St. Marks was established by Father H.W.F. Burvill who was the parish priest of St Phillips and St Marks churches in 1917.
During 1929 – 1932 Mr Sonny Petersen was the Secretary of the club. The club came into disfavour with the St Marks Congregation and a move was launched to take away the name of St Marks from the club because the club members never attended services. It was fortunate that Mr Petersen was the church organist and he could intercede on behalf of the club. A compromise was reached in which the club undertook to attend church service at least once a month. This compromise was embodied into the constitution of the club. The once a month has degenerated into once a year.
When World War II broke out many players enlisted such as Pieter Jones, E.S. Schoeman (Snr), Jan Newfeldt, G. Gronau, Wee Gronau, T. Adolph R. Stowman and others. This did not deter the club from continuing to operate. During the 1940’s the following officials served in these capacities: President B. Williams, Dada Kettledas while secretaries were George Calister, I. Coetzee, A. Eland (1933). B. Williams served as President and Secretary of Eastern Province Rugby Union.
During 1950’s and 1969’s E.R. Schoeman (Snr) and M.J. Anthony were the Presidents. E.R. Schoeman senior held various positions in Eastern Province Rugby Union namely President and Convener of the Eastern province Selection panel. He was such a staunch St Marks member that when he was asked by Eastern Province Union to relinquish the Presidency of St Marks he stepped down as Eastern Province President. He was one of the delegates who pressed that the word Coloured be removed from Eastern Province’s name. He was a champion for unification with Blacks. He also supported and championed the cause of an E.P. Federation.
Mr Moses J. Anthony affectionately known as Sarge linked up with St Marks after World War II in 1946 and represented St Marks as a delegate at Union meetings. He made such an impression upon the Union that when W.G.A. Nel was elected President of Eastern Province in 1955 he was elected as the Union’s Treasurer. He held this post for a record of 16 consecutive years when he became assistant Treasurer for two years. He was re-elected as Treasurer and is still the Eastern Province’s Treasurer till today. Sarge had also been one of the most respected Managers of Provincial Teams. His human approach towards his players and his concern for them generated a respect and idolization seldom encountered by other Managers at provincial level.
Mr Anthony is the first person on whom the South African Rugby Union has bestowed Colours for his contribution to the game of Rugby. He is at present Life President of the club.
James Zondie was another member who played a leading role in the administration of the club. His flair for administration was detected as a youngster and immediately utilised. His contribution towards the juniors of the club immeasurable. He held various positions which included the Presidency and Secretary. He held the position of Secretary until his death.
E.T. Seloane was a leading administrator in the post war era. He had a colourful career in Eastern Province and was once suspended at the President’s pleasure. Undaunted he persevered and was re-instated and became Secretary of Eastern Province and the South African Rugby Union.
H.J. Wilson took over the Presidency from J. Zondie in 1975 and is at present still the presiding officer. He is not a product of St Marks but the club has grown from strength under his guidance. Besides being President of St Marks he is also President of Eastern Province and Junior Vice President of SARU.
Other members who held Administrative positions in the club during the Post-War Era:
Secretary: James Ritzenberg, Desmond Julie, Charles Plaatjies, Sydney Coleman, Desmond Booysen.
Assistant Secretary: E. van Eyck.
Treasurer: Richard de Hart and George Rousseau.
Assistant Treasurer: R. de Hart and Abie Kleinbooi.
Club Captain: Martin (Vader) Booysen.
Public Relations Officer: Charles Kleinbooi
An outstanding achievement of the club is when the Second Team won the First Division club Old Boys in 1949. In 1933 St Marks annexed the First Division League, Kibler Shield, Ohlson trophy and the Eland Trophy.
The 1950 Rhodes Tournament held in Port Elizabeth could be regarded as a unique record for the club in a sense that two of its players namely Pieter Jones (Senior) 1931 and Pieter (Punchie) Jones (Junior) played at Fullback for Eastern Province Teams which won the coveted Rhodes Trophy. Although not belonging to St Marks Alwie Meyer (1950) and Cassiem Meyer (1931) was the other father and son combination.
A player who has made an impact not only in St Marks but in South African Rugby was Freddy Williams commonly known as Pappas. He was a soccer convert but made a dynamic debut as a right wing. His forceful running was a delight to witness and it was no surprise when he was selected as an Eastern province Wing in 1950. Who will ever forget that interception in the Final that he executed between Fanie Thuynsman (centre) and Jackie Lewis (wing) of Griqualand West sped all of 50 metres to dot the ball down underneath the posts only for Mohammed Agherdien (Present Director of Coaching of SARU) to miss the conversion. The match was eventually won when Alwie Meyer kicked a fine drop goal in the closing stages of the match.
Pappas played in 1951 – 1953 trial matches of the South African Coloured Rugby Board but could not make the National team. He switched from wing to number eight and was an instant success. In 1963 he captained Eastern Province to the Rhodes Tournament in Cape Town.
When he retired from playing he applied himself diligently to administration and made success of it. He made an impact as a level-headed delegate and an excellent debater. He was parochial in his loyalty to the club and followed the fortunes of the club with great intensity.
Peter (Punchie) Jones started as a fullback and ended up as a front row forward. His deadly boot be it touch kicking or kicking at goal broke the spirit of many opponents. His loyalty is beyond reproach. He was a fine exponent of the torpedo kick.
The 1950 Eastern Province team included also Basil (Bê) Domingo as a scrumhalf. Bê as he was known was a player with a terrific work rate and could cut any defence to ribbons.
During Skinnette (Lock) is one of the best known SARU players in the Republic. He played representative Rugby until 1969 when he captained Eastern Province in the last Rhodes Tournament which was held at City Parl. He also represented the SARCB against the Blacks on numerous occasions. He is not as active as he used to be. He attends matches and functions on a regular basis. His advice and expertise are always respected.
Willie Phillips (Front Row Forward) was the second SACRB player of St Marks. He was a solid scrummager and his tight-loose play made him a formidable opponent. He represented Eastern Province and SACRB with distinction. Who will forget his tragic death on that fateful Saturday? While he was playing he experiences chest pains. The pains were so severe that he left the field and ran home only to collapse and die the moment he entered his home. Gwyna Peters at one time also known as Gwyna Pillay was one of the clubs most prolific backline players St Marks ever produced. He was very versatile and could play any position – the backline with distinction. He was a pillar of strength around which Eastern province teams were constructed. He has a very distinguished career as a player.
Gaul Williams was a classy centre who had an eye for a gap and was a joy to watch.
Denston (Deom) Swingeni was a tigerish player who gave more than 100% of when playing. His physique enabled him to absorb and subdue whatever and whosoever opposed him. He was dedicated and developed loose forward play to a fine art.
Joe Ova was a fearless hooker who got through an enormous amount of work. He was regarded as a fourth flanker in broken play. He had uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Ernest L. Schoeman (Junior) is the oldest member of the club. He joined the club in 1940 and as a player represented Eastern province as a wing and participated in SACRB trials. He was regarded as a utility player and underlined this by playing hooker in a provincial game when injury forced the hooker to retire. He is not the only loyal to his club also served his Union with distinction. At club level he occupied the following positions: Delegate to Union meetings; Assistant Secretary; Secretary; Treasurer and Vice-President. At Union level: Finance Committee and Treasurer.
The name Desmond Booysen is synonymous with that of a conjurer. He has charmed both spectators and colleagues to such a degree that whenever he touches the ball magic is expected. He is player with a supreme match temperament, the greater the occasion, the more eloquent his rugby finesse comes to the fore.
He has no peer as a right wing and is respected throughout SARU ranks as the owner of the coveted number 14 jersey. Desmond does not pound the ground like a juggernaut but floats above the ground. His ability to swerve and sidestep either to the left or right has made him an invaluable asset for any team.
He made his debut in 1970 when he represented Port Elizabeth and was the rave of the rugby purist who prophesised a bright Rugby future for him. In 1972 he represented Eastern Province in two friendly fixtures. He became a permanent member of the Eastern Province Rugby Team in 1974 and formed with Desmond Kramer a combination which terrorised the rugby world. They became known as the Terrible Twins. He rated his try against City and Sururban in 1974 at City Park as his greatest although Eastern Province lost 23 – 13.
He regarded his tackle on Cheeky Watson in the riot match of 1978 as his greatest. Cheeky was about to score on the left hand side when Desmond launched himself 8 m to tackle Watson. He made contact with Watson’s back and on impact the ball flew over the dead ball line. This spectacular tackle caused 20 fence poles on the Lindsay Road side to snap simultaneously. The crowd encroached the field and made play impossible.
In the replay Edgar Maree was sent off and Booysen took over the scrumhalf berth. His 35m drop from near the grand stand touchline shall long be remembered.
In 1982 he received his South African Colours. He regarded his first try as a cherished moment. Charles Kleinbooi broke, drew the defence and sent him away on a 25m dash. He is the most capped SARU player with 6 caps.
In 1987 Desmond Booysen announced his retirement from Rugby. He played his last match against traditional rivals Western Province at Dan QeQe Stadium and closed a glorious career with a memorable try when he sped 75m to score.
In 1988 he decided to make a welcome return but confined his activities to club matches only. I 1989 he was recalled to Eastern Province and strangely enough it was in the Centenary Match on 8 July. He showed that if he wants to be serious he could claim his SARU no. 14 jersey any time.
Charles Peter Kleinbooi started his rugby career while he was a pupil at Dietrich Primary School in 1964. In that same year he linked up with St. Marks Rugby Football Club as a junior. He played in all divisions of the club and became a regular First Team player in 1976. His ability as a no.8 as well as a place kicker of note led to his selection in 1977 as a member of the Eastern Province Team.
Charles made the no. 8 birth his since 1978 and became a pillar in the side. His competitive spirit coupled with fearless driving carved gaps in the defence and created space for his team mates to score many tries.
He was a member of the Eastern Province Team which won the S.A. Cup in 1980 – 81 -83 and 84. In 1985 he captained Eastern Province in the S.A. Cup Final against Western Province which E.P. lost by 15 – %
Charles gained SARU Colours in 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1986. In these matches his prowess as a player was highlighted and he became known throughout the Republic.
Charles’ greatest ambition is either to coach or manage an Eastern Province team. Knowing him to be an achiever the goal should attained. He regards the late Mr A.R. Abass, H.J. Wilson and Mr J. Neethling as administrators who influenced his career the most. He regards Mr Mike Stallenberg as the best coach who trained him while he rates Desmond Booysen as his best team-mate.
Charles has done yeoman service for the club over the years as Public Relations Officer. His ability to organise earmarked him as a future administrator not only of the club but also of the Union.
Bruce Julie joined Swans Rugby Football Club in 1973 and played in the 4th division as a flanker and No.8. When Swans Rugby Football Club and Wallabies Rugby Football Club amalgamated to form Pumas Rugby Football Club the latter had so many loose forwards that he decided to play hooker. His ability as a hooker was awarded with the selection in the First Team occasionally. In the First Team he played with players such as Dullah Brown, George Davids, Dougie Allison, Sammy Stride and Tim Stride.
When Pumas Rugby Football Club split in 1982 into Swans and Wallabies, Bruce linked up with St Marks Rugby Football Club. St Marks had two good hookers and Bruce could not command a regular place in the teams. He was told that he had to switch from hooking to another position but was however determined to make the hooker’s berth his own in the First Team. When Errol Deysel was moved to Front Ranker he became the First Team Hooker. When Errol Deysel retired in 1983 the hooker’s position in the First Team was his.
In 1984 he was selected to represent Eastern province against Boland at Worcester. In this match he took 6 tightens and never looked back. He regards the highlight of his career the club nomination as Sportsman of the year in 1984. Another highlight was his selection in 1986 as hooker for the SARU’s President’s XV. His performance in this match culminated in his selection to the SARU team.
He regards his biggest disappointment as a player the incident when he was knocked out in a S.A. Cup semi-final in the first minute of the match.
Bruce is a conscientious clubman who will offer everything in order to see that projects prosper. He is at present serving the club as Secretary.
Vivian Raubenheimer learnt his rugby at Mosselbay. He was a student at Sao Bras Secondary School in 1976. While he was a student at Sao Bras he represented South Cape at the 1974 SASSA Tournament as a scrumhalf. He also played Senior Rugby for Mosselbay Club in 1974.
In 1977 – 1978 he represented South Western District Rugby Union as a scrumhalf.
In 1981 he enrolled at Dower Training College and played rugby for the club as a fullback. In 1983 he was selected by SATSSA as fullback at the Inter-College Tournament held in Kimberley. He also represented Eastern province in 1983 – 84 and participated in the S.A. Cup Finals against Tygerberg at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. His form made him the automatic choice as fullback for the SARU during the 1984 – 85 seasons.
He intends ending his career as a player at the end of the 1989 season and hopes to concentrate on the administration side of the game.
Vivian is a thorough person and takes his sport inn a serious light. It is amazing how tough and virile he is. He is absolutely fearless and revels when peppered with up and unders. He is known to the Rugby fraternity as “Die man van Staal.”