Background to some of the KZN CLUB RUGBY trophies
- indeed interesting history
The history of club rugby in the province of KZN wouldn’t be complete without the knowing the background of some of the oldest and finest pieces of silverware that have been presented to the Union, which they can all be truly proud of. Starting with the Moor Cup, which is the oldest club rugby trophy in the country and even older than the Currie Cup its hard to believe that these remarkable priceless pieces of silverware have survived decades of proud rugby history in KZN and are certainly the pride of a province also steeped in tradition and blessed with a rugby culture that is so highly regarded by many people throughout the rugby playing nations of the world.
MOOR CUP: KZN Club Rugby’s premier and most prized club trophy was presented by George Moor way back in 1876. George Moor had received the trophy in quite the most extraordinary way. He himself had played in a match announced as a game between Colonials and Home-born sides in Kimberly. Moor leading the Colonials to victory was presented the trophy by a certain Mr W. P. Cox. There was the problem of who should be the custodian of this fine piece of silverware and after much debate they decided that this now priceless piece of silverware should be raffled amongst the players and the rest is history with Moor taking the nameless trophy home.
Moor then later presented the trophy to the winning teams from the Old Colony’s including Natal. Natal won the first two games they played and so the trophy made its home here in the Garden Province. It was thought however that it had originally been planned to be installed as the award for the Town Challenge in Western Province such was the early intrigue that surrounded the grand old trophy in the early days. It was even thought that the trophy was to be sent to the Natal Museum where it was to remain as a memento of the Football days on the Diamond Fields.
Mysteriously the trophy vanished and was unearthed 81 years later by Mr Vic King the then President of the Maritzburg Rugby Sub-Union in 1957 when an unknown donor handed him the marvellous piece of silverware. Strangely enough the trophy still had not been engraved and carried no title but was duly named The Moor Cup and because of its remarkable history was chosen as the premier league championship trophy and was first played for in the newly formed competition in 1958 and won by Durban Varsity.
Durban Collegians have won the trophy more times than any other club in the province having had their named engraved on the cup on 26 occasions. Rovers have taken the cup home eight times while Glenwood Old Boys have won the title on six occasions. Crusaders have lifted the famous trophy five times in their short but illustrious history while Oldies have had in their cabinet on three occasions. Maritzburg Collegians have won it twice while Maritzburg Varsity and Durban Police have won it only once. The trophy has been shared twice by Durban Collegians and Glenwood Old Boys in 1960 and 1984.
MURRAY CUP: Was presented to the Natal Rugby Union by its first President Sir T.K. Murray in 1890. It was presented for a knock-out challenge competition and was first won by Savages of Pietermaritzburg. In 1978 the Knock-out competition was contested only by the Premier Division sides playing in the Moor Cup competition and has remained that way ever since.
History was made in 1958 when the competition became the first sporting competition to get financial backing after the South African Breweries sponsored the event and became officially known as the SAB Murray Cup then later the Lion Lager Murray Cup and finally the Castle Murray Cup. In 2003 the competition was heralded as the longest single sponsored sporting competition in the country and the Breweries celebrated their 45th anniversary with the Murray Cup. A few years later, just before the Breweries 50th anniversary as the tournament sponsors, the sponsorship was taken over by Captain Morgan and the competition is now known as the Captain Morgan Murray Cup.
Durban Collegians have won the Murray Cup on 29 occasions winning it for the first time in 1907. Rovers are next with 13 titles first winning the trophy in 1899 the year of their inception. Glenwood Old Boys have lifted the trophy on 11 occasions twice as Tech College in the 1930’s then as Glenwood Old Boys from 1960 onwards. Maritzburg Collegians have had their name engraved on the silverware on seven occasions although there is a little controversy about their first win in 1900 as Maritzburg College have also laid claim to having won that year as it was in an era when the stronger schools played in the KZN competitions complete with their masters and coaches. Old Boys have taken the trophy home five times first in 1933 while country district sides like Kokstad (1920), Ladysmith (1927) and Volkrust (1955) have all won the trophy on one occasion. Interestingly enough Zululand Rhinos from Empangeni won it for the first time in their 90 year history last year so crowning one of their finest seasons of all time.
THE HILTON TROPHY was presented by the Headmaster of Hilton College Mr H.V. Ellis in 1897 for the Junior Clubs who he believed to play for a substantial trophy. This cup is still used for the Third Division clubs in the Midlands Rugby Sub-Union competition.
THE BROWN CUP: T.A. Brown presented this trophy in 1899 for a competition between Maritzburg and Durban. It was last presented as a Junior Clubs trophy in 1977
THE SECOND BROWN TROPHY: Was presented in 1891 but has been missing for years.
THE INTER-TOWN TROPHY: Presented in 1902 by J.D. Lister. IT HAS BEEN MISSING SINCE 1978 and was awarded to the winning side at the annual Inter-Town games between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
WALKER CUP was presented to the Union by JH Walker in 1904 and was originally played for by ‘A’ section teams of senior clubs. It became the Third Division trophy in 1977.
WYLIE CUP was presented to the KZN Rugby Union in 1905 by JS Wylie who later became a Brigadier General DSO KC. Wylie a staunch supporter of rugby and the Union presented his cup as a trophy that would be contested for by the senior Durban clubs only. Since then it was later changed and was contested by the KZN Second Division clubs throughout the province. It is now played for by the Premier Division Reserves.
DEWAR SHIELD Also presented in 1905 by Dewar Whisky for a competition between all rugby clubs. Arguably one of the most impressive trophy’s in the KZNRU trophy cabinet this magnificent shield is now played for by the First Division sides.
THE JUNIOR MURRAY CUP is the second trophy that was presented by Sir T.K. Murray. Presented in 1911, it was given for the Junior Clubs knock-out competition.
THE NATAL COUNTRY CLUBS TROPHY was presented by A. Lens of Utrecht on 1920.
THE FINDLAY CUP was presented to honour the services of one of the provinces finest administrators of the past H.A. Archie Findlay. It is a knockout trophy played for by teams from the Walker Cup competition and the other Sub-Unions
THE FOADEN BOWL the Fourth Division trophy presented by George Foaden in 1922 to honour the services of his father Frank who believed no matter what level of rugby you play you deserve just rewards
THE CROWE CUP was presented by Mrs. Crowe of Seven Oaks in memory of her husband James. It was originally intended for a second division competition in Pietermaritzburg but is now played for by varying divisions to level strengths of teams.
THE BOZAS CUP was presented by Alec Bozas in 1946 for a now famous annual rugby festival in hosted by Eshowe.
THE FRANK NORRIS UNDER 20 TROPHY was presented by one of the most revered administrators in KZN Frank Norris for the ‘A’ Division u/20 competition in 1959, which his club Berea Rovers won in the year of the competitions inception. Rovers have won the competition 11 times, Durban Varsity 10 times, Durban Collegians 9 times, Maritzburg Varsity 7 times and Glenwood Old Boys, Maritzburg Collegians, Tech and Old Boys all on 2 occasions each. Defence, Harlequins and Durban Police have had their names engraved only once each on the trophy.
PETER TAYLOR TROPHY was presented by one of the provinces finest captains Peter Taylor who also captained the Junior Springboks. This trophy is now played for by the Premier Division Reserves in their knock-out competition.
BASIL MEDWAY U/20 KNOCK-OUT TROPHY presented by one of the great icons of Natal Rugby Basil Medway on his retirement in 1980.