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Summer News 2009

Penguins | Monday 1st June 2009 0:00am

We are pleased to enclose the Golden Jubilee Fixture Card 2008 - 2009.

It is a very great pleasure to recount the principal events which earmarked our Golden Jubilee.

50th Anniversary & Grand Reunion Dinner at the Dorchester
During the last weekend in May, the Dinner marking our 50th anniversary was again held at the Dorchester. 36 hours later, we had the honour of playing at Twickenham for the fourth time in the Club's history.

The Dorchester was packed with guests from all over the world. The tables were hosted by committee members or Vice Presidents. The Club's guests included the High Commissioner for New Zealand, His Excellency Mr. Derek Leask, the High Commissioner for Fiji, His Excellency Mr. Pio Bosco Tioisuva, Group Captain Peter Norford, representing the High Commissioner for Australia, Brian Williams (President of the RFU), Robert Horner (P. President, RFU), Ed Crozier (Scottish RU), John Hussey (Irish RFU and Chairman of the Celtic League), David Pickering (Chairman, Welsh RU and Chairman of the Six Nations Committee), and YBhg Dato' Krishnan Tan Boon Seng (President, Combined Old Boys Rugby Association, Malaysia).

It was a particular pleasure for the Club to welcome the chairman and directors from HSBC - Stephen Green (Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc), Michael Geoghegan CBE (Group Chief Executive, HSBC Bank plc), Sandy Flockhart CBE (Chief Chief Executive, The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd) and Richard Bennett (PIRFC Patron, Group General Manager, Legal & Compliance, HSBC Holdings plc).

The principal speakers were Peter Sutherland KCMG, a Patron of the Club (University College, Dublin/Lansdowne/Wolfhounds); Dudley Wood CBE, past Secretary, RFU (Streatham-Croydon/Oxford University/Bedford); and Willie John McBride (Ballymena/Ireland/British and Irish Lions/captain, HSBC Lions Legends XV). The speeches were outstanding and the evening was considered an unqualified success.

Craig Brown spoke under the title 'Have Boots Will Travel' and showed a Coaching Academy film sponsored by HSBC. Alan Wright provided memories of the foundation of the Club and its early history.

Anniversaries Match - Twickenham
36 hours after our Jubilee Dinner we were greatly honoured to be playing The Commons & Lords RUFC at Twickenham to celebrate their 25th anniversary and our 50th - our first match under Golden Oldies rules. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the match was a very happy occasion, played in the true spirit of rugby. The minimum age for this game was 35 and our large squad was honoured to include Jim Stevenson, President of the Scottish Rugby Union; Brian Stevenson, President of the Hong Kong Rugby Union; and former internationals Hamish Keith (Scotland), Arwel Thomas (Wales) and Tony Neary (England). The players and their friends were generously entertained afterwards by the RFU and presentations were made. Our thanks must go to Derek Wyatt MP (Bath/Oxford University/England), a Penguin committee member, for arranging this fixture, and to David Harris (Watsonians) for his excellent management and organisation of our squad. Derek Wyatt played for both teams!

All in all, this May weekend was a memory to treasure for all those who took part.

In November 2008 we had an excellent run in the HSBC-COBRA International Tens in Kuala Lumpur, the outstanding success in the quarter final being the defeat of Canterbury, the favourites to win the Cup, 7:5. Unfortunately we lost the semi-final, two tries to one, to North Harbour. These leading New Zealand teams epitomise the very high standard of play in this great Tens competition.

A week later we won the Eighth Borneo COBRA Invitational Tens in Sandakan, defeating COBRA, who the week before were the winners of the HSBC-COBRA International Tens, in the semi final.

This year, having been finalists in 2007 and 2008, we continued our very good record in the Hong Kong Tens 2009 by being winners of the Plate. Details of this will appear on the website and in our Fixture Card for 2009 - 2010.

Once again we shall be playing in the HSBC-COBRA International Tens Tournament in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend of November 14th and 15th.

Apart from our match at Twickenham, our annual fixture versus Cambridge University was "frozen off", and the accolades must go to Oxford University who, for the first time, succeeded in defeating us two years in succession under the skilful guidance of Steve Hill.

We are pleased and honoured to announce that we have accepted an invitation to play Bristol University Past & Present to celebrate their centenary. Date and venue to be advised.

In 2010, our fixtures against the Varsities will be - Wednesday 3 February v Cambridge (Grange Road - ko 19.15 hrs) and Tuesday 2 March v Oxford (Iffley Road - ko 19.15hrs).


The success and popularity of the Academy is attracting much favourable media attention. Craig Brown has ably directed all its programmes which included sessions in Ireland, Hong Kong and, in particular, many cities in South Africa in conjunction with the British and Irish Lions, HSBC and the South Africa Rugby Union.

We were honoured to be appointed by the HSBC Asian Five Nations committee to undertake programmes in China, Jordan, Macau, Mongolia and Malaysia on their behalf, and are pleased to confirm that the Academy will once again be providing an extensive coaching programme for schools in Dubai during the Sevens in December this year. It will also be conducting programmes in Malaysia and Singapore this autumn.

The Penguin International Rugby Football Trust, a registered charity, will be dispatching a Newsletter which will provide the details in regard to the foregoing.


Following the success of Twickenham this year, and as a result of the enthusiasm of John Zimnoch and David Harris, the Club has resolved to form a Golden Oldies division with these two gentlemen as the principal officers and administrators. There is the prospect of Penguins playing an Australian Parliament team in Australia in 2010. All members who are over 35 and interested in playing should communicate direct with John or David at:

John Zimnoch
131 Colin Avenue
Toronto M5P 2C4
Ontario
CANADA
Tel: 00 1 416 486 5588
zimnoch@re-max.com

David Harris
25 Lockharton Gardens
EDINBURGH
EH14 1AU
Tel(W): 01506 862 502
Mobile: 07966 927 688
david_harris@broxburnbottlers.co.uk

On the subject of Golden Oldies playing laws, a former New Zealand sports writer once wrote "The Golden Oldies Experience begins when you accept that you're at far greater risk from what you may do to yourself and have done to you socially than anything which may happen to you on the field."


All Penguin members are automatically members of this old Golfing Society which has the benefit of playing at two of the UK's leading golf clubs - namely, The Berkshire in Ascot, and Bruntsfield Links in the centre of Edinburgh. Details can be found in the fixture card and we do urge members to consider taking part actively in at least one of these very pleasant days.


This year Paul Selway-Swift announced his retirement. I am sure all members will wish to join the committee in extending our thanks to him for his considerable and wholehearted support of the Club, and wish him well in the future. The committee would like to congratulate Tony Hanks on being appointed director of rugby at London Wasps. We were delighted that John Breen (Baravi Exiles) and John McKittrick (North Harbour) made the long journey from the Antipodes to be present at the Dinner. John Zimnoch travelled from Canada, and both he and John McKittrick played at Twickenham. We are pleased to announce that Paul Heber (Old Reigatian/Dorking/Chichester) has joined the committee as Hon. Membership Secretary. In future Paul will be dispatching this Newsletter, together with the annual fixture card and subscription letter. The Executive Committee is delighted that Craig Brown has accepted the appointment of CEO of the Club.

Finally, I would like to thank our committee for the sterling efforts they have made during the last year to advance the Club's interests.


Dick Tyson has commenced work in conjunction with the writer, and once again they would be very pleased to receive photographs, anecdotes, etc., which might assist in the compilation of this book. The target for publication is Christmas 2010.


Your continued financial support is very much appreciated. As you know, the Penguins are generously supported by HSBC. Nevertheless, we continue to rely heavily upon our members' contributions to cover our extensive playing and coaching plans.

Enclosed herewith is the Annual Subscription letter we wish you to send to the Hon. Treasurer with an appropriate cheque. If you have paid this year, please ignore this request - however, your email address would be welcomed.


We would like to congratulate HSBC on their sponsorship of the Asian Five Nations tournament. We were, of course, very pleased and honoured to accept an invitation to carry out an extensive coaching programme this year in South Africa in conjunction with HSBC - Principal Partner of the British and Lions tour, and I am sure all members will join with me in expressing our thanks to HSBC and its directors for their continued support, interest and sponsorship of this Club.


Alan Wright
Editor


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