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Solway Showgrounds, Masterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand


"The Battle of Solway", an incredible story. It's 1927 and Waiarapa had just defeated Hawke's Bay 15 - 11 to end their 5 year, 24 match Ranfurly Shield run. Wairarapa defended the shield against Bush then the return match against Hawkes Bay at their home venue, the Solway Showgrounds, Masterton. This was only five weeks after the match at Napier (Hawkes Bay) and the Hawkes Bay supporters travelled en masse to Wairarapa to support their team expected to return home with the Ranfurly Shield. 

So what's so unusual about the "Battle of Solway". Picture this - 


Brother No 1 - Ted Mckenzie, (the Secretary of the Wairarapa Rugby Union) was the sole selector of the Wairarapa team.

Edward Mckenzie (26/5/1878 - 7/9/1946) played 35 times for Wairarapa 1898 - 1907 as a full back from the Carterton club. A founder member of the Wairarapa Rugby Referees Association, Ted refereed the 1st test between New Zealand and South Africa in 1921. He managed the 1925 All Blacks in Australia and became the sole selector of  the All Blacks in 138, choosing a team to tour South Africa in 1940 (tour cancelled due to the outbreak of war). He became the president of the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1946 and unfortunately died in office.  

Brother No 2 - Norman McKenzie, was the coach and sole selector of the Hawkes Bay team.

Norman Alfred McKenzie (1885 - 28/3/60) - Represented Wairarapa 1907 - 11 and Hawkes Bay 1912 - 1914. Norm was the sole selector for the Bay 1916 - 46. He was an All Black selector 1924-30 and 1947-49.

Brother No 3 - Bert McKenzie - the match referee

Herbert James McKenzie represented Wairarapa between 1902 - 1915. he became a Wairarapa selector in 1936 and was elected a life member of the union in 1944. During his refereeing career he controlled the NZ v Australia 1936, Manawhenua v Sprinbboks 1921, Wanganui v British Lions 1930, hawke's Bay v Australia 131 & 1936 matches. He refereed 12 Ranfurly Shield matches in total.   

Other brothers - probably on the sidelines

William "offside Mac" (All Black 1893 - 1897), credited with developing the wing forward into a specialist position.

Jack - Wairarapa representative 1899 - 1903


"The Battle of Solway" was a family affair...................

Terry McLean reviews the proceedings in his 1959 book "Great Days in New Zealand Rugby"

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12.jpg (59386 bytes) This is the front cover, other pages will be added ASAP. 

16.jpg (25231 bytes) John Alexander McNab - Hawkes Bay - represented NZ in one match only, against NSW in 1925 


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