History 1950 to 1969

Waikato Centurion takes Patron's role

Rex Pickering, who played 104 matches for Waikato from 1955-1965, and was an All Black from 1957-60, is NZ Harlequin club patron.
Ernest Arthur Rex Pickering, who made his Waikato debut in 1955 against North Auckland at the age of 18, soon became a star loose forward. He hit the national headlines the following season when he scored a try, as a left winger, in Waikato’s epic 14-10 victory over South Africa.

New Zealand Harlequins Rugby Club - History - 1958 Harlequins Vs Olympians Gisborne
1958 Harlequins Vs Olympians Gisborne

During trials before that long-awaited fixture, Waikato’s master coach of that era, Dick Everest, had the foresight to take the 6ft2in, 15st forward out of the pack and trial him on the wing. The move certainly raised eyebrows because the then 19-year-old had been in tremendous form. But the wily Everest, as usual, was one step ahead of the field. He wanted to give the gifted player experience on the wing just in case Waikato lost one of its backs injured in the big match which was to be played under the no replacement rule. History shows Everest’s experiment paid huge dividends because Pickering did find himself out on the wing before halftime when Waikato lost five-eighth Jack Bullick through injury. He was soon well and truly in the spotlight.

Bok fullback Buchler was caught in possession close to his line. The tourists won the ruck, but their halfback, Tommy Gentles, was nabbed. The Waikato pack surged in and gave Ponty Reid a quick heel. The nifty halfback shot to the blind and sent Pickering crashing over. The try, plus Don Clarke’s conversion, put Waikato 11-0 ahead after 28 minutes.When he also scored a try against the 1965 Springboks, Pickering became the only player in New Zealand to score tries against both the 1956 and 1965 tourists.

Pickering went on to play 21 matches for the All Blacks, including three tests. He scored seven tries. He toured Australia with the AB’s in 1957 and played in the second test. He also played in the first and fourth tests against the touring 1959 British Lions. He toured South Africa in 1960 and played in 10 matches. He played for North Island in 1958 and 1959, was an All Black trialist from 1957 to 1961, for NZ under 23 in 1957 and a NZ XV in 1958. He was one of the NZ Rugby Almanack’s five players of the year in 1957. Rex played many seasons for Frankton then served as senior club coach and on the executive. He was elected a Harlequin in 1960, became secretary, then president and life member. He was born in Te Kuiti in 1936 and educated at Otorohanga then Nelson College.

New Zealand Harlequins Rugby Club - History - 1951 Vs Barbarians Action shot
1951 Harlequins Vs Barbarians

Match to assist school football - Harlequins v Barbarians, Rugby Park, Hamilton, Sunday, July 1, 1951 – Harlequins: D B Clarke; D S Ensor, A J Aitken, J A Roberts; B A Cowley, K V Burgess; A J Bain; A D Robertson; R W Clarkin, W H Warrender or C C Vowles, J H Carrodus or George Leeson, John Leeson, E H Catley, K Waterson; replacements, A F Bullick, M Campbell, I J Clarke, J Flannagan, G J Carrington, R Whitley. Barbarians: R G Sorenson; F Convery, E G Boggs, D T Grace; R L Dobson, F R Allen; R D Halligan; D L Christian; M Menzies, B Manners, G Dore, A F Rogers; A E Rowan, A Johnston, A McEvoy; replacements, G Bourke, W Smith, D O’Brien, A Tretheway, B A Sweet. Referee: A A Griffiths. Harlequins won 24-18.

Rugby Park, Hamilton, Sunday, June 29, 1952 – all proceeds in aid of junior boys’ football – Harlequins: D S Ensor; J R O’Hearn, K Clark, D R Wightman; B A Cowley, J R Bullick; A J Bain; J Flannagan; K D Arnold, C C Vowles, G Leeson, W D Ross; J Leeson, E H Catley, K Waterson; replacements, J H Carrodus, P Hogan, H C McLaren, J A Roberts, C G Goosman, K G Gregan, K V Burgess. Barbarians: R W Scott; R Watson, E G Boggs, G Gilmour; F R Allen, S G Bremner; P L Tetzlaff; AQ McEvoy; A F Rogers, J Dore, M McHugh, M Menzies; J G Simpson, A Johnston, A E Rowan; replacements, J M Tanner, R D Halligan, R G Sorenson, T French, G Bourke. Referee: C G Wallace. Linesmen: E Gladding, W J Wilson. Barbarians won 14-12.

August 18, 1957, at Campbell Park, Morrinsville – Harlequins 28, Barbarians 26 - Teams – Harlequins: Don Clarke (Kereone); Stu Freebairn (Feilding, Manawatu), Russell Watt (Gore Pioneer, Southland), Ray Wells (Thames HSOB); Bryce Cowley (Old Boys, Hamilton), Doug Clarke (Kereone); Ian Cathro (Ngaruawahia); Ack Soper (Country Pirates, Southland); Rex Pickering (Frankton), Colin Meads (Waitete, King Country), Brian Clarke (Kereone), Alan Hayes (Eastern Suburbs, Hamilton); Ian Clarke (Kereone), Peter Hogan (Hautapu), John Shaw (Westport Old Boys, Buller). Barbarians: Dave Ashby (Mataura, Southland); Alf Dalton (Grammar, Auckland), Dave Menzies (Ponsonby), Lyn Russell (Grammar); John Tanner (University), Norm Brown (University); Keith Davis (Marist); Ivan Sapich (Waitemata); John Graham (University), Don McKenzie (Old Boys, Hamilton), Dave Caughey (University), Peter Jones (Awanui, North Auckland); Snow White (Northcote), Don Lees (Marist, Auckland), Wilson Whineray (Lincoln College). Scorers - Harlequins 28 (tries Cowley 3, Cathro, Don Clarke; five conversions and penalty goal by Don Clarke) Barbarians 26 (tries Menzies, Tanner; dropped goal by Brown; five penalty gaols, conversion by Ashby). Referee was A A (Skip) Watson.

Harlequin snippets

Early 1960s – application for Auckland players – I Sapich, S Sapich, P Mac. R Patterson, R King, J Brady, D Meek refused – Auckland chairman, Tom Pearce, said it was time the Harlequin club pulled in its horns and stopped applying for players to play against minor associations in the Waikato…

1961 – AGM suggested club apply for room at Rugby Park…president V A Ensor; vice presidents, Dr H S Douglas, J Broad; secretary, J O Wells; treasuer, M A Wakefield.

1962 - Waikato 19- Harlequins 15….. Quins were M Herewini, D W McKay, P F Little, J A Mackenzie, W N Gray, A H Clarke, D M Connor, R Wymer, C E Meads, S T Meads, P Priestley,W J Nathan, M W Irwin, W Wordley, H L White. Replacement: A Hayes.

New Zealand Harlequins Rugby Club - History - 1951 Vs Barbarians Action shot
1951 Harlequins Vs Barbarians

1962 – August 25 Junior Harlequins v Junior Goldfields, curtainraiser to Waikato v North Auckland - (patches of magenta, grey, blue, brown, green, black) G Claire (Cambridge High School), M Donovan (Te Awamutu College), D Logan (Tokoroa High), G Marshall (Fairfield College), W Pulman (Morrinsville College), J Mandeno (Te Awamutu College), R Tasker (Hamilton HS), E Mackintosh (Hamilton HS), D Faville (Hamilton Technical College), P Douglas (Hamilton HS), K Smith (Hamilton HS), A Feisst (Cambridge High), M Hotene (Morrinsville College), D Prosser (Te Awamutu College), B Miller (Cambridge High). Reserves: R Crabb (Hamilton HS), R Flannagan (Hamilton HS), G Gooding (Te Awamutu College), S Latta (Hamilton Technical College), B Bennett (Morrinsville College). Referee: Mr C G Wilson (Lower Waikato).

1962 Barbarians at Auckland - D B Clarke, N R Blackburn, W Davis (HB), W K McFarlane; D R Wood, R A Dallas; J R Wood; T W Johnson; C E Meads, S T Meads, G A Clarke, J H Strang; H L Whitem G J W Wright, I J Clarke; reserves, R W Kemp, I H Cathro, L W Parker, B E Clarke, R Peacocke, B A Guest, E F Peacocke.

1963 – Harlequins v Waikato – M A Herewini, P Cole, T Kilpin, R J Wells; J Brady, A H Clarke; A T Edgar; I M Rasmussen, W J Nathan; D Kirkpatrick, M Jakich, R H Graham, H L White, F Colthurst, K E Barry.

1965 – Curtainraiser to Waikato v Wellington, September 4 – Junior Harlequins: J Voyle, W Marshall, S Anderson, G Corboy, L Greene, D Blythe, L Mounsey, G Gibson, D Gordon, G Sykes, F Hopper, M Glassie, K Francis, K Dreyer, M Jones. Reserves: G Anderson, K Greene, P Den-Hond, R Goble.

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