The Drummoyne Vintage Reds was spawned in 1973 by a group of Dirty Reds players from the late 50’s and 60’s who had completed their grade carers. This group had continued their Dirty Reds association by meeting at the Drummoyne Rugby Club on Victoria Rd on Thursdays, some to jog and others to socialise, and it was agreed that most were still capable of taking the field for a game of “Social Rugby” and enjoying the after match festivities.
It was agreed at the inaugural meeting on 13th Sept 1973, to form a team for this purpose and the “Vintage Reds” was an obvious and unanimous choice of name. The qualifications for membership were to be over 30yrs and to have been an ex player or official.
Prolonged discussion was held over the choice of motif for the jumper. The original was XV/XXX in Roman numerals representing 15 players over 30. This was subsequently changed after more discussion to the styled glass of red wine to complete the analogy with the Vintage Reds name.
A Tradition of having a drink waiter serve a small glass or wine (or Port) to both sides was also established and has continued.
The first game was on the outer ground at Taplin Park, on 9th June 1974 against the Sydney “POMES” which the VR’s won in a tight encounter 7 – 4. Subsequent games were arranged and averaged 4 –6 per season. At one stage, most Sydney 1st division clubs had a Social Sunday team. The first touring VR party was to Melbourne in August 1975 with a 16 all draw against the Melbourne “POMES”. The Vintage Reds were well positioned when the official International Golden Oldies tournament came to Sydney in 1983. The VR’s numbers were boosted by former retired Dirty Reds for the event, including a former Wallaby.
The International Golden Oldie movement created the incentive to keep the VR’s active. Large VR’s contingents travelled to the International. Golden Oldies tournaments in London in 1985 and to Toronto in 1987. Although a VR’s team has not competed at International. Golden Oldies tournaments since then, individual VR’s have played at most of the International Golden Oldies tournaments and no matter what team they play with, the traditional hooped Dirty Red hose is displayed on the field.
It would be possible to fill a book with the recollections and achievements of each game that the VR’s have participated in. However these stories are probably best left unprinted and passed on by word of mouth, as the printed word does not accommodate the continuation of the appropriate and expected embellishments.
IAN GROSE….February 2001 (and as per “Men in Scarlet” – The History of the Balmain, Gelebe and Drummoyne Rugby Clubs. JG Mulford 2001)
After a period of approximately 12 years where the Vintage Reds did not play, Ken Stevenson when serving in the Navy and working alongside and playing Navy Golden Oldies with the Secretary of Mosman RC, Afton Hema, got together and arranged a game and the Vintage Reds hit the field again. Ken and Afton arranged for the Vintage Reds and the Mosman Wales to play at Drummoyne in 2003 and the Vintage Reds the were back on the field.
The Vintage Reds then played annually against Mosman for a few years prior to Afton passing away prematurely and then both clubs played for the “Afton Hema Cup” for a couple of seasons. When regular Vintage Red Allan Waddington passed away also prematurely, the trophy was renamed the “Afton Hema/AlanWaddington Cup” which both teams played for a few times. Unfortunately these games are no longer played.
However since that time the Vintage Reds led by Dr David Todd have entered the World Golden Oldies tournaments in Sydney in 2010 and travelled to Fukuoka Japan in 2012 and Mar Del Plata in Argentina in 2014. In both Fukuoka and Mar Del Plata the touring party has consisted of 40 people and plans are well under way to take another group of Vintage Reds to tour to Cardiff in Wales in August 2016 for the 21st biannual World Golden Oldies tournament.
The Vintage Reds have met every year since 1973 for catch up drinks and lunch at Christmas and this much loved and very important tradition continues.