CLUB PRIDE: L-R - Niki Vloedmans, Jett Vloedmans, Hayden Vloedmans and Tylah Vloedmans. They are the family of BITS Sharks founding member Bill Vloedmans Sr.
CLUB PRIDE: L-R - Niki Vloedmans, Jett Vloedmans, Hayden Vloedmans and Tylah Vloedmans. They are the family of BITS Sharks founding member Bill Vloedmans Sr. Contributed - BITS 40 years

PICS: Club Day for BITS Sharks and many a tale to be told

SOCCER: The Boyne Tannum Sharks will celebrate its 40th year in the best possible way tomorrow at The Bill Vloedmans Soccer Fields.

One of the stalwarts across the journey was Stephen McGrath who joined the club in the early 1980s.

BITS Sharks Womans.
Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
BITS Sharks Womans. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards

He regrets that he won't be there for tomorrow's celebrations and was apologetic, but he recalls how it all started.

"I arrived in Australia from Wales in 1982 to work in Gladstone in the aluminium industry," McGrath said.

"I had two sons and signed them up to play for Gladstone United."

A year later McGrath moved to Boyne Island and his sons joined the Sharks.

"Them days, all the kids wore different coloured clothes and eventually they all wore the same uniform and the team won the best dressed juniors award back then," he said.

McGrath thought that at 33 years of age, his playing days were over, but he was coaxed into playing again.

Gladstone Division 1 Women's grand final - Meteor Rites v BITS Sharks
Gladstone Division 1 Women's grand final - Meteor Rites v BITS Sharks Matt Harris

"I used to come down and watch the seniors and someone said why don't you come and play," he said.

"I played at a much higher level in the Welsh league and I ended up playing for BITS until 1992 and also played for the Old Boys team."

McGrath was also a qualified coach and referee and described himself as a "Clayton's" coach and president because he filled in those roles during a time when the club had neither.

He remembered that he was a designated penalty shooter and was a match-winner in a game that mattered most.

"I scored the winning goal in one of the third division grand finals," McGrath said.

"I was a defensive player but basically the penalty taker and have never missed one."

Now living in Alpha, McGrath still follows the BITS progress.

"It's a pity I won't be able to get there and catch up with some people from the old school and have had the flu on top of a couple other health issues," McGrath said.

He said he aims to be at the club's 40-year dinner celebrations on October 12 at the Boyne Community Centre.

Tickets will be on sale soon and keep a look-out on the Boyne Tannum Sharks Facebook site.

CELEBRATIONS

There will be mini games before each senior game and speeches and cake cutting at 3.40pm

1pm: D2W - BITS Dolphins v Central White - F1; D2W - Central Black v Meteors - F2

3pm: D2M - BITS Gold v Yaralla - F1; D2W - United v Valleys - F2

5pm: D1W - BITS v Clinton - F1; D2M - BITS Blue v United - F2

7pm: D1M - BITS v Valleys - F1



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