Coffs Harbour Comets to celebrate special anniversaries on Old Boys Day Coffs Coast Sport News Of The Area by News Of The Area - Modern Media - July 28, 2021 Under 18s Comets Ronan Singleton and Jaymus Troutman wearing replica jerseys worn by the Banana Benders (now the Comets) from over 50 years ago. Ronan made his first grade debut this year. THE Coffs Harbour Comets will be celebrating ‘Old Boys Day’ on Saturday 31 July to commemorate the grand final winning teams from 50 years ago. It will be a special day for the Comets, and Club President Steve Gooley shared some of the Club’s rich history with News Of The Area. “This year we feature our inaugural First Grade Premiership winning side of 1970, and the back to back winners of 1971. “Our club was formed for the 1965 season from an amalgamation of Coffs Jetty and Coffs Diggers, we played in a comp pretty similar geographically to what we have now. “In our inaugural season we won 18s and reserves, going down to Lower Clarence in the First Grade grand final. “In 1966 we moved southward where the Group was from Coffs to Kempsey. “We continued to dominate the lower grades but lost back to back grand finals in 1967 and 1968 to Smithtown, in 1969 we were undefeated minor premiers but lost the major semi and final. “1970 looked a bit doubtful at the start as the club lost a lot of depth with Woolgoolga and Sawtell entering the comp. “Despite this the Banana Benders, as we were then known, broke through by beating Central Kempsey 12-4 at Verge Street Oval Kempsey,” said Steve. Steve shared memories from newspaper clippings over 50 years old and declared, “These are bonds and friendships that will never be broken.” The celebration includes the 50 year anniversary of the 1971 premiership winning team which Steve described as one of the greatest underdog victories in the competition’s history. “On Old Boys Day, Saturday 31 July, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 First Grade Premiership. “Despite being defending Premiers, Coffs caused one of the greatest underdog victories in the group’s history. “Nambucca Heads were undefeated, had won the Northern NSW knockout for sides from Newcastle to the Queensland border and Coffs had six players out or carrying injuries from the final the week before. “Ray Reeves and Jim Petersen, both of whom had not played since the preseason, were called up. “Bruce Grant, who had been transferred with work to Sydney, answered the call and made a train in, train out journey to play. “With a host of positional changes the Banana Benders rolled Nambucca 20-9. “Young Barry Hoskins was the man of the match. “In 1991 he was the manager of Coffs Under 18s whose 30 year anniversary we will also be celebrating on Old Boys Day. “The guys will be meeting at 11am on 31 July at the Leagues Club, at 12:15pm we will raise a glass or two to remember the late Ron Rapley. “At 1pm we will head down to the roof to support the current Comets sides and post game it’s back to the Leagues Club for the charity auction of the commemorative Banana Bender jumpers,” concluded Steve. By David WIGLEY Memories of the grand final winning team from over 50 years ago where “the bonds and friendships will never be broken”.