Seven years ago Stokkies Truter (then Sports Organizer at HS President, now at HS Tygerberg) approached me about our combining forces to resurrect a festival (the Pat Ambrose Festival) that he had run and I had sponsored at HS Bosmansdam a few years earlier.
In 2008 the first Tony Stoops Rugby Festival, comprising just eight teams, took place at HS President. It was such fun we decided to expand our net. 2009 saw us with ten teams, 2010 brought us 24, which became 34 in 2011 and, believe it or not, 42 in 2012 !
The festival is aimed primarily at sides below the top tier in the Western Province plus anybody else, which seems to be mostly Bolanders, who wants to pitch in. The 2012 crop included a team from KZN, six from the Eastern Cape, six from the South Western Districts and even Noord-Kaap, who graciously agreed to play in the flagship game on the Saturday.
We were able to accommodate so many teams because (a) HS President could offer us four fields (b) Ben Theron, the refereeing equivalent of powdered milk, took personal charge of all the match officials and (c) all the WP and Boland sides simply drove in and out each day. This meant that just some thirteen teams had to find their own accommodation and food – our not providing these enables us to keep the budget manageable.
The 2013 Festival, the first at Tygerberg, involved 34 schools and was an outstanding success, thanks in no small part to the generosity of our sponsors and the accommodating nature of our host school.
C2M came on board as our major sponsors in 2014, a festival which included large doses of Noord-Kaap, Paarl Boys' High, Wynberg and Rondebosch among a field of 44 teams !
TSRF 2015 News : Thursday 2, Saturday 4 and Monday 6 April 2015
The dedicated Festival facebook page, set by up by C2M lives on. Below is the sort of final list of entries.
WP: Tygerberg, Stellenberg, De Kuilen, Milnerton, Bellville South, Parow and Jan van Riebeeck;
Boland: Swartland, Klein Nederburg, Porterville, Worcester Gym, Weston, Piketberg, Montana, Hopefield, Swellendam, Groendal and Barrydale;
EP: Nico Malan, Otto du Plessis and Westering;
Griffons : Sasolburg
KZN: Weston Agric;
Northern Cape: Noord-Kaap (just for days one and three);
SWD: Outeniqua (just for day one), Oudtshoorn, Langenhoven High, Kairos and York.
Our other sponsors include the ever-generous Brito's Meat Centres, the Land Bank, Peninsula Beverages (the okes from Coke), Greens Plattekloof, Peter Buttner Sports, Allie Brand's Stellenbosch Rugby Academy, Jacques Briel of United Mobile, Alan Footman from Footprint Sport Tours, 3@1 Plattekloof, Profin, Oasis (the water fundis, not the washed-out teenybopper band), the Health and Fitness Professionals Association, GWM (thanks, Lucas !), Physical IQ, the placement people, Multi Media Solutions and Radio Tygerberg.
22 November : Brilliant news ! C2M Chartered Accountants Inc. have come on board as naming sponsors. Many thanks to Carel Steenkamp and the
board ! They're going to launch a TSRF 2014 Facebook page and other goodies shortly. Follow this page in the weeks ahead !
13 January : The Land Bank has generously agreed to sponsor the officials' golf-shirts, taking a heavy load off our collective shoulders. Many
thanks, Noko and Henry !
23 January : We are up to 42 with the acceptance of belated invitations by Rondebosch and Robertson !
27 January : Generous us ! Sasolburg are also in....
29 January : ....and good ol' buddies Klein Nederburg are no.44 !
10 February : Late change sees Fairbairn College come in for Swellendam Secondary.
24 February : Parow come in for Scottsdene.