THE Muswellbrook Heelers have much to celebrate in 2017.
And, the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union club plans to do it style.
The Heelers will acknowledge a major milestone on July 14, 15 and 16 when they chalk up 50 years.
Vice-president Tim Pike said the organisation boasted a “rich history”.
“There is evidence of union being played in the valley as early as 1908,” he explained.
“But, the formation of the Muswellbrook Rugby Football Club took place in October, 1966.
“The first competition began in 1967 – and was played at Muswellbrook.
“Former Wallaby and Randwick halfback, and dairy farmer, Roy Cawsey was the coach in the maiden season.”
Muswellbrook captured its inaugural premiership, in first grade, in 1971.
The club has since gone on to numerous other titles.
“We have had a great junior movement in the past 50 years and several products of Muswellbrook rugby have gone on to represent at a higher level,” Pike said.
The festivities kick off on Friday night, July 14, with a get-together and catch up at Eaton’s Hotel.
Saturday, July 15, is Old Boys Day at Highbrook Park.
“The Heelers are doing battle against the front-runners in the competition, Southern Lakes,” Pike said.
“This will prove to be a great game as our first graders are in fine form.
“The match starts early at 1.40pm, so supporters have heaps of time to get ready for the celebratory dinner that night at our major sponsor, the Muswellbrook RSL Club.
“There, we’ll enjoy fine food, a welcome speech from our president and words from our inaugural president David White.
“Our thanks to the RSL for co-sponsoring the band and also having the courtesy bus available to take people home at the end of the celebrations.
“On Sunday, July 16, we’ll host a recovery barbeque breakfast at the clubhouse at Highbook Park.”
A celebratory book will mark the occasion, too.
Tentatively titled 50 Years of Rugby: A Pictorial History, the publication is coming together under the eye of Pike, the club’s photographer Stan Yates and Bill Spicer from the historical society.
“We have put together a website and have lots of memorabilia that can be purchased,” Pike said.
“Annie Chesworth has done an excellent job with the site, for which I would like to thank her for.”
Tickets to the dinner are also available on the site and can be accessed by going to www.heelersrugby.com or the Facebook site, Muswellbrook Heelers R.U.F.C, and link to the site.
Alternatively, you can email Tim Pike at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0408 499 788 for further information.