People came from near and far to celebrate the Tokanui Rugby Club’s centenary at the weekend.

A formal dinner was held on Friday night, and rugby games for all the club’s different age groups were played against Wyndham on Saturday.

Golden-oldies and a women’s game were played on Sunday.

Centennial organising committee chairman Phil Golden said the celebration had gone well, with about 240 people attending the dinner.

Black Fern Amy du Plessis and television host Matt Chisholm were the speakers. ‘‘It went off brilliantly.’’

Former players now based in Australia and the North Island attended the events.

‘‘[It was] great to catch up with a lot of people we hadn’t seen for a long time.’’

Club member Cala Paenga and other members of the book committee had talked to many of the older club members and written their memories down.

Celebrating. . . Tokanui Rugby Club oldest life member Peter Lyders (left) and Ken Sangster the oldest former player who attended Friday night’s dinner cut the club’s 100th birthday cake. PHOTO: CALA PAENGA

A 270-page book had been published and would be launched at club day.

‘‘It’s brilliant.’’

The strength of the club was the people, Mr Golden said.

‘‘We’ve had our ups and downs — two or three times we’ve looked at amalgamating with another team, but we’ve stuck at it.’’

In the past players had travelled from Invercargill to play for the club, but the team now mostly comprised men who lived and worked in the district.

‘‘They all get on well and come and speak to us old guys here.’’

Former player Lex Chisholm said his most memorable experience was in 1978 when the team competed in the Southland premier grade and won the Galbraith Shield.

‘‘We had eight Southland reps, present or past.’’

In those days the team only had three home games because it was deemed too far for the rest of the teams to travel.

‘‘We begged to be in the competition, so we had to play under their rules.’’

Most of the games were played at Rugby Park.

‘‘They were great days.’’

After winning the competition the team took part in a world club tournament.

‘‘There was 54 teams in Hawaii and we were fortunate enough to win it, which was very, very special times with a very, very special bunch of people,’’ Mr Chisholm said.

He had attended practice last week, and 50 players turned up.

‘‘It’s really, really thriving.’’