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Bankers Corner

Banker's Corner, a special part of the Northcote Birkenhead Rugby Club , had its origins in the 1980s when staff members from the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) used to meet after work on Fridays in the Bass Bar at the Birkenhead Licensing Trust Hotel. Foundation members of the group were Brian Lander, Don Cameron, Ron McMillan, Ernie Beer, Dick Cameron and Peter Tilley (now based in Wellington).

Don Cameron's son Craig was playing in Ray Maddix's ninth grade team at the time and, through an association with club stalwarts Ken Burton and Bernie Hall, he knew when the rugby club was moving to its fancy new premises. Swayed by cheaper beer and no limitation on raucous behaviour (not withstanding the persuasive powers of Ken Burton) the bunch of bankers transferred their custom from the Bass Bar to Northcote Birkenhead one week after the club's opening in March 1985.

The 'team' was joined by the late Frank Bower (Bowzer's father) who worked for AGC, a Westpac subsidiary. It followed that the Bankers supported 'Cotes and endured the triumphs and tribulations of the senior team and other grades each Saturday. They not only made the clubrooms their home - most of the wives seemed to live there too. The group was joined by Ray Smith, affectionately known as 'The Animal', John Austin, Chris Buckley, Lew Higgins, John O'Sullivan, David and John McIntyre, Craig Pettit, Roger Brook and 'Takapuna Turtle' Gavin Dale.

During the following years a couple of enjoyable cricket matches were played between the Bankers and club members.

Special highlights for the Bankers were the 1987 Golden Oldies tournament, the visit from Cardiff RFC in 1988 and the 'Cotes two epic club championship victories in 1989 and 1990.

Don Cameron, J.J. O'Sullivan and Ron McMillan served time on the club committee, with Ron managing the under-19s and under-21 s when Herb Merritt was coach and club manager.

Although quite a few of the Bankers are now retired, they still meet on Friday nights at their favourite long table under the photograph gallery of ex-players and officials. Nicky Trimble exclaimed after returning from some years in the United States, 'Are you b-- still here!'

The Bankers welcome visitors, wowsers and special events with a rousing rendition of 'We're gonna have a beer with (name) 'cos (name) is our mate!' until the said mate shouts to keep them quiet.

The Bankers' camaraderie has added character to the club and looks set to do so for some years yet
The Bankers