Beechwood Shamrocks celebrate 100 years participation in the Hastings League

They won the game but even more importantly they met up with some former players and mates.

The Beechwood Rugby League Football Club celebrated its 100th year of participation in the Hastings League with a weekend reunion.

Driven by a reunion committee, the three day event featured a dinner at the Wauchope RSL Club on Saturday night.

Almost 200 people attended the dinner with between 450 and 500 people flocking to the Beechwood sporting complex for the Saturday afternoon clash with the Comboyne Tigers.

Buoyed by the large crowd, the Shamrocks scored a stirring 40-4 win.

Reunion committee member Peter White praised everyone involved in the organising of the weekend.

"Specifically, Kevin Pampling and Joanne Witchard went way beyond what you would expect to get the weekend happening," he said.

"Both have businesses to operate but their involvement should be noted and acknowledged.

"They were both tireless in making this weekend happen and, to their credit, it went off without a hitch.

"It was just fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves," White said.

The Hastings League kicked off in 1920 with Beechwood one of the five formation teams.

White said the reunion committee had been trying to find out just where the Shamrocks fitted into the history books in terms of playing in one competition.

"We know that Yass also recently celebrated a 100 years of rugby league," he said.

There are not many sporting competitions around that can say they are 100 years old.

Peter White

"But there are not many sporting competitions around that can say they are 100 years old."

The Beechwood club was not merely sitting on the sidelines during its long service to rugby league either.

From the very early days of JL Suters, to Jimmy Monkley, Jim Suters, Kevin Pampling and Paul Jones, the club has provided senior representatives to the Hastings League committee.

During the 1940s and 50s, in particular, Beechwood was prominently part of the league's administration.

"Joanne Witchard is probably the latest in a long line of that support and hard work," White added.

Some 170 people attended Saturday night's dinner although some chose to remain talking football at the Beechwood Hotel.

Special guests at the dinner were Eric Carney and Mal Graham.

Both players enjoyed stellar careers both in Australia and overseas.

Graham played first grade in the tough Newcastle first grade competition, enjoyed a stint in Sydney before travelling overseas and captain coaching several sides in England.

He told the crowd on Saturday night that he estimates playing around 500 games throughout his career.

Carney coached Beechwood five times for three grand final wins, a runners-up medal and into a semi final.

While he did not play a lot of games for the Shamrocks, he represented North Coast from the Wauchope club on many occasions.

He was invited to trial in Sydney with Manly but homesickness saw him return before being able to establish himself.

White said some former players had told him over the weekend how proud they were to wear the Shamrocks jumper.

"It was mentioned over the weekend four or five times about the Beechwood spirit," he said.

"We were never flush with players, but we always looked upon ourselves as battlers who always battled to field a team.

"But we also won a few premierships along the way," he said.

Former players and partners attended the celebration from Adelaide, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour and the local region.

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