These ‘Old Crocs’ have still got game

Karl Bergemann

The smell of Deep Heat wafted up and down the sidelines as flashes of grey hair darted from end to end as the Western Cape Golden Oldies League kicked off at Brackenfell RFC at the weekend, giving players a chance to relive the days of yesteryear as they donned their old togs and team colours once more.

Teams came from all over the peninsula to compete in the tournament, catering specifically to players over the age of 32 but with many of them, shall we say, a tad older.

False Bay stalwart and vice president of the Western Cape region for the SA National Golden Oldies Association (SANGORA), Pete Leibbrandt, of Fish Hoek, is excited to see the growth of the league and the old croc spirit produced on the day.

“This was the first of our monthly crocs rugby route days, as we call them, for 2016 and it was a great success considering it fell on a long weekend.

“This always poses a challenge of recruiting sufficient numbers but we were able to assemble over 70 players, who, by amalgamating teams, were able to form six teams on the day.

“The true spirit of old crocs rugby kicked in as players from different clubs formed barbarian teams as well as playing in their own set matches, allowing us all to do what we came to do – play rugga.

“Each team was allocated three matches for the day with pace varying from game to game. As always, each team played to win and, as is the norm in crocs rugby, they played a hard brand of the game,” he said.

With teams the likes of Durbanville-Bellville, Northerns Northlink College, Brackenfell and Goodwood RFC in the mix, the day made for a good spectacle of rugby, proving to many that perhaps they were not quite as over the hill as they may have thought.

That thought may have changed when they woke up the next morning with the aches and niggles and some post-match regret.

They will have to heal up fast and gather the troops once more as the next leg of the league takes place next week, with Goodwood RFC hosting on Saturday April 2.

The Bay will also take part in their own mid-week fixtures and are looking forward to hosting a French over-40 side in May.

“At present we have seven active crocs teams in the Western Cape and another four semi-active sides. Our aim this year is to grow the amounts of teams playing in our social league. The more the merrier.

“The monthly tournaments allow old boys from different clubs to get together for a day of rugga and camaraderie over and above the week-night fixtures that many are unable to attend. In this way the lads get to play a few games in a tournament style on a regular basis.

“Goodwood always put on a great day for players and family alike and we expect considerably more players, with the Easter weekend having past.

“As with any rugby matches we have medics on hand and provincial referees. Injuries are dealt with effectively but as with any contact sport risk is par for the course.

“However, in my 10 years of crocs rugby we have had very few serious injuries.

“It’s usually pulled hamstrings and some bumps and bruises and the odd mild concussion here and there. Most of these can be avoided with good warmups and for the rest we treat it with some ice packs, strapping, Voltaren and a cold beer.

“Anyone wishing to join this band of brothers can contact me directly and I will hook them up with their nearest participating club,” he said.

* Contact Pete Leibbrandt on ruggapete@gmail.com for more information on the league.