When the Methven Rugby club celebrated its Centenary in June 1996, they set up a committee and allowed themselves four years to plan the event.
“Guest speakers were an important part of the formal dinner”, said Tom Richards, committee chairman, “and a few names were bandied about, when I suggested Colin Meads, a small minority was of the opinion that ‘we’d never get him here’.”
Undaunted, Tom tracked down his telephone number and gave him a call. “Colin said he’d be honoured to speak at our event, then he asked when it was…. Queen’s Birthday weekend 1996 I told him, He was suitably impressed at having four years notice, saying that often he was asked only a week before the event!”
Four years later…. A huge marquee was set up on the domain, friendly rugby matches were played on Saturday and Sunday, in fne weather, the Centenary cake was cut and around 400 guests were due to attend the formal dinner.
“Well”, said Tom, “it poured with rain that night, the caterers were ankle deep in water and the lights blew. We carried on though and nobody seemed to mind.
We had a great range of speakers, some of who seemed to go on a bit, so by the time it was Colin Meads turn, it was midnight. He started by saying he’d never been asked to speak so late before but here goes… and you could have heard a pin drop in that tent.
We invited Verna, Colin’s wife, to come with him for the weekend, they stayed at the Blue Pub and when I met him again about four years later, he remembered it well saying, “Verna and I had a great time!”
Tom expressed his sadness at Sir Colin’s passing and that it was such an honour to have had him visit their small, rural rugby club and to meet such a down to earth, unpretentious, well respected man.