Founded in 1983 to compete in the World Golden Oldies Festival in Sydney, the Funnelwebs have remained active on both the local and international scene. The Club is named after one of the world’s deadliest spiders commonly found in most leafy North Shore suburbs. While closely connected with Lindfield Rugby Club and using Soldiers Memorial Oval, Tryon Road Lindfield as a home ground, initial Funnelwebs President Vic Chandler envisaged a team that would attract Rugby diehards from all over Sydney’s North Shore. Hence the ubiquitous Funnelwebs name.
The 1983 Sydney Festival was the third international festival, earlier events being held in Auckland in 1979 and Long Beach LA in 1981. Since 1983 the Funnelwebs have remained active with regular local games, country tours as well as competing in international festivals in:
1983 Sydney Australia
1985 London England
1987 Auckland New Zealand
1989 Toronto Canada
1991 Perth Australia
1993 Dublin Ireland
2010 Sydney Australia
The 1993 Ireland Tour, organised by Funnelweb stalwart Tony Houseman and the ever willing travel agent extraordinaire Buddy Travis was the last of the Funnelweb grand tours with a touring party of more than forty (40) including wives and partners. It was an unforgettable tour full of crazy Irish moments, outstanding Rugby, the odd hospital trip and never ending evenings of Irish hospitality. The latter highlighted by the our host club, the Clondalkin
Club based just outside Dublin. One of the Funnelweb wives was heard to observe that she had travelled half-way around the world only to find the Irish equivalent of Lindfield Rugby Club. That tour also brought down the curtain on a number of illustrious Funnelweb careers.
The changing demographic of Funnelweb players post Ireland limited involvement in overseas Festivals and tours but when the Festival returned to Sydney in 2010, the Funnelwebs once again assembled a strong contingent that entertained the crowds with the unique brand of Funnelweb Rugby. Played at Centennial Park the 2010 Festival lived-up to the high standards set for Golden Oldies Festivals and the Funnelwebs were right in the centre of it, even if the odd player was seen to take a business call while standing a short distance away from the bar.
Country tours were an integral part of the early Funnelwebs calendar. After a period of hibernation, country tours were re-introduced in 2006 with a highly successful tour to Coonamble which also took in the popular and iconic annual Rodeo. The Funnelwebs had toured Coonamble in the 1980’s and many locals remembered the Funnelwebs with fondness. Not only did the 2006 Funnelwebs bring a scintillating brand of running Rugby back to Coonamble they also bough rain and lots of it to the drought stricken area, which made the Funnelwebs more than welcome.
Subsequent tours to Parkes were staged in 2007 and 2008 to coincide with the legendary Parkes Picnic Races. Once again the focus was divided between rugby and a more than healthy social life. The Parkes Old Boars ensured that the Funnelwebs were well looked after both on and off the field.
Golden Oldies Philosophy
The Golden Oldies sporting movement began in the late 1970’s when Tom Johnson – one of New Zealand’s foremost Rugby loose forwards of the 1960’s prevailed on Air New Zealand to support his idea. The initial festival was held in Auckland with some 500 players representing 15 teams participating.
The catch cry for Golden Oldies Rugby has always been – Fun, Friendship and Fraternity – with an emphasis on participation and sportsmanship rather than obtaining a result. Virtually all Golden Oldies games end in a draw.
Minimum Golden Oldies age is 35, naturally there is no upper age limit. Older players, identified by coloured shorts, are protected from rough and tumble to ensure that they enjoy the game and live to a key Golden Oldie adage – we don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing!