Like most South Canterbury clubs the Pleasant Point [Rugby] Football Club has had fluctuating fortunes, but through the true grit and determination of its members it has stood the test of time, when many other clubs over the past 125 years have faltered.
In 1889 the Pleasant Point men’s rugby team first played against the Timaru Crusaders, by 1892 they had entered the South Canterbury Rugby Union Flag competition, and by 1894 two members of the Pleasant Point President’s Grade team, Charles Goldstone & Tom Simpson, were selected to play for South Canterbury. The club went into recess in 1895, and when they re-entered the competition the following year it was at Junior Flag level, the equivalent of Senior Reserve. The club continued to perform well at Junior Flag level, winning the championship in 1915. The next year rugby competitions were curtailed due to the large number of men enlisted to fight in World War 1. A feature of those early 1900’s teams was the inclusion of W.(Bill) Thomas, then headmaster of the Pleasant Point District High School, who went on to be Rector of Timaru Boys High School and after whom Thomas House , the TBHS boarding establishment, is named.
Pleasant Point struck a purple patch in the early 1920’s winning the Junior Flag in 1921, 1922 & 1924. In 1933 and 1934 Pleasant Point entered the Senior (Skinner Cup) competition for the first time and pulled off some upset wins, before dropping back in 1935. Post World-War 2 they were back up at Senior level in 1947 with a side that included Ian Paterson, Edward “Bags” Ryan, several Goulds, Howeys, Jacksons and Clelands. They dropped back to second grade in 1948 and it was to be almost three decades of happily contesting the senior reserve competition before the country club re-entered the senior ranks in 1976, this time to stay.
Representative player Michael Lindsay led the resurgence, and he was joined in the 1980s by fellow South Canterbury reps Steve Geddes, Paul Hewitson, Gerard Scott, Paul Carter, Mark Ryan, Paul Ryan & Clive Callow. During the late eighties and early nineties a new crop of very capable players, including John Simpson, Kevin Casey, Nigel Walsh, Graeme Dempster and Robert Paterson, helped to take the club’s senior team to five Skinner Cup finals, albeit without attaining the big prize. That milestone came in 2005 when the Pleasant Point seniors, coached by Gerard (Chester) Scott & Michael Lightbourne, and led by Brent Isbister, were crowned champions.
Players to particularly shine have been Graeme Dempster, who was selected for the Canterbury Crusaders in 1996 when playing first five for Point, and Ben Hewitson who was selected for the NZ Heartland XV in 2009. Many club members have held high office for the SCRFU, but Alan Olds has the most distinguished record, having served on the NZRU Executive from 1982-1990, including membership of the organising committee of the 1987 World Cup. Other highlights for the club have been the construction and extension of the lounge and changing room complex in the picturesque Pleasant Point Domain during the late 1970s, and the celebration of the club’s centennial under a big marquee in 1989.