We hope you enjoy this look back as we look forward to many more years of recording the history of Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union.We acknowledge all the information from the NZ “Rugby Almanack”Series from the season’s 1934 through to 2015 and appreciate their hard and dedicated work in providing this detailed history. Web Admin

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Founded 1886 – Affiliated 1893 – Amalgamated 1971
(Originated, 1971)
Mr I.A.Aitkenhead – Mr J.H.Lawson
Main ground:
Memorial Park , Masterton
Green, with Scarlet collar

Generally the newly-combined Union enjoyed a reasonably successful season, being victorious in six of its ten fixtures including in the win section the defeat of Manawatu in a Bruce Steel Cup challenge. Out of character was the severe defeat at Wellington, this especially after the well-contested match with the capital city’s elect in the season’s opening game, and the fine showing put up against British Isles, although the “Lions” did finish the contest with a substantial lead. Sound scrummaging and line-out work gave the backs ample ball, whilst overall the team had speed and thrust in the open play.

The captain was the former Lincoln College and New Zealand Universities player, Karatau, whose experience behind the scrummage was most useful. Couch was reliable at first five-eighth, his performances in the early games pleasing, whilst Carroll, who had represented Manawatu in 1968 and came into the side for the final matches, and Sanson, were of good standard. A new representative, 18-year old Purvis, showed ability and promise at second five-eighth. Martin, who had played for Canterbury the previous season, was a Constructive centre. Barnes ran with determination, but generally the side was weak in the wing-three quarter positions, though 19-year old newcomer, Dick, showed promise. Marfell was an enterprising and capable full-back, and with three tries, as well as 63 points from his boot, supplied more than half Wairarapa-Bush’s total points.

The retirement of Lochore was obviously a severe loss, emphasized by his display on his sole appearance when he was persuaded to return for the match with the “Lions”. The Union ‘possessed two outstanding loose forwards, both worthy of further notice, in Gray and Ryan. A most intelligent forward, Gray possesses pace and initiative. Ryan has speed and tirelessly chases the ball, whilst his tackling is first-rate. Brock was a sound No.8, and Turley and Oliver, the locks, excelled in the line-out. Turley was not always free of injury. In the front row, Rowlands and Crawley were good all-round forwards, with Falconer the competent hooker.

Altogether, 29 players represented Wairarapa-Bush, of whom only four were in their first season. Fourteen had represented Wairarapa the previous season and three had fielded for Bush; one other played for the Wairarapa-Bush combination. Of the remainder, Ryan had represented Bush in 1969, Couch and Wilkinson had appeared with Wairarapa in 1968, and Howard had previously represented Bush in 1967 and Mid-Canterbury in 1968. Gray and Turley appeared in the North Island trials, and Rowlands played in the Prince of Wales Cup match. Lochore represented New Zealand in the third Test.

Played, 10; Won, 6; Lost, 4
Points: For, 141 ; Against, 176

1. May 26, v. WELLINGTON, at Memorial Park. Masterton
Lost 22 to 29
Scorers: G.N.Gray, W.N.Rowlands and V.D.Marfell, tries
L.H.Karatau, dropped goal; V.D.Marfell, 2 penalty goals and 2 conversions
Referee: Mr.B.G.Whale (Wairarapa-Bush)
2. June 7, v. HAWKE’S BAY, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Won 17 to 8
Scorers: V.D.Marfell. L.H.Karatau and W.N.Rowlands, tries
V.D.Marfell, 2 penalty goals and conversion
Referee: Mr.N.R.Johnson (Wairarapa-Bush)
3. July 7, v. HOROWHENUA, at Rugby Park. Pahiatua.
Won 19 to 9
Scorers: N.A.Purvis and G.N.Gray, tries
V.D.Marfell (2) and M.R.Sanson, penalty goals; V.D.Marfell, 2 conversions.
Referee: Mr.Noel Scott (Wairarapa-Bush)
4. July 14, v. BRITISH ISLES, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Lost 6 to 27
Scorers: R.T.Couch, try
V.D.Marfell, penalty goal
Referee: Mr.R.D.Macey (Nelson-Bays)
5. July 29, v. NELSON-BAYS, at Memorial Park, Masterton
Won 27 to 17
Scorers: W.C.Howard, G.R.Dick, E.W.Thompsonand G.N.Gray, tries
V.D.Marfell, 3 penalty goals and 3 conversions
Referee: Mr.B.G.Farquharson (Wairarapa-Bush)
6. August 7, v. KING COUNTRY, at Rugby Park, Pahiatua
Lost 5 to 9
Scorer: V.D.Marfell, try and conversion
Referee: Mr.R.C.Francis (Wairarapa-Bush)
7. August 14, v. MARLBOROUGH, at Blenheim
Won 10 to 9
Scorers: G.N.Gray and R.T.Couch, tries
V.D.Marfell, 2 conversions
8. August 28, v. WANGANUI, at Wanganui
Won 8 to 5
Scorers: G.N.Gray and N.A.Purvis, tries
V. D. Marfell, conversion
9. September 4, v. MANAWATU (Bruce Steel Cup), at Palmerston North
Won 21 to 11
Scorers: G.N.Gray (2), P.J.Ryan,N.A.Purvis and L.H.Karatau, tries
V.D.Marfell, 3 conversions
10. September 11, v. WELLINGTON, at Wellington
Lost 6 to 52
Scorers: J.J.Carroll, dropped goal; V. D. Marfell, penalty goal

After Wanganui had held the above trophy throughout 1970, Manawatu won it back in the first contest of the season, but after a big win at Levin was defeated by Wairarapa-Bush. The newly-originated combined side thus became the third of the contracting Unions to hold this Memorial Cup.

The 1971 series resulted:
Manawatu 20 v 18 Wanganui , At Wanganui
Manawatu 35 v 12 Horowhenua , At Levin
Wairarapa-Bush 21 v 11 Manawatu , At Palmerston North

Wairarapa Bush REPRESENTATIVES 1971 {Total Games}
V.D.Marfell Masterton 10
Michael Barnes Woodville 7
K.E.O’Shea Featherston 4
W.C.Howard Konini 2
E.W.Thompson Masterton Marist 1
G.R.Dick Masterton 5
T.W.Wilkinson Carterton 3
B.G.Martin Masterton 6
R.K.Stevenson Tiraumea 1
N.A.Purvis Masterton 10
R.T.Couch Featherston 6
M.R.Sanson Masterton 6
R.F.Sommerville Red Star 2
J.J.Carroll Featherston 3
G.E.Hamilton Red Star 1
L.H.Karatau Masterton 10
R.R.Brock Red Star 9
P.J.Ryan Pahiatua 10
G.N.Gray Red Star 10
D.P.Oliver Konini 10
I.F.Turley Red Star 6
W.N.Rowlands Red Star 10
G.E.Falconer Carterton 9
B.S.Wolland Konini 3
W.J.Crawley Carterton 8
A.R.Duffy Masterton 1
B.J.Lochore Masterton 1
G.K.McGlashan Red Star 2
J.W.Dalziell East Coast 4