Fairfield United Old Boys R.F.C. history.
The Hamilton United Rugby Football Club was formed in 1957. It was formerly known as the Horsham Downs Rugby Club. In 1958 the club moved to new grounds at Rototuna.We changed in tents, washed off mud in old bathtubs and had "HIS" and "HERS" toilets in a corrugated iron longdrop under the trees.
In 1959 we bought an old transit building for 30 pounds which became our clubrooms. A big fundraising effort over 3 years enabled the club to build new clubrooms and purchase five and a quarter acres at Rototuna. In 1964 we changed our name to what we are today.
We competed in the Waikato Senior rugby competition from 1959 to 1993. During this time we produced one All Black, being Aaron Hopa. Sadly Aaron passed away in a tragic diving accident in the prime of his career. He is sadly missed by our club, The Taupiri Rugby Club, who Aaron played 1st Division rugby for, and the Waikato Rugby Union. Ex All Black manager Mike Banks also played fullback for our side.
In 1993, with the advent of "professional rugby", small clubs could not compete with the bigger clubs so in 1991 the club ceased to have a senior team and the clubrooms at Rototuna were reluctantly sold. The only team the club had left was a Presidents side which started in 1981. The team stayed together for 2 years without a home ground which showed great loyalty by the members. In 1994 we moved to our present facilities at Frankton Railways Combined Sports Club in Frankton.
George Kimura, who represented Waikato Maori with distinction, formed the Yellowbellies in 1981 for past players who still wanted to play a more social game of rugby. After the first year George retired and the team was taken over by Frits Lang, who still organises and plays today.
In 1987 the club sent a team to the Golden Oldies tournament in Auckland, which was a fantastic experience, and from that date the club caught the travel bug and every two years we travelled overseas to places where rugby is played but is not a major sport. After digging swimming pools by hand, painting fences, stables etc, running champagne breakfasts and lots of fund raising, the team attended the Golden Oldies tournament in Toronto, Canada in 1989. As we were getting on in years, we decided to raise money an easier way. Money was borrowed and invested in sections on which 2 houses were built, the profit from which funded 2 trips.
We competed in the Golden Oldies tournament in Perth in 1991, which was the last organised Golden Oldies tournament we attended.After Perth we organised our own tournaments, touring the South Pacific in 1993, Cairns in 1995, Rarotonga in 1997, Mooloolaba in 1999 and Thailand in 2001. We were represented by 3 players at the Brisbane Golden Oldies in 2003.
In 2004 we returned to Thailand for 2 games and then on to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for a game. In 2005 we played 2 games on the Gold Coast in Queensland. 2006 saw the Yellowbellies embark on a major tour playing in Hong Kong, Hanoi and Beijing. In 2007 we toured Adelaide and Hobart and 2008 saw us in Norfolk Island. 2009 was our most ambitious tour to date with games in Munich, Prague, Athens and Cairo. In 2010 we returned to Cairns, 2011 we returned to Thailand and played a Thai Youth Development side in Phuket and then returned to Hanoi in Vietnam for another game against the Dragons. 2012 we went to Bali for 2 games, one being against a Bali Youth Develpoment side. 2013 saw us in Melbourne. In 2014 we ventured on an ambitious tour to New Orleans/ Las Vegas/San Francisco/Vancouver and Hawaii playing 3 games on tour. Our group consisted at one point of 61 tourists, our biggest yet! The 2015 tour had 51 Yellowbellies play in Kuala Lumpur after which 28 intrepid travellers went on to India while 23 Yellowbellies took a holiday in Penang. In May 2016 the Yellowbellies departed on a cruise from Brisbane to the South Pacific for 7 days and nights of eating and drinking (especially the drinking), after which they played against the Queensland XXXX's.
The 2017 tour was a South Island trip with games in Christchurch and Queenstown. One of the highlights was a 2 night visit to Stewart Island where lots of blue cod, crayfish, kina and paua were demolished. Oct 2018 saw the 'Bellies tour Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru with games in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. A great trip to Darwin and Bali took place in May 2019 with 60 Yellowbellies descending on Bali, lots of Bintangs were consumed! Our planned trip to Manila and Tokyo in 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 but 2021 saw the Yellowbellies take a very enjoyable trip up to Northland.
We are the only Masters Team in Hamilton and we travel extensively throughout the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland regions to play in tournaments as well as host our own home games. We have made many friends and hope to be playing for several years yet.
We welcome all visiting teams from New Zealand and overseas and can assure them of great hospitality with several guitar players and any amount of singers after a beer or two. Accommodation is never a problem for visiting teams as we are more than happy to billet or arrange local accommodation. If you are planning a trip from overseas or intend coming to Hamilton for an end of season or pre season game, feel free to contact any of the people below.