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Funnelwebs History


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! 



Funnelwebs Today


Entertaining Rugby and a healthy social life remain the cornerstones of Funnelweb Rugby.  The club welcomes anyone who is keen to strap on a pair of boots, age and skills remain a secondary consideration.


A typical Funnelwebs season will involve a game a month against a variety of teams including long standing local derbies such as the annual game against the Gordon Stags which has been a regular event since 1983.  Most games are played on Sunday and typically involve multiple teams competing in a carnival style round robin event. 



Golden Oldies Festival History


At the outset it was resolved that Rugby would benefit from Golden Oldies Festivals, and the relationship with local organising groups provides them with opportunities to gain funds for the development of the game and other needs such as junior Rugby, injured players, refereeing and school rugby support.


The first Festival was held in the winter of 1979 when 15 Rugby teams floundered on sodden Auckland fields; 13 from New Zealand and a combined Canadian / USA group. From these humble beginnings Golden Oldies Rugby Festivals have ventured to all corners of the globe and become the biggest Rugby Festival in the world and a true international event. It has changed people's lives and the team environment has enabled many to travel away from their home countries for the first time.

Venues for past Festivals have been:

1979 Auckland New Zealand

1981 Long Beach United States of America

1983 Sydney Australia

1985 London England

1987 Auckland New Zealand

1989 Toronto Canada

1991 Perth Australia

1993 Dublin Ireland

1995 Christchurch New Zealand

1997 Vancouver Canada

1998 Cape Town South Africa

1999 Adelaide Australia

2001 Toulouse France

2003 Brisbane Australia

2005 San Diego United States of America

2006 Wellington New Zealand

2008  Edinburgh  Scotland

2010 Sydney Australia

2012 Fukuoka  Japan

2014  Mar del Plata  Argentina


The next Festival will be held in Rugby mad Wales in 2016.