Heyneman invited him through the gate, but told him not to mention it.
Being a bachelor, he was much involved in sport – rugby, cricket, rowing, boxing, hockey and horse racing. He was associated with the SA Rugby Football Board from its inception and became its president in 1913 till his sudden death in 1927.
Sir Charles Llewellyn Andersson, OBE (born: Cape Town, 3 August 1861; deceased: Johannesburg, 1948)
Sir Charles Llewellyn Andersson played for Hamiltons and, in 1885, for Cape Town after travelling in the north parts of South Africa on all sorts of expeditions, including the erection of a telegraph line in Natal. When gold was discovered on the Reef, he headed for Johannesburg where he became the secretary of the Wanderers Club in 1887 when it was founded. He was instructed to obtain maroon rugby jerseys for the Club. He wrote off to his friend Billy Simkins and the jerseys which arrived were the gold, scarlet and black of Hamiltons, the Wanderers’ colours to this day. In his day he was the South African mile champion, with a time of 4 mins 46 secs.
Douglas de Fenzi
Charles William Perks Douglas de Fenzi was the first secretary of the WPRFU, succeeded when he left for Natal, by Fairy Heatlie. (Interestingly, Fairy Heatlie became an honorary member of Hamiltons in 1951, the year of his death.) They were both active players at the time that they were secretaries.
Douglas de Fenzi had a great deal of say in rugby football, in the Western Province, Natal and the SA Rugby Football Boards. In the Western Province, he was associated with a club called Woodstock and with Hamiltons, whose captain he was, notably in 1883 when Hamiltons won the Grand Challenge. He was also captain of a team called Cape Town, which was in effect a Western Province team, in 1884 and 1885.
Later he moved to Natal as the secretary of the Natal Legislative Council and played a leading role in getting rugby established in that colony. Then in 1889 he was one of those instrumental in forming the South African Rugby Football Board in Kimberley. He played for Natal and refereed a match between Pietermaritzburg and the overseas tourists in 1891. In 1894 he returned to Cape Town. He died in Natal in 1927.
John Cowan Haswell was the honorary secretary of Hamiltons from 1906 to 1915 and again from 1920 to 1927 when he became the first paid secretary and treasurer of the WPRFU. It was said of him: “Jock and Hamiltons are synonymous terms.” A crowded dinner was given in his honour in the Opera House dining-room on his retirement as secretary of the Club. A purse of gold and a gold watch were presented to him.
He was born in Scotland, married in Liverpool and died at his home in Newlands on 30 May 1932, aged 57 years and 6 months. He was succeeded by Piet van Schaik, an honorary vice-president of Hamiltons.
Brand van Zyl (born: Cape Town, 3 June 1873; deceased: Cape Town, 1 November 1956)
Always referred to in the Club minutes as Maj. GB van Zyl, Gideon Brand van Zyl played for Hamiltons and was the Club’s chairman. He was an attorney and more importantly a politician. In 1915 he became a member of the Cape Provincial Council, representing the Cape Town Harbour constituency. In 1918 he became a Unionist Party member of parliament. Subsequently he became a member of the South African Party and eventually of the United Party. In 1929 he was the unopposed member of parliament for Sea Point, which he remained until 2 October 1942, after which he became Administrator of the Cape Province. He was then the patron of WPRFU.
In 1945 he became the first South African born Governor General of South Africa and a member of the Privy Council. In 1948 the University of Cape Town awarded him an honorary doctorate in law. Brand van Zyl was many things – a founder member of the Milnerton Turf Club and on the committees of Kirstenbosch and the WP Agricultural Society. In 1949 he presented the Club with a club flag. Oddly enough, he was not a life member of the Club.
Sport Pienaar (born: Aliwal North, 1884; deceased: Cape Town, 12 October 1953)
Autocratic Andries Jacobus Pienaar, known as Sport, was one of South Africa’s great sports administrators. He was president of the SA Rugby Football Board from 1927 until his death in 1953. He was also president the SA Cricket Union from 1947 to 1948. He was an ardent amateur.
Henry John Charles Stephan was a City Councillor from 4 September 1916 to 3 September 1951, and he was Mayor of Cape Town from 10 September 1931 to 7 September 1933. He pressed for the move from The Track to the Club’s present position at the ground which bears his name. In 1924 he was the chairman of the committee which organised the Rugby Ball in the City Hall.
After World War II, Colonel HJC Stephan was the Club president. There were also municipal elections that year and he arrived at a committee meeting in the Fresnaye Sports Club and asked members of the committee to canvas for him. Some did. When Jack Frost stood for the Cape Town City Council in 1984, he also received Hamiltons’ help.
Stephie Stephan made his house available for a mid-season dance. His house was Mouille Grange, where the Metropolitan Golf clubhouse is situated. When Hamiltons moved from The Track, there was a suggestion that Stephan’s house become the clubhouse. He was elected a life member in 1953. He died on 11 December 1970.
JD de Villiers (born: 17 May 1887; deceased: Rosebank, Cape Town, 6 March 1965)
JD de Villiers was a member of Hamiltons, playing for and coaching at the Club. In 1922 he was first elected to the Club’s committee. In 1924 he was the South African manager of the Lions’ touring team and in 1925 became chairman of the SA Referees Association. He proposed that the laws of the game be translated into Afrikaans.
He was president of the WPRFU from 1939, through the difficult war years, until 1954 when much reconstruction was taking place at Newlands and the Union suffered severe financial constraints. Other Hamiltons men actively involved in the building programme were John Appleton and Frank Moore. In 1954 he left the Union and did not return to Newlands. He was succeeded by Piet Bayly, also of Hamiltons.
His full names were Johan David de Villiers, but he was always known as JD. He was the Provincial Secretary and acting Administrator of the Cape in 1945.
Fred Burmeister, brother of Arthur, father of Ralph, was a member of Hamiltons from his school days and captained the 1st XV. He was chairman of the Club and later a vice-president. He originated the Annual Golf Day.
When a referee complained to Fred Burmeister that members of the Under 19A team had used bad language, talked on the field and queried his decisions, each member of the team was written to and summoned to attend a meeting at The Track on the following Friday at 8 pm. Failure to attend would jeopardise selection. The secretary was asked to advertise the meeting in the press and to put a notice on the Club notice-board advising members of the meeting. One of the members, possibly the quietest man ever to have played rugby, was Gerry Brand, then a centre. In the pack was a tall young man, Owen McCann, much later to become Cardinal Archbishop of Cape Town! He had joined the Club in March 1924.
Fred Burmeister was vice-president of the Western Province RFU during the time of JD de Villiers, beaten eventually in a strange election in 1951 when he was opposed for the position by Piet Bayly. He was elected a life member of the Hamiltons in 1924. Alfred Julius Burmeister died in 1952, leaving the Club £100 in his will.
Piet Bayly (born: Britstown, 27 April 1893; deceased: 1977)
Peter James Bayly (always known as Piet) joined Hamiltons in 1913 after leaving the SA College. In 1933 he became a Western Province selector and in 1938 the convenor of the WP selection committee, a position he held till 1951. He was also a national selector. In 1953 he was elected a vice-president of Hamiltons.
When JD de Villiers resigned as president of WPRFU early in 1954, he was succeeded by Piet Bayly, one of the great Hamiltons members, who remained in office until 1967, when Hannes Pretorius took over. (In 1982 Hannes Pretorius died suddenly and was succeeded by another Hamiltons man, Jan Pickard.) In 1963 Hamiltons Club presented Piet Bayly with a presidential chair, still used by the president of the WPRFU. The chair was to mark Piet Bayly’s 10th year as president of the Union and the 50th year of his membership of Hamiltons.
Piet Bayly’s cousin, Francis Mellish, also a prop and also once the Hamiltons captain, served the Union with great wisdom and fidelity in many capacities, including the post of senior vice-president.
Piet Bayly played for Hamiltons 1st XV from 1913 to 1929 and for Western Province from 1914 to 1925. He became a member of the Hamiltons committee in 1914 and first became a member of WPRFU committee in 1929. For a while clubs competed for the Bayly Cup, a second tier of first league competition after the Grand Challenge.
He served many sports and on many committees: he played golf, 1st league baseball for Sea Cardinals and became the vice-president of the WP Baseball Association, played tennis and was the president of the Fresnaye Tennis Club, president of the Fresnaye Sports Club, playing for the bowls section, and was vice-president of the Sea Point Camps Bay Swimming Club.
John Appleton (born: Cape Town, 18 October 1902; deceased: Cape Town, 12 September 1996)
There can be few men more faithful in their lifetimes than John Appleton. For over 70 years he was a member of Hamiltons and the Scout movement. He was not just a member, but a “boots-‘n-all” member, loyally committed to whatever body he belonged.
On 18 April 1921 John Appleton became a member of Hamiltons, proposed by Piet Bayly and seconded by Cecil Mellish. In 1924 he reached the heights of scrumhalf for the 2nd XV. After the World War II he coached the Under 19A team and in 1951 the 1st XV at a time when the Club was not finding it easy to get and keep coaches.
He was good with money and was devoted to the Club’s financial needs. He also served WPRFU well in this regard. In 1954 he became a member of the executive of WPRFU in 1954 when he and Danie Craven, who had been made an honorary Hamiltons member in 1952, were elected. Eventually he became the senior vice-president of the Union until he was deposed as senior vice-president of the WPRFU in 1971 by Jannie Krige of Stellenbosch.
John Appleton was elected a life member of the Union. Other Hamiltons members thus honoured have been Jack Heyneman (1904), Gerry Brand and Jan Pickard. Jack Heyneman was only the second life member of the Union. But John Appleton was really a Hamiltons man and is best remembered for his gentlemanly ardour for the Club’s wellbeing. In 1937 he was elected a life member of the Club. Few life members can have been so for so long! Oddly enough his wife Eileen was an ardent Villagers’ supporter; after all she was born in Mowbray!
Bo Wintle (born: Cape Town, 4 June 1911; deceased: Paarl, 3 March 1995)
James William Wintle, universally known as Bo, was one of the great personalities of Hamiltons and Western Province rugby. He played for and captained Hamiltons. A sturdy forward, Bo Wintle played for Western Province before World War II and captained the provincial team 1944.
In 1949 he was appointed the South African manager of the touring All Blacks, and he actually taught them to scrum at a time when their scrummaging was particularly poor. His wife, Blondie, who did so much work for Hamiltons, says that despite the fact that he coached and was fond of New Zealanders, he still ardently supported the Springboks against them.
Bo Wintle was an ardent Hamiltons man. He was manager and coach of the 1st XV and a Hamiltons selector, and both his sons, Dudley and Mike, were powerful Hamiltons forwards. Bo, Mike and Dudley all captained the Hamiltons Under 19 A team in their playing days.
The events of 1951 are strange indeed. There was much discussion at committee level that he was coaching Northerns 1st XV while a Hamiltons selector! Eventually the committee agreed that he could lend an occasional hand to Northerns and stay a Hamiltons selector! The very next week Hamiltons played Northerns. The teams drew 3-all. After that Bo Wintle resigned as match secretary and all executive positions at Hamiltons, preferring to coach Northerns. Japie (Jacob Jacobus) Verwey became match secretary. The committee next convened an urgent meeting to discuss an article on the matter in the Cape Argus (17 May 1951) with the headline: BO WINTLE BREAKS WITH HAMILTONS CLUB. He had been a member for 25 years and was a life member. The report said: “The unpleasantness arose out of the Club’s antiquated motto ‘Once a Hamilton always a Hamilton’.” The report was that Wintle had been “too tough” for Hamiltons in 1950. Understandably, he was reported to be “thoroughly fed up”.
In 1951 Don Duffett was captain of the Western Province touring team which included Paaitjie von Waltsleben and Hennie Laubscher. Jan Pickard had been chosen but had had to withdraw as he was leaving on the Springbok tour. In 1952 Duffett, Dorrington, HH Laubscher, W Richardson, Jan Pickard, P Britz and J von Waltsleben played for Western Province. Don Duffett was a great hooker.
Aunty Beryl was one of the most loyal supporters/members of Hamiltons. Her dog was even called Hamilton! When a member’s wife was due to have a baby she knitted furiously. She had great Hamiltons credentials, being the daughter of Willie Versfeld, and therefor the niece of Oupa, Hasie and Loftus. Her son Glen was an enthusiastic member of the 3rd reserve E team. She died in early 1960s.
Bull Bisogno (born: Cape Town, 1916; deceased 1978)
Bull Bisogno, great Hamiltons and Western Province prop, became a referee. The story goes that there was an occasion when a tipsy walker on his way home from the York Hotel walked straight across the field when Bull Bisogno, whose eyesight – even for a referee – was not good, was refereeing. The walker crossed the field just as a backline movement was taking place. The pass found the walker who caught the ball and passed it to the wing who scored. Bisogno awarded the try and the walker went on his uneven way.
Bull Bisogno played for Somerset West before moving to Hamiltons. He played 25 times for Western Province. He was also an accomplished life-saver and a keen mountaineer, and he was fun on the piano.
A member and a player at the turn of the 20th century, Richard Stanley Foster Lewis (Foster was his mother’s maiden name) had a walking stick in Hamiltons colours. He used to address annual general meeting after annual general meeting, exhorting the members to greater fitness. In 1950 he wrote a letter commending the 3rd XV on an excellent turn-out and performance. Then, suddenly, he resigned as a vice-president of the Club as he wanted to sever all connection with rugby football.
Stanley Lewis was an accountant who lived in Wynberg and died on 4 February 1951 in Groote Schuur Hospital at the age of 74 years and 9 months. At his funeral, the pallbearers were John Appleton, Piet Bayly, Arthur Fish and Bo Wintle.
Ivor Dorrington (born: Port Elizabeth, 25 June 1926; deceased: 29 November 1980)
Ivor Dorrington joined Hamiltons from Gardens in 1951. He attended the committee meeting which was to consider his application because he “had heard that certain objections were likely to be raised”. He was asked “several” questions by the committee and gave his explanation, after which he left the meeting and the committee discussed the matter. There was dissension among the committee members and the meeting was terminated, only to be reconvened half an hour later. The only vote against his membership was recorded by Japie Verwey.
Dorrington had been proposed by Puggy Craik and seconded by Bjorkie Björkman. He and Jan Pickard then joined the team on its tour to Port Elizabeth and Durban. They were not yet entitled to buy Club blazers but were allowed to borrow them for the tour.
Ivor Dorrington would be at the Club every day, practising with whatever team was practising at the time. He played for Western Province many times, a tough forward, regarded as too tough for the 1956 Springbok tour to New Zealand. He later played rugby league in England. Like his brother Rick he was an excellent golfer. He was also a first division cricketer, a tennis player, a wrestler and boxer, and a ballroom dancer.
VG Björkman (known by all as Bjorkie) played for Western Province in 1944. He was elected a life member on 28 February 1951. He was the moving spirit behind the erection of the clubhouse which was used for many social functions, including hobo dances, beetle drives, and film shows.
Francis George Moore was born in England on 16 September 1919 and came to South Africa when he was three. He played for Wanderers in Johannesburg and for Sale in England before moving to Cape Town where he became an ardent Hamiltons man and an executive member of the WPRFU. He lost his position on the executive in 1973 when Dr Porky Wells was elected in his place. The president of the Union, Hannes Pretorius, praised him for his “tremendous service”. He was a quantity surveyor and much involved in the building of Newlands rugby ground.
H Farmer Mellish
Cecil Mellish, who died in October 1951, was one of eight brothers, six of whom played senior rugby for Hamiltons. He joined the Club in 1912 as a halfback and after World War I played as a forward.
Captains: 1875-77 WYT Philip
1878-79 J Andrew
1880 A Greener
1881-82 WV Simkins
1883 CWP Douglas de Fenzi
1884-86 AH McLeod
1887 JA Gibbs
1888-89 CL van der Byl
1890-91 J Versfeld
1892-93 BR Duff
1894 M Versfeld
1895-97 HC Wood
1897-99 E Allen
1900-01 J Pritchard
1902-03 CB Brown
1903-05 L van Breda
1906 TEC Hobson
1907 CB Brown
1908-09 R Pritchard
1910 A Reid
1911 JD Luyt
1912-13 RR Luyt
1914 TM Moll
1915 RR Luyt
1916-18 DS Bam
1919 EA Botha
1920-25 PJ Bayly
1926 MW Humphrey
1927-28 BL Osler
1929 JC Tindall
1930 BL Osler
1931 JC Tindall
1932-39 GH Brand
1940-41 JW Wintle
1945 JW Wintle
1946-48 FCB Mellish
1949 RE Bisogno
1950 FG Moore
1951-53 D Duffett
1954 PJ Versfeld
1955-60 JAJ Pickard
1961 H Viljoen
1962 A Beyers
1963 M Wyness
1964-69 J Naudé
1970 D Lewis
1971-72 TEC Venables
1973 R Young
1974 C Hingston
1975 AC Parker
1976 G Ray
1977 AP Dreyer
1978 A Möhr
1979 M Russell
1980 D Claxton
1981 G Zondagh
1982 P Wessels
1983 J Tasker
1984 D Krugman
1985 B ffoulkes
1986 R Smith
1987 PJ Smit
1988 J Calitz
1989 C Marais
1990 E Coppin
1991 M van der Spuy
1992-94 F Derckson
1996 H Jordaan
1997-99 WA Swanepoel
2000 W Hickenbotham
2001 R Adams
2002 S Abderouf
2003 A Goddard
2004 C Van der Merwe
Life Members: 1875-1886 CWP Douglas de Fenzi
1887 RLO Versfeld
1889-1892 CL van der Byl
1895 BR Duff
1899 C Duff
1901 CL Andersson
1904 J Versfeld
1908 CJ Thompson
1909 JGD Heyneman
1912 N Duffett
1913 A Reid
1917 AR Burmeister
1921 JC Haswell
1922 E Allen
1924 DS Bam
1925 PJ Bayly
1929 WE Lawton
1933 CE Louw
1935 JLM Brown
1937 J Appleton
1942 GH Brand
1944 EH Cowling
1946 JW Wintle
1947 A Craik
1950 VG Björkman
1952 AF Fish
1953 Col. HJC Stephan
1954 HT Mellish
1955 FCB Mellish
1956 FG Moore
1958 V Pettit
1961 AW Klerck
1964 VH Thompson
1968 H Wyness
1971 LP Johnston
1975 JP Naudé
1976 C McCraw
1977 L O’Riordan
1978 M Silke
1992 BG Traviss
1994 BEM Whitmill
- GA Barends
1997 H (Jack) Frost
2004 C B P Prentice
Patrons: 1946- 1951 Major GB Van Zyl
1988 J (Jack) Appleton
2004 H (Jack) Frost
Vice Patrons: 1968 PJ (Piet) Bayly
Presidents: 1889-1913 WV Simkins
1914-1927 JG Heyneman
1927-1945 Maj. GB van Zyl
1946-1966 Col HJC Stephan
1967-1973 PJ Bayly
1973-1987 J Appleton
- FEA Robarts
1990- 2003 HJ Frost
2004- D G Kagan
In 1891 the first British touring team came to South Africa, referred to as the “English” team, though they were an Anglo-Scottish combination, captained by WE Maclagan, a Scot. They won all their matches with ease and had only a single point scored against them – a try by Hasie Versfeld of Hamiltons when he played for “Cape Clubs”, the very first match played on South African soil against a touring team. The Hamiltons members in that team were Ben Duff, John, Hasie and Marthinus Versfeld, and Bertie Heatlie, brother of the great Barry Heatlie. That year Ben Duff captained Western Province against the tourists and also played for South Africa, as a full back, against them. The Springboks are now numbered in order of selection. Ben Duff is Springbok Number 1.
The four Versfelds are worth a mention. Hasie and Oupa played for South Africa in 1891. John played for Western Province. RLO – Robert Loftus Owen Versfeld – known as Loftus, has remained the best known. He was present at the foundation of three rugby Unions – Western Province, Eastern Province and Transvaal. A Pretoria attorney, he was the moving spirit behind acquiring the land on which stands the ground that bears his name – Loftus Versveld in Pretoria. He also introduced kikuyu grass to the Transvaal, which changed rugby grounds from dirt tracks to grassed fields and, as a result, had a big influence in getting schools to change from soccer to rugby. Loftus Versfeld died watching Transvaal play at Ellis Park.
In 1891 three Hamiltons players played for South Africa – Ben Duff and Oupa Versfeld in all three tests and Hasie Versfeld in the third. Only five South Africans played in all three tests – Duff, Oupa Versfeld, Chubb Vigne, Alf Richards and Japie Louw. In 1896 big Paul Scott, a remarkably adventurous man, played in all four tests, including the wonderful fourth at Newlands when South Africa first wore green and won for the first time.
In 1896 nine Hamiltons players played for “Cape Town Clubs” against the British and four when Western Province drew 0-0 with them. On that day the tourists had gone to lunch with the Prime Minister of the Cape at Groote Schuur, before wandering off to Newlands for the match. At the lunch they had limited themselves to four tumblers of champagne – per man. The draw was the first time a South African team had not lost to a British team. The British team played Western Province – champagne-less – later in their tour and thrashed them 32-0, to this day Western Province’s worst defeat at the hands of a touring team.
South Africa first won a test series in 1903 when the first two tests were drawn and South Africa won the third at Newlands. Four Hamiltons players played in that series – Charles Brown, who played in all three matches, Tom Hobson, Jock Anderson and Oupa Reid.
Paul Roos’s team toured in 1907/08, the first team to be called “Springboks” – “Springbokken” as Paul Roos wanted them called in correct Dutch and to avoid any connection with jack-in-a-box. Arthur Burmeister was on that tour, playing against a team called “France”, but by no means a French national team. The Springboks won 55-6.
Cocky Hahn and Dick Luyt played against the 1910 British and Luyt was on the tour to the UK, Ireland and France in 1912-13, along with his brothers Fred and John and Wally Mills. That was a great tour; South Africa’s first grand slam of victories abroad, the first of four in succession.
After World War I, for the first time South Africa played a New Zealand team in South Africa – the Imperial Services team. This laid the foundation for the first South African tour to New Zealand in 1921, with the great Frank Mellish in the front row. Frank Mellish is the only player to have played international rugby for two countries in the same calendar year.
In 1928 two of the greatest Hamiltons Springboks were in action – Bennie Osler and Jackie Tindall who played in all four tests against the All Blacks in a drawn series. The great Gerry Brand made his debut in that series and a fourth Hamiltons player was also capped – SP van Wyk. Osler, then playing for Villagers, Brand and Tindall were on the 1931-32 tour to Britain and Ireland. Brand and Osler were in action in the five-test series against the Wallabies in 1933, and Gerry Brand was one of the tsars of the great 1937 Springboks who broke the deadlock and won a series against the All Blacks, the first team to win a series in New Zealand.
The Lions came to South Africa in 1938 and again Gerry Brand was there. Then came World War ii and a hiatus in rugby of all sorts. The next tour was in 1949 when the All Blacks came and Bull Bisogno and Don Duffet were in the Western Province front row. Duffet hooked for Western Province against the 1953 Wallabies. The Western Province team included two other Hamiltons men in the pack, the iron man Ivor Dorrington who was desperately unlucky not to make the 1956 team to New Zealand when men of iron will and bodies were needed, and Jan Pickard who had toured with the 1951-52 Springboks to Britain, Ireland and France, a great team managed by Frank Mellish. Pickard played in two tests against the Wallabies, missed out on rugby in 1955 when the thrilling Lions were in South Africa, toured Australia and New Zealand in 1956, and played against France in 1958.
Roy Dryburgh of Hamiltons was at fullback against the Lions in 1955 and in his debut test became only the second Springbok fullback to score a test try. That was at Newlands in the second test. In those days fullbacks rarely scored tries. Dryburgh then moved to Natal, toured in 1956 and captained the Springboks in two tests against the All Blacks in 1960, when Jan Pickard was still captaining Western Province.
Tours to and fro increased from 1960 onwards till isolation began to bite in the 1970s. Scotland were the first to refuse to tour South Africa because of the race problems in South Africa. The “demo” tours in 1969/70 to the UK and Ireland, in 1971 to Australia, and in 1981 to New Zealand and the USA were rare events and so unpleasant that they were not tried again. The Lions came in 1980 and England in 1984. For the rest Springbok rugby was confined to three series against the Jaguars, a South American concoction whose main ingredients were Pumas, the 1986 New Zealand Cavaliers and the World XV in 1989 for the centenary of the SARB.
Then came 1992 and the return of the Springboks to the world scene. The test drought was broken and replaced instead by a flood. In this period rugby football rushed willy-nilly towards professionalism, first de facto and then, from 1995 de iure. Hamiltons were not slow in attempting to attract stars to the Club, amongst them several Springboks:
Full name: Benjamin Robert Duff
Born: Swellendam, 16 October 1867
Deceased: Pretoria Hospital, 25 June 1943
Clubs: SA College, Hamiltons, Pretoria
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1891: 3 tests: SA vs British Isles
Ben Duff’s father came from Stirling in Scotland and worked in the Postal Department and he was one of six children. His home at Green Point was called Braemar.
Ben Duff was the first Western Province captain in the Currie Cup tournament. His brother Colin also played for Western Province and Rhodesia. Ben played cricket for Western Province and his brother for Rhodesia.
When the 1891 British team came on tour, Ben Duff played against them for Cape Town Clubs, Western Province, the Cape Colony (three times), and South Africa (three times), always on the losing side. Colin Duff played against the 1896 side for Cape Town Clubs and Western Province (twice). On the first occasion Western Province drew with the British Isles. Colin Duff was a three-quarter. Ben Duff was one of five players to play in all three tests in the 1891 series. The others were Chubb Vigne, Alf Richards, Oupa Versfeld, and Japie Louw.
Full name: Charles Versfeld
Born: Wynberg, 24 September 1866
Deceased: 17 de Lorentz Street, Cape Town, 6 January 1942
Province: Western Province
International career: 1891: 1st test: SA vs British Isles
Hasie scored the only points (a try) against the 1891 tourists. His brother Marthinus, called Oupa, also played for South Africa. Another brother, Robert Loftus Owen Versfeld, who died in 1932 while watching Transvaal play against Orange Free State at Ellis Park, has a rugby ground in Pretoria named after him. He was one of five brothers.
Full name: Paul Alexander Scott
Born: New Brunswick, 26 October 1872
Clubs: SA College, Hamiltons, Diggers
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1896: 4 tests
Schools: Diocesan College (Bishops), SACS
University: South African College (forerunner of the University of Cape Town)
Paul Scott, a tough forward, was a miner, transport rider, speculator and farmer. His father, Lt-Col John Scott, who was born in Inverness, Scotland, came to South Africa in 1878, with his wife and five children. He fought on the Frontier and in the Zulu Wars, served with the Prince Imperial and was a friend of the Empress Eugenie. He was a great competitive shot. His mother was the sister of Canon John Widdicombe of Bloemfontein.
He founded the Cape Town Highlanders in 1885, who were called out just over six months later for the Malay Riots in 1886. The regiment was also involved in the Bechuanaland Campaign of 1897 and in the Anglo-Boer War. When he first retired from the Highlanders, he was persuaded to stay on by Cecil John Rhodes. After he finally retired he became the proprietor of the Round House Estate which had formerly belonged to Lord Charles Somerset.
Paul Scott was awarded the Boer War Medal with five bars. He was a major in the Rifle Brigade in World War I, after starting the war as a private. He moved around – to the Transvaal, to Mashonaland, back to the Cape, back to Transvaal, up to Rhodesia, and on to Northern Rhodesia. In World War II he reported for duty with the RAF in England. He listed shooting, swimming and rowing as his hobbies.
Full name: Charles Barker Brown
Born: Kuruman, 29 January 1878
Deceased: Boksburg, 18 June 1944
Provinces: Western Province, Rhodesia
International career: 1903: 3 tests
Charlie Brown’s mother was a parson’s daughter and his father came out with the London Missionary Society. Charlie Brown fought with the Roberts Horse regiment during the Anglo-Boer War. He was a forward and only one of three players who played for South Africa in all three tests in 1903.
Full name: Thomas Edward Carter Hobson
Born: Somerset East, 26 March 1881
Deceased: At the house of CC Wayland, Lovedale Farm near Belmont in the Herbert District, 2 September 1937. He had lost an arm through blood poisoning; later he tripped over a dog in the passage at night, suffered a head injury and died.
Province: Western Province
International career: 1903: 1 test
William Carey Hobson, grandfather of Tom Hobson, was from Cottesbrooke in Northamptonshire and was an 1820 Settler. He was an early breeder of merino sheep. He married Susannah Bonnin, the daughter of Samuel and Ann Bonnin, also 1820 settlers who came out on the Aurora.
Samuel Hobson, father of Tom Hobson, first married a Miss Edwards, by whom he had nine children. She died, and he then married a Miss Carter who was born in India and whom he met on board ship on his way to a horseshow in Dublin. She then came out to South Africa and married him. They had five children. Samuel died young, having been flung from the back of a horse. Tom Hobson’s mother then worked as a postmistress to bring up the large family.
Tom Hobson was awarded the Croix de Guerre in World War I. He was 12th man for South Africa at cricket, founded a cricket club in Douglas, for which he played, still hitting sixes with only one arm.
Full name: Alexander Reid
Born: Klip River Farm, Swellendam, 23 November 1878
Deceased: Kensington Sanatorium, Johannesburg, 18 May 1952
Province: Western Province
International career: 1903: 1 test
Alec Reid’s great-grandfather, James Reid, a millwright, with his son Alexander, came from Perth in Scotland in 1817 with Benjamin Moodie, the miller, on the Brilliant. In 1840 his son, Alexander, started farming on the farm Klip River in the Swellendam district. Alexander’s third son was also named Alexander, the father of Alex and Bert Reid, both international rugby players.
Alec Reid worked for Barclay’s Bank in many places including Piet Retief and Vryburg. His brother Bert played for South Africa in 1906-07.
Alec Reid was a signatory to the amalgamation of the Hamilton and Sea Point clubs in 1909. He became a life member of the Hamilton-Sea Point RFC in 1913. In the same Hamiltons team with him were Baby Shum, Jock Anderson, Charlie Brown (who was on the committee but resigned half way through the season because he got married), Tommy Hobson and Arthur Burmeister, all of whom played for South Africa. Also in the team were J Dobbs (an Irishman), WG Mills and HC Flockhardt, all of whom played for Western Province. In those days they charged gate money to The Track for people who wanted to watch Hamiltons practise! Alex Reid was the first chairman of the Far East Rand Rugby Sub-Union.
Full name: John Winchester Anderson
Born: Cape Town, 31 December 1881
Deceased: Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 2 November 1953
Clubs: Hamiltons, Pirates
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1903: 1 test
Captain James Anderson was a seafaring man, whose ships ran to the Far East to bring tea and rice to the Cape. One of them, Africa Star, was wrecked off Cape Point. A friend of his was James Murison, Donald Currie’s agent in the Cape for the Castle Line. Murison was a man of great stature at the Cape, a member of the Legislative Assembly, whose house in the Gardens is now the Helmsley Hotel. Like many of the shipping people at the Cape, James Anderson was a Scot. He owned an estate, Alexander Place, near where Mouille Point Lighthouse now stands. The following inscription appeared on his tombstone: The storms of life are over and he is anchored on the eternal shore.
Jock Anderson was a mine-owner (Pilgrims Rest and Sabie), hotel owner (Winchester Mansions -which is named after him – on the beachfront in Sea Point), owner of a liquor business, and a hotel proprietor (Standard Hotel, Cape Town). He joined Hamiltons in 1901 and left in 1906 for the Transvaal. He joined Hamiltons again in 1913 when he returned to Cape Town. According to his grandson, Jock Sparks, he was asked to go on the 1906 tour, but his wife would not let him go. His wife’s family were gunsmiths. His daughter Edythe was the first lady member of the Pirates RFC in Johannesburg.
Full name: Johannes Augustus Botha
Born: Cape Town, 19 November 1879
Deceased: On his farm Vogelstruisfontein in the Standerton District on 8 December 1920. He is one of two Springboks killed by lightning.
Clubs: Hamiltons, Diggers
International career: 1903: 1 test
The story goes that Fairy Heatlie and two friends who were helping him to select the team for the decisive third test in 1903, Biddy Anderson and Percy Twentyman Jones, were having tea in the Café Royal in Cape Town when John Botha walked in. They said that he was the sort of big man needed for the forwards to play against the British. They asked him if he played rugby and on receiving an affirmative reply, they then chose him.
His father was the last of three generations of gunsmiths and dealers in Cape Town. The Bothas were the first private gunsmiths at the Cape. Eventually, in 1901, the British bought their stock and dumped it out at sea, lest it fall into Boer hands. Rawbone’s then took over the business which they eventually sold to Armscor in the 1960s.
John Botha was the youngest of eight children. His brother, Albertus Stegmann Botha, was a keen rugby player at Heidelberg in the Transvaal. His sister, Johanna Catharina Elizabeth Botha, married Loftus Versfeld. John Botha often accompanied them to matches. The family tradition is that a knee injury prevented his touring with the Springboks in 1906. He was a clarinettist in the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.
Full name: Arthur Richard Detlev Burmeister
Born: Cape Town, 1 May 1885
Deceased: The Monastery, Sea Point, Cape Town, 25 May 1952
Province: Western Province
International career: 1906-07 – 0 tests
Arthur (known as Burmie) Burmeister’s father started the first candle-making factory in South Africa. Burmie Burmeister was chosen to play for South Africa when Joubert declared himself unavailable, but after he broke a rib in the match against Somerset, he was replaced by Joubert. Burmeister played in six more matches on the tour after his injury. In Joubert’s first match on the tour he played on the wing, with Burmeister at fullback!
Burmie Burmeister played for Hamiltons from 1902 to1920. He was elected a life member in 1917 and was later honorary vice-president. He was a senior referee and his nephew, Ralph Burmeister, refereed at international level.
Full name: Frederick Pieter Luyt
Born: Ceres, 26 February 1885
Deceased: Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, 6 June 1965
Clubs: SA College, Stellenbosch, Hamiltons
Province: Western Province
International career: 1910-13: 7 tests
Lammetjie Luyt, a lawyer, who was also called Fred or Freddie, was Paddy Carolin’s partner in a legal practice in Moorreesburg. Carolin, who wrote a great deal about the game of rugby, claimed that Luyt was South Africa’s first specialist scrumhalf and the first man to use the dive pass. The dive pass was a method of getting the scrumhalf away from marauding loose forwards who by the laws of the day were able to follow the ball through the scrum or ruck.
Full name: Richard Robins Luyt
Born: Ceres, 16 April 1886
Deceased: 2 Trappes Street, Worcester (returning home to Port Elizabeth from a cricket test), 14 January 1967
Province: Western Province
International career: 1910-1913: 7 tests
Universities: Victoria College, SA College
Dick Luyt was a brother of Fred and John. They are the only three brothers in world rugby history to have played together in an international. He also captained Western Province at cricket.
His son, Richard, who played for Western Province and won a Blue at Oxford, was invited to Springbok trials, but his father did not tell him of the invitation so that he would continue his studies. Richard, the son, joined the British Colonial Civil Service, serving first in Northern Rhodesia and Kenya. During World War II he served in the King’s African Rifles and led the platoon which rescued Haile Selasse. After the war he was governor of British Guyana and knighted for his services. Sir Richard Luyt was elected vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town in 1968 and died in 1994.
Dick Luyt’s other son, Peter, played provincial rugby for Eastern Province, Orange Free State and Northern Transvaal.
Full name: John Douglas Luyt
Born: Ceres, 6 December 1884
Deceased: Johannesburg, 3 October 1964
Clubs: Stellenbosch, SA College, Hamiltons, Crusaders
Provinces: Western Province, Eastern Province
International career: 1912-13: 4 tests
The oldest of the Luyt brothers, John was first a back but became a forward because there was an abundance of backs at the SA College when he moved there from Victoria College. The three Luyt brothers played in three tests together on the 1912-13 tour – against Scotland, Wales and England.
Full name: Walter James Mills
Born: Durbanville, 16 June 1891
Deceased: Somerset West, 23 February 1975
Clubs: SA College, Hamiltons
Province: Western Province
International career: 910-13: 1 test
Wally Mills played for South Africa before he played for Western Province. He scored a try in the only test he played – the second international against the 1910 tourists. He was then inexplicably dropped for the third, but was selected for the 1912-13 tour to the UK, Ireland and France.
He was a cousin of Louis Louw and they played together in the same Springbok team. In World War I he fought first in German South West Africa (now Namibia) in the Royal Artillery. This was followed by a stint in the Indian Army, when persuaded to return to South Africa when his brother died in the great flu epidemic.
Later he managed a private estate and was chief judge of the SA Turf Club in succession to Vollie van der Bijl.
Full name: Carl Hugo Linsingen Hahn (his mother’s maiden name was von Linsingen)
Born: Paarl, 7 January 1886. According to the church register, he was born in Paarl, but according to a passport application, made in 1947, he was born in Karibib in South West Africa (now Namibia). His father, the Rev. Carl Hugo Hahn of the Lutheran Church, was in Paarl from 1883 to 1921. He was baptised in Paarl. On his wife’s passport application, a decade before his, his place of birth is given as Paarl.
Deceased: Grootfontein, Namibia, 27 September 1948
Clubs: Pirates, Hamiltons
International career: 1910: 3 tests
Hudie Hahn’s grandfather, Carl Hugo Hahn, was born near Riga in Livland in 1818. He went to Germany and joined the Rhenish Mission Society. After ordination he went to South West Africa to work amongst the Hereros, where he established himself with Chief Jonker Afrikaner in Windhoek in 1842. He was active in the field of linguistics. He left the Rhenish Mission Society’s service in 1873 and went to Paarl. He died in Cape Town on 24 November 1895.
His son, the Rev. Carl Hugo Hahn, was born at Reheboth in South West Africa in 1846. He was a minister in Cape Town and then at Paarl. He was educated in Germany, joined the Rhenish Mission Society, but left it and went to Cape Town in 1875, where he assisted his father. From 1883 to 1921 he ran a parish in Paarl. He died in Gordon’s Bay on 29 October 1933. His wife was of German extraction. They had ten children. His maternal grandfather, Baron von Linsingen, died in one of the Frontier Wars.
In World War I Hudie Hahn, who was also called Cocky, joined the Imperial Light Horse in which he held the rank of Major. From 1920 to 1926 he was the Native Commissioner in Ovamboland and in 1947 he served on the Public Services Commission in Windhoek. He was twice part of a Union of South Africa delegation to the United Nations. His wife was the daughter of the Anglican Bishop of Damaraland.
He was a fast wing three-quarter in his playing days and played in all three tests against Tommy Smyth’s 1910 British Isles tourists.
Full name: Tobias Mortimer Moll
Born: Woodstock, Cape Town, 20 July 1890
Deceased: On the Western Front on 14 or 15 July 1916. He died of wounds received when a 2nd lieutenant in the Leicestershire Regiment.
Clubs: SA College, Hamiltons, Randfontein
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1910: 1 test
CH Haig wrote to tell Toby Moll’s father, who was already dead, of the death of his son in action. His father was T.E. (Tobias Elias) Moll of Belgrave, Kimberley, manager of the Imperial Cold Storage Company. His mother was living with his sister (Helena Sophia Mellish) at Welbeloond, Potsdam. His father was born in Amsterdam but came to South Africa when “of tender years”. One of his mother’s sisters, Sarah Ellen Holdway, married CH Mortimer, hence Toby’s second name. A week before his father died his sister had also died. Their mother lost a husband and two children in a matter of two weeks.
His brother Henry also played for Western Province. Toby Moll played at forward in the second test against the 1910 tourists. He was playing for Transvaal at the time.
Full name: Ernest Hamilton Shum
Born: Estcourt, 17 August 1886
Deceased: At home in Welkom on 27 June 1952
Clubs: SA College, Hamiltons, Pirates
International career: 1912-13: 1 test
William Shum, his father, came to South Africa from Scotland to build the railway
line at the Point in Durban. The 2-mile stretch of line between the Point and Durban was opened on 26 June 1862. It was the first railway line in South Africa. Ernest Hamilton (known as Baby) was chosen as a forward for the 1012-13 tour to the UK, Ireland and France, playing in only the England test.
Tom van Vuuren
Full name: Thomas Frederik Janse van Vuuren
Born: Glen Lynden Farm, Adelaide on 9 July 1889
Deceased: Glen Craig Farm, Albany District on 7 July 1947
Clubs: Stellenbosch, Hamiltons, Albany, Somerset East
Province: Eastern Province
International career: 1912-13: 5 tests
Tom van Vuuren was the biggest rugby player of his day, standing 6 ft 4½ ins. He was also the heaviest member of the 1912-13 Springboks, weighing 208 lbs. He played in all five tests on the tour. He was first a teacher and then a farmer in the Albany District and was the president of Albany RFC in Grahamstown.
Full name: John Christopher Tindall
Born: Stellenbosch, 26 March 1900
Deceased: Robert’s Heights (now Voortrekkerhoogte) on 3 May 1946, of pneumonia and viral meningitis
Clubs: Villagers, Somerset West, Hamiltons
Province: Western Province
International career: 1921-28: 5 tests
Jackie Tindall’s father Henry played for Griqualand West, his uncle William for Transvaal Country against the 1891 British Isles team. In the same team were Loftus Versfeld, Chubb Vigne, and Christiaan Beyers who became a Boer general in the Anglo-Boer War. In World War I Jackie Tindall was in the Royal Flying Corps. During World War II he was in Craven’s Physical Training Battalion and then at the Garrison at Robert’s Heights (Voortrekkerhoogte).
He was a brilliant rugby player, whether at flyhalf or fullback. At fullback he was famous for his ability to scoop the ball from in front of dribbling forwards and kick to touch in one movement. He was the reason for Bennie Osler’s move from Hamiltons to Villagers as Jackie Tindall then wanted to play flyhalf.
Full name: Theunis Lodewicus Krüger (on his baptismal register his name and his father’s name is given as Teunis)
Born: Steynsburg, 17 June 1896
Deceased: Country Club, Waterkloof, Pretoria, on 6 July 1957. He had a heart attack while playing bowls.
Clubs: Pretoria, Hamiltons
Provinces: Transvaal, Western Province
International career: 1921-28: 8 tests
Theuns Krüger was one of the game’s first specialist hookers, but he was also remarkably fast about the field. He was an outstanding captain of Transvaal. His daughter Leonie married Ryk van Schoor.
Full name: Frank Whitmore Mellish
Born: Rondebosch, Cape Town, 26 March 1897
Deceased: Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, 21 August 1965
Clubs: Blackheath, Barbarians, Villagers, Hamiltons
Province: Western Province
International career: South Africa: 1921-24: 6 tests
England: 1920-21: 6 tests
Frank Mellish was one of 17 Mellishes who played rugby for Hamiltons. Uniquely he played international rugby for two countries in the same calendar year: he played rugby for England and then returned to take part in the trials to select the 1921 Springbok team and was chosen.
When Frank Mellish was chosen to tour New Zealand with the Springboks in 1921 he was given a Hamiltons scarf as a “token of esteem”. He had in fact just joined the Club, proposed by Piet Bayly and seconded by Cecil Mellish. He was elected to the Barbarians in 1920.
After his playing days came to an end he became a well-known administrator in the game. He was a national selector (1937 to 1962, convenor from 1953 to 1962). He was appointed manager of the 1951-52 Springbok team and regarded by Dr Danie Craven as the best manager ever. His grandson Peter played Craven Week rugby for Western Province.
Frank Mellish’s ashes were scattered on Newlands rugby ground – as were those of TB Herold, whose idea it was to buy the ground, H “Sausage” Versfeld, a life member, and Piet van Schaik a secretary of the Union from 1937 to 1961.
Full name: Benjamin Louwrens Osler
Born: Aliwal North, 23 November 1901
Deceased: Karl Bremer Hospital, Bellville, 28 April 1962
Clubs: UCT, Hamiltons, Villagers
Province: Western Province
International career: 1924-33: 17 tests
Benjamin Osler, a merchant of Falmouth in Cornwall, led a party of 1820 Settlers to South Africa on the Weymouth. They left Falmouth on 7 January, reached Table Bay on 26 April and Algoa Bay on 15 May. Benjamin and Jane had ten children. Benjamin Osler died in 1821, leaving his wife with a son Stephen and five daughters to look after. His descendant was Bennie Osler, whose grandfather, also Benjamin, was a magistrate in Riversdale. His six sons all played for Riversdale. Also on that voyage was the grandfather of Alf Richards who captained South Africa at rugby and cricket.
Bennie Osler’s uncle, Frank, played for Scotland in 1911 and his brother Stanley
for South Africa. Two cousins, TG and Duxie Osler, played for Western Province. His uncle Dr JJ Louwrens captained South Western Districts against the British tourists in 1910.
Bennie Osler scored 14 points against the All Blacks in the first test in Durban, a world record at that time. Against the Wallabies he reached 17 caps for South Africa, then another record.
After the successful tour of 1931-32 the nation was shocked when Osler was replaced as captain by Phil Nel. Nel believed that Osler was dropped because of the brand of rugby played on the tour of the UK and Ireland. He said: “That team of all the stars had not played the attractive type of rugby the selectors felt they should have done. They had been successful, yes, but they had made many enemies for the Union code by playing the game so closely and so safely with the accent on avoiding defeat. We had steamrollered our way to victory and our brilliant backs did not have a chance to show their paces often enough.” Others blamed it on the weather, as was the case on the 1960-61 tour.
After the trials at Newlands Bennie Osler went into the foyer of the Metropole Hotel in Cape Town and there saw the team on the notice-board, finding out for the first time that Philip Nel had been made captain in his place. Osler went straight to Nel to congratulate him and assure him of his support.
Full name: Bernard Andrew Addingbrooke Duffy
Born: East London, 17 November 1905
Deceased: Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth, 16 March 1958
Clubs: Hamiltons (East London and Cape Town)
International career: 1928: 1 test
Brooke Duffy played for Hamiltons in Cape Town and for the club of the same name in East London. His provincial début was against the 1924 Lions. He was badly injured in the first test against the 1928 All Blacks when he collided with Bert Greenside, the All Black wing. Stanley Osler was also injured, but the Springboks won 17-0. In the second test Neville Tod suffered the same fate.
Brooke Duffy also swam and played water polo for Border and was a good oarsman. He was president of the Border RU. His brother Aubrey played for Border, and his son Gavin for Eastern Province and Natal. His granddaughter married Jackie Tindall’s grandson.
SP van Wyk
Full name: Stefanus Petrus van Wyk
Born: Middelburg, Transvaal, 12 January 1901
Deceased: Strand, 22 January 1978
Clubs: Stellenbosch, University of Pretoria, Hamiltons
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1928: 2 tests: SA vs NZ
SP van Wyk, a forward, was a university lecturer and later a farmer.
Full name: Gerhard Hamilton Brand
Born: Cape Town, 8 October 1906
Deceased: Fish Hoek, 4 February 1996
Province: Western Province
International career: 1928-32: 16 tests
Gerry Brand’s father was an ardent Hamiltons man. Gerry was born the year Hamiltons won the Grand Challenge, hence his second name.
He was one of the legends of South African rugby, the fearless, fast fullback who never missed a tackle or an important kick at goal. His dropped goal against England at Twickenham on the 1931-32 tour is still regarded as one of the longest kicks of all time. On the 1937 tour to Australasia he was one of the team organisers – along with Phil Nel, Danie Craven, Boy Louw and Lucas Strachan. He was a national selector for a while.
He was a quiet man who would be at Western Province functions, always in his Hamiltons blazer, always quiet. Later a stroke robbed him of his speech entirely.
Full name: Murray Godfred Francis
Born: Bloemfontein, 26 August 1907
Deceased: 3 Lance Court, Bloemfontein, 2 August 1961
Clubs: Old Collegians, Gardens, Hamiltons, Ramblers
Province: Orange Free State
International career: 1931-32: No tests
Tiny Francis was first picked for Orange Free State at rugby and cricket in 1926. He was also picked for OFS at hockey in 1930, but could not play because of rugby commitments, though he later did play hockey for Orange Free State. On the 1931-32 tour he was understudy to the captain, Bennie Osler, a fellow Old Kingswoodian. As a result he did not play in any tests.
Tiny Francis played cricket for Western Province and was a good golfer. His wife was good at hockey and golf.
Full name: Frederick George Turner
Born: Port Elizabeth, 18 March 1914
Clubs: Crusaders, Pirates, Hamiltons, Military College, Union, Wanderers
Provinces: Eastern Province, Western Province, Transvaal, Northern Transvaal
International career: 1933-38: 11 tests
Freddie Turner played cricket for Eastern Province and Transvaal, and he swam and competed in athletics for Eastern Province. All four of his sons played hooker.
Full name: Jan Albertus Jacobus Pickard
Born: Paarl, 25 December 1927
Deceased: At home in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, on 30 May 1998, after a battle against Parkinson’s disease
Clubs: Stellenbosch, Hamiltons, Van der Stel
Province: Western Province
International career: 1951-58: 4 tests
Jan Pickard (known as Jan “Bull” Pickard) of Paarl was one of the great personalities of Western Province rugby, obviously one of the great men of Hamiltons. He caused a surprise when he left Stellenbosch to join Hamiltons at a time when it was not unknown for some Maties to spend their whole playing career as Maties.
When he was selected for the 1951-52 Springbok tour, he was given a Hamiltons blazer and a cheque. That year too the secretary of Hamiltons was instructed to write to him as his subs had not been paid!
He became a great, charismatic Western Province player and subsequently president during whose reign Newlands rugby ground was upgraded. During his tenure Western Province won the Currie Cup a record five times in successive years. He was on the executive committee of the SA Rugby Board and on the International Rugby Board.
He received the Order for Outstanding Service 1st Class: Gold, from the State President, PW Botha, on 7 June 1988.
Full name: Royden Gladstone Dryburgh
Born: Cape Town, 1 November 1929
Deceased: Durban, 10 May 2000
Clubs: Hamiltons, Berea Rovers
Provinces: Western Province, Natal
International career: 1955-60: 8 tests; captain in two tests
Roy Dryburgh was educated at Sea Point Boys’ High before finishing at Grey High in Port Elizabeth.
He was a remarkably athletic and skilful player – at home on the wing, at fullback and even in the centre – tall, fast, intelligent and skilled. He played for Western Province from 1949 to 1955. He then went to Natal and played for them from 1956 to 1960. In that year he was chosen as fullback and captain of South Africa for the first two tests against Wilson Whineray’s All Blacks.
In 1955 he became only the second Springbok fullback to score a try in a test – against the Lions at Newlands. (The previous Springbok fullback to score a test try had been Percy Allport – against the Lions in 1910, also at Newlands.)
Full name: Lionel Geoffrey Wilson
Born: Cape Town, 25 May 1933
Clubs: False Bay, Hamiltons, Villagers, Palmerston North HSOB, North Island
Province: Western Province
International career: 1960-65: 27 tests
Very much a Southern Suburbs boy, Lionel Wilson joined Hamiltons in 1951 and the next year played fullback for the 1st team. He later left to join Villagers where he is vice president. He was given the second name of Geoffrey after Geoff Gray and is at present chairman of The Grays, a club within Villagers.
Lionel Wilson came into the Springbok team against the All Blacks in Bloemfontein – to replace Roy Dryburgh who had been dropped. He went on to set a Springbok record number of 27 tests at fullback, subsequently surpassed by André Joubert.
Full name: Melville Richard Kenneth Wyness
Born: Colesberg, 23 January 1937
Province: Western Province
International career: 1962-63: 5 tests
As the son of Bert Wyness, it was unthinkable that Wang Wyness would have played for any other club.
He was a surprise choice at centre for the Springboks against the Lions in 1962, but had an excellent series, making the big tackle on Mike Weston, which set up a try for Keith Oxlee resulting in making the series safe for the Springboks.
His nickname? He inherited it at Marist Brothers’ College in Rondebosch from his brother Keith who became a Springbok angler. A retired builder Wang now lives at Onrus.
Full name: Jacobus Pieter Naudé
Born: Warrenton, 2 November 1936
Clubs: Randfontein, Hamiltons
Provinces: Transvaal, Western Province
International career: 1963‑68: 14 tests
Tiny Naudé, captain of Hamiltons in the 1960s, had his finest hour at Lancaster Park in 1965 in Christchurch, New Zealand, when Colin Meads was penalised with the score 16‑all in the third test. Tiny Naudé, big lock forward, placed the ball in the mud and drove it over the crossbar for a famous Springbok victory. After his playing days he was a provincial selector for a while.
Full name: Pieter Hendrik Botha
Born: Rustenburg District, 13 November 1935
Clubs: West Rand, Westfield, Hamiltons
Provinces: Transvaal, Western Province
International career: 1965: 2 tests
Piet Botha came to Western Province from the Transvaal in 1962 along with Tiny Naudé. They both joined Hamiltons. Botha played for Western Province that year. He then went back to the Transvaal for whom he played 93 times between 1957 and 1972. Like Naudé he was chosen for the 1965 Springbok tour to Australasia. In New Zealand he dislocated his shoulder in some horseplay at the start of the visit and was out for so long that he never regained proper fitness.
Full name: Robert James Louw
Born: Wynberg, 26 March 1955
Clubs: Stellenbosch, Defence, Hamiltons, Gardens-Technikon, L’Aquila (Italy), Wigan, UK (Rugby League)
Province: Western Province
International career: 1980-84: 19 tests
Rob Louw roamed the rugby world, ending his playing days with Wigan in rugby league whence he migrated after the cancellation of the 1985 All Black tour. In 1985 he played for Hamiltons.
He was one of the most charismatic Springboks of his time, gregarious and fun-loving. He enjoyed rugby which, as a loose forward, he played with great speed, courage and creativity. In 1996 and 1997 he coached Hamiltons.
Carel du Plessis
Full name: Carel Johan du Plessis
Born: Somerset East, 24 June 1960
Clubs: Stellenbosch, Defence, Merignac, Wanderers, Hamiltons
Provinces: Western Province, Transvaal
International career: 1981-89: 12 tests
Carel du Plessis’s stay at Hamiltons, like that of his brother Michael and several other players, was a short one at a time when rugby in South Africa was teetering on the brink of professionalism.
He played for South African schools at flyhalf, was first chosen for South Africa at centre and made his name as a wing – the “Prince of Wings”. He was one of the great Springbok wings, whose career would have been glorious had it not been circumscribed by isolation. He scored a try for an Overseas XV against a Five Nations XV at Twickenham in 1986, which was one of his greatest efforts.
He captained Western Province in 1988 when they shared the Currie Cup with Northern Transvaal. In 1997 he was the Springbok coach.
Michael du Plessis
Full name: Michael Josias du Plessis
Born: Somerset East, 4 November 1958
Clubs: Stellenbosch, Defence (Pretoria, Cape Town), Wanderers, Hamiltons, Police
Provinces: Western Province, Northern Transvaal, Transvaal, Eastern Province
International career: 1986-89: 8 tests
A rugby wanderer in rugby’s days of “shamteurism”, Michael du Plessis was also enormously talented, a player of huge influence, talent and creative ability. His grandfather played for Western Province, his father for Eastern Province, his brothers Wille and Carel for South Africa and his youngest brother Jacques for Western Province and Eastern Province. Carel, Willie and Michael played together in the Currie Cup Final of 1982.
Full name: Heinrich Theodor Fuls
Born: Hoopstad, 8 March 1971
Clubs: RAU, Crusader-Technikon, Northerns Tygerberg College (Parow), Hamiltons
Provinces: Transvaal, Eastern Province, Western Province, Border
International career: 1992-93: 8 tests
A big, strong centre, Heinrich Fuls was young when he became a Springbok and could well still be playing were it not for repeated injury. In 1995 he signed to play rugby league, but returned to the normal game soon afterwards. Injury forced his retirement. He now lives in East London where he runs a security company.
Full name: Keith Steven Andrews
Born: Molteno, 3 May 1962
Clubs: UCT, Villagers, Stade Aurillacois, Defence, Hamiltons
Province: Western Province
International career: 1992-94: 9 tests
Born in the foothills of the Drakensberg, Keith Andrews, like his cousin Mark, was educated at Selborne College in East London. He was essentially a Varsity (UCT) player, ending his career with them in 1998. In between he played for other clubs as well. His sojourn at Hamiltons was short. He was a flank at school, but switched to prop under Basil Bey at Varsity.
Full name: Paul Botha Rossouw
Born: Pretoria, 3 November 1969
Clubs: Potchefstroom University, Hamiltons, Correctional Services
Provinces: Western Transvaal, Western Province, Northern Transvaal, South Western Districts, Eastern Province
International career: 1992: no tests
Botha Rossouw, whose wife played netball for South Africa, went on the first post-isolation Springbok tour when still a young student at Potchefstroom University. He was one of the surprise choices for the tour, selected ahead of Francois Pienaar. He was injured on the tour and returned home before the English leg of the tour, replaced by FC Smit. In 1994 he moved to Northern Transvaal, came back to Cape Town and joined Hamiltons. He played in the Western Province trials, was injured and went back to Northern Transvaal. In 1997 he moved to South Western Districts and was in the team that beat Northern Transvaal at Loftus Versfeld.
Full name: George Nicolaas Wegner
Born: Nelspruit, 3 December 1968
Clubs: Stellenbosch, CA Villeneuve sur Lot, Parma, Hamiltons
Provinces: Western Province, Natal
International career: 1993: 4 tests
Tall and springy, Nico Wegner, who came to Stellenbosch from Nelspruit High School, seemed likely to solve South Africa’s line-out problems in a world which, then, forbade lifting in the line-out. Strangely for a man who played in four tests he struggled to get into provincial teams, except for Western Province in 1996.
Toks van der Linde
Full name: Albert van der Linde
Born: Senegal, 30 December 1969
Clubs: University of the Orange Free State, College Rovers, Hamiltons, Villagers
Provinces: Orange Free State, Natal, Western Province
International career: 1995-97: 6 tests
Big prop, Toks van der Linde played his 100th match for Western Province in July 2000. Before that he had played for Free State and then Natal. When he came to Western Province he played for Hamiltons until 2000 when he moved to Villagers. A big, friendly man, he is famous for his rendition of Figaro.
Full name: Ralph Douglas Burmeister
Born: Cape Town, 6 April 1918
Deceased: Cape Town, 27 September 1990
Province: Western Province
Refereeing career: South Africa vs New Zealand, 1949 (2 tests)
South Africa vs Australia, 1953 (1 test)
South Africa vs British Isles, 1955 (2 tests)
South Africa vs New Zealand, 1960 (2 tests)
South Africa vs Australia, 1961 (1 tests)
Ralph Burmeister (Fred’s son and Arthur’s nephew) was one of South Africa’s greatest referees. He refereed 8 tests, which was a vast number for those days, refereeing tests involving all the major touring teams in his day.
Known as Takkies, he was a great disciplinarian but one with a feel for the game. Without doubt the greatest test he refereed was the first between South Africa and the Lions at Ellis Park in 1955 when everything hinged on Jack van der Schyff’s conversion. The kick missed and the Lions won 22-21.
He was chairman of the Western Province Referees’ Society for 25 years after the end of World War II.