What a great week, it all started Friday 31st July when we welcomed our first players from the Phat Phux, plus Tony and Jan from Scone. A great night was had at Castaway with Platters, Pizza and Entertainment. Saturday saw the rest of the Aussie teams arrive and a good time was had by all at the NI Leagues Club, thanks to Kim, Jo and the band for a great night. Sunday our Kiwi friends arrived and it was quick registration and then off to Paradise for the Opening Ceremony, thanks to James and your fantastic team up there, the food was great and everyone enjoyed the witty Bart Murray and Chris “Budda” Handy who entertained us all. A special thanks to our island girls for welcoming everyone.
Monday the games began, the oval was picture perfect thanks to Geoff Griffiths and our team of many helpers. The food was ready; the bar was stacked and the players came down and warmed up. Louise was busy taping up the players and the ambulance was ready just in case. Norfolk Radio was at the ground doing live broadcast for everyone to hear. Our first games kicked off at 1.30pm with Sam Rugby playing The Buccaneers and on the other field Frank Stanton and his team from Coffs Harbour Gropers played the Marlborough Musseleers from New Zealand.
The weather was perfect and our second games kicked off at 3.00pm which saw the Bundaberg Rumruckers take on Phat Phux & Burleigh Bodgies and on the other field our own Creaky Ol Convicts played Bex & Wags. Due to low numbers of players in some teams we combined two teams. There was also a lot of players helping out playing for other teams that needed the numbers. Thank you to all the players for playing in the right spirit of the game. We would also like to especially thank Steve Robbo and Teddy our local referees and to all the referees from away, it was greatly appreciated.
Tuesday was a free day for visitors to enjoy our island and then we met at the Compound at Kingston for a traditional island fish fry which was enjoyed by all. Thank you to Pauline and your team for the food, Lully and our beautiful island dancers for the entertainment and the convict committee and Mia for our refreshments.
On Wednesday the heavens opened and the rain came down, we thank our food operators for staying and supporting our day and the players and supporters that turned up. Despite the weather games were played as planned. Our first game saw the Creaky Ol Convicts play Sam Rugby on Field 1 and Bundaberg Rumruckers played Marlborough Musseleers on Field 2. Once everyone was wet it didn’t really matter. There was some unusual dress codes with Flash Gordon and a man in a white bra and pink dressing gown on one field, I think the dressing gown would have been quite heavy by the end of the game as it got wetter and wetter. Our second games played at 3pm on Field 1 Coffs Harbour Gropers played The Buccaneers and on Field 2 Phat Phux & Burleigh Bodgies played Bex & Wags. Everyone was keen for a hot shower and then up to Castaway for Kareoke and Pizza.
Thursday was a free day and night for visitors to enjoy what Norfolk has to offer, some played golf, some went fishing, some just relaxed and enjoyed our restaurants for dinner.
On Friday the sun shone again, the feeling at Kingston Oval was great. The teams had socialised and enjoyed a great week of footy, adventure and relaxation. Norfolk Radio was once again at Kingston, this time out between the two fields. Our last games kicked off at 1.30pm seeing the Coffs Harbour Gropers play Bex & Wags and on Field 2 Buccaneers played Phat Phux & Burleigh Bodgies. For the last time our local team started with a nip of the usual traditional Convict Curse. Then the last games played at 3pm. Field 1 saw Sam Rugby take on the Marlborough Musseleers and on Field 2 the game of the week, Creaky ol Convicts took on our old friends the Bundaberg Rumruckers. Once again everyone was home to shower and get ready for the Closing Ceremony to be held at Rawson Hall. Thank you to Bart Murray for being our MC for the evening and kept the speeches to a minimum. We all enjoyed the meal and entertainment by Trent. We watched the boys shave their beards and raise over $3000 for The Sunshine Club and the winner of our major raffle was Maynard from the Rumruckers. Thanks to Fletcher-Christian Apartments who have supported all of our four Rugby on the Rock Festivals. We also had donations to St Johns Ambulance and Lenny Lympics. Thank you so much to everyone who donated money no matter how big or small.
Lastly on Saturday we farewelled our Aussie friends and the night was enjoyed as our final night at the NI Leagues Club where the Aussies kicked butt in the Bledisoe Cup, sorry to the Kiwi’s but this was great to watch. Sunday we sadly said farewell to our Kiwi friends and hope to see them all back in August 2017.
A special thanks goes out to the Creaky Ol Convict Committee for all your hard work over the last two years to get this festival organised and also to Burnt Pine Travel who this year organised and managed our non-playing events.