Ranfurly Shield

Mid Canterbury’s involvement with the famed “Log o’ Wood”

Over the years Mid Canterbury have challenged for the Shield on thirteen occasions and although unsuccessful to date they did come perilously close to claiming New Zealand’s biggest rugby prize in 1938. Until 1927 rugby in Mid Canterbury was played under the auspices of the Ashburton County Sub Union. The Sub Union was affiliated to the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, apart from one year when it was affiliated to the South Canterbury RFU.

In 1927 the Sub Union became a fully-fledged Union in it’s own right and under the rules of the Ranfurly Shield was able to lodge challenges for the famous “log o’ wood”.

However it was not until 1933 that the first challenge was accepted and it was an enterprising young group of rugby players that headed for Christchurch to challenge the might of Canterbury.

Here we Highlight the first challenge …

– 1933

Other challenges can be viewed by clicking the year of challenge below .

1938 1939 1956 1958 – 1970 – 1973 – 1983 1985 1989 1995 2002 2014

1933 -> 2014Played 13 ; Lost 13 ; Pts for 92 ; Pts Against 494

Ranfurly Shield Challenge #1
August 2 1933. Lancaster Park Oval, Christchurch. Crowd 6,000.

1933_shield31 CANTERBURY (N.A. Dunshea 3, C.J. Oliver 2, J. Hattersley 2 and K.S. Mortlock tries. R. Hazelhurst penalty goal, N.A. Dunshea 2 conversions)
07 ASHBURTON COUNTY (A. Bradford dropped goal {counted as 4 points}, I.L. Behmes penalty goal)

Referee : Mr C.G. Crawford (Canterbury)

Canterbury : (Backs) G.T. Nolan, J. Hattersley, C.J. Oliver, N.A. Dunshea, K.S. Mortlock, R. Hazelhurst, G.F. Stevens. (Forwards) A.I. Cottrell Capt., J. Wade, A. Bowes, A.H. Andrews, D.M. Hartnell, G.J. Howell, J .E. Manchester and R.K. King.

Ashburton County : (Backs) I. Behrnes (Rakaia), G. Stephen (Methven), D. Tainui (Mayfield), G. Robilliard (Old Boys), A. Bradford (Old Boys), F. Pohill (Mayfield), L. Murdoch (Mayfield), (Forwards) G. Dalton Capt. (Methven), B. Doig (Rakaia), K. Doig (Rakaia), C. Thomas (Allenton), O. Whiting (Mayfield), J. Mulhem (Mayfield), E. Burgess (Mayfield), A. Doig (Rakaia).

“Ashburton were hard and willing but the side lacked the finesse which is necessary to win Shield games, and the backs could not cope with their faster and more expert opponents. Ashburton scored first and held the lead till the middle of the first spell, but as soon as the Canterbury backs established combination the Ashburton men were run to a standstill. The score was 13-7 at half time. The Ashburton forwards fought hard all the way though they had every excuse to ease off. Whiting was prominent many times in the loose and the Doigs, Dalton and Thomas did a lot of good work.

Captain A.I. Cottrell paid tribute to the Ashburton forwards, stating that they had played a clean hard and enjoyable game. The day marked Canterbury’s first defence of the Shield and Mr Cottrell recalled that it was an ex Ashburton player, Mr Gordon Day, who had scored the try that won the Shield for Canterbury against Wellington.”

As the ‘Guardian’ reported “Despite it’s defeat the Ashburton team acquitted itself well considering it was it’s first match against a full representative Canterbury team and it’s first attempt to gain the Shield. Indeed it has not been long since a fully-fledged Union had been formed in Ashburton to supercede the old Sub Union. Ashburton is the smallest major rugby football Union in New Zealand and the number of players from which to choose a representative team is comparatively small.”


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