BUCCANEERS, the oldest surviving rugby club in the Bahamas, celebrates its 50th anniversary tomorrow with a busy programme of events and international players in attendance.
Gareth Thomas and the Moore brothers, Steve and Andy - the Wales players who trained the Bahamian national team last night - will be on hand as the celebrations kick off at the Winton Field with an under-19s match (1pm) as part of their preparations for the Caribbean championship in Trinidad in July.
A Buccs Golden Oldies match against Cracked Conchs (2pm) follows and then the club’s senior team plays a Nassau Select XV in the showpiece (3pm). There will be attractions and food to make it a family day.
In the evening 170 people will attend the club’s anniversary dinner at Breezes, where the former England centre David Duckham - a frequent visitor to the Bahamas since 1988 - will be the guest speaker.
Buccaneers is the oldest surviving rugby club in the Bahamas and has provided numerous players for the national side over the years. Reputedly formed when a Royal Navy frigate docked in Nassau one Sunday and local enthusiasts gathered to play the ship’s company, Buccaneers have welcomed many touring sides and notable players since.
Allen Wilson, who first played for the club in 1976 and tended the pitch for 30 years, said internationals such as John Dawes, who captained Wales and the Lions, Phil Blakeway, the former England and Lions prop, and Gordon Brown, the Scotland and Lions second row forward, had come to the Bahamas at the club’s behest.
The only former top flight international to play for Buccaneers was Fergus Slattery, of Ireland, who turned out for a Wednesday afternoon match. “We let him score of course,” said Wilson.
Touring teams from California and the north and east of the United States are frequent visitors and in the past English clubs Saracens and Moseley have come to play.
Buccaneers have hosted many “Golden Oldies” teams, including from New Zealand, and the club itself aims to tour twice a year.
Freeport and Baillou, two other well-established Bahamas rugby clubs, will be celebrating their 50th anniversaries in the next couple of years.