Benoni Northerns Sports Club welcomes rugby sub-section

Marius Theunissen (vice-chairman of Benoni Rugby Club, left), Craig Wittstock (Benoni Northerns Sports Club overall chairman) and Lourens Smit (chairman of Benoni Rugby Club) are excited to get going as a new sub-section of Northerns, Benoni Northerns Rugby Club.

Benoni Rugby Club, founded in 1910, will now call Northern Areas their home after an agreement was reached between the two parties to become a sub-section of the overall club.

The club, consisting of two senior teams, a Golden Oldies side and the junior club (Benoni Grizzlies), will now be known as Benoni Northerns Rugby Club.

According to Lourens Smit (who has served as Benoni Rugby Club’s chairman since 2010) the club has, in years gone by, struggled with a lack of fields.

“In the past we called Willowmoore Park our home, but soon made way for cricket to the back end of the stadium (where Benoni Spurs Football Club is now), but we were cleaned out by theft and even had our clubhouse burned down,” he said.

Smit added that they were then based at Hoërskool Brandwag for about five years and then moved to Hoërskool Hans Moore for more about 17 years.

“We really enjoyed our time at Hans Moore, but we were never in full control due to school events and fixtures.”

With football, cricket, hockey, baseball, athletics, tennis and bridge all offered at Benoni Northerns Sports Club main club chairman Craig Wittstock is thrilled to welcome rugby as another sporting code offered at Northerns.

“Benoni Rugby Club has a 107-year-old history and is an institution in our sporting community,” he said.

“We see it [bringing rugby to Northerns] as something extremely important that we can do for our community.

“It makes good sense for everyone involved.

“We run a great system here at Northerns and will fit them in in line with our constitution.

“Rugby is a massive sport in our community and in South Africa and we believe that we can only make their club stronger and vice-versa.

“We will also get maximum use of our fields and increase our community support.”

The club will for the time being develop two fields on what is known as the cricket B-field, which remains mostly unused during cricket’s off-season.

Smit added that he is excited to get going at the club’s new base.

“Benoni Northerns is a well-known club and wherever we go people talk about it,” he said.

“Northerns has a terrific history and we are proud to now be part of it.”

Smit said that bringing the juniors from the Benoni Grizzlies (from Hoërskool Brandwag’s sports fields) and the senior sides closer together under one roof will bridge the gap between junior and senior rugby and motivate more players to stay on with the senior club once they finish school.

“The juniors never see the seniors practising or in action so we hope to create a stronger tradition.”

The club’s fixtures will be published soon.

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Logan Green

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