Life membership for long service

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Matakanui Combined Rugby Club’s latest life members Colin Naylor and Neville Armstrong have been involved with the club since Matakanui Valley and Becks joined forces in 1991.
They both started as players and committee members, Naylor from the Becks senior team and Armstrong from the Matakanui Valley team.
Naylor said he was one of the instigating members of the amalgamation and started on the committee the same year.
Armstrong was the same. After playing for the Matakanui Valley team for the previous five years, he joined the Matakanui Combined committee in 1991.
Naylor’s playing career spanned almost 15 years, from 1986 to 1990, with the Becks club and from 1991 to 2000 with Matakanui Combined.
He then traded hats and managed the bar from 2001-07.
He was president of the club from 2004-07.
Naylor said the club president was supposed to hold the role for two years, but in his term, his supposed successor somehow passed the buck, so he ended up with a second term.
He now organises the club’s grants, which he has done for the past 10 years.
The biggest project he had been involved in was the new lights at the grounds in Omakau, which were installed in 2006, at a cost of $85,000.
‘‘It’s the biggest lot of funding that we’ve done. Tony Herbert and I did that one together,’’ Naylor said.
The life membership of the club had come out of the blue, he said.
His involvement with the club has spanned 25 years but it had all been worth it for the friendships he had made, he said.
Armstrong’s senior playing career also started in 1986, when he and Naylor were rivals on the paddock, as he played for Matakanui Valley.
He continued to play through the amalgamation, and spent eight years as captain of the Matakanui Valley and then Matakanui Combined teams.
Armstrong hung up his boots in 1999, until the following year where he had to blow off the dust and lace up when the team was short and he ended up having to play a couple of games.
He coached the team that year and again in 2001 and took on the president’s role until 2002.
Armstrong said he then decided to take a step back before he took on the club secretary role in 2010 and only stood down two years ago.
All the while, since the amalgamation in 1991, he has been on the committee.
In the later years he has always got a kick out of watching the younger generations on the field and seeing them progress and develop as players, he said.
To be awarded a life membership was overwhelming and meant the world to Armstrong.
‘‘It was a big surprise. I had no clue.
‘‘I’m quite humbled to be a part of a club with such a long history.’’
He always got a kick out of watching the younger generations on the field and seeing them progress and develop as players, he said.
Like Naylor, the friendships he had made within the club had been one of the greatest moments of the past 25 years, he said.
‘‘I couldn’t have done it with out the help of Janette [my wife].’’
As for the future, they would keep on doing what they were doing to help the Matakanui Combined club, they said.