Life Member Doug Betts 85 years has died

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I am sad to report that long serving club member Doug Betts passed away on the 14th November.
His Funeral was held on Thursday 17th November, where Club members present gave a guard of honour.


Doug Betts – Life Member

Dec 1930 – Nov 2016 (85 years)

Doug started his playing career for Southern in the mid-1940s. He was a halfback in the 1946 Southern 5th Grade team. Interestingly his 1st five was fellow life member Ian Stevens (who went on to play Hooker for Otago).

Doug left Dunedin not long after this for work opportunities and relocated to Tapanui. He continued to play rugby and represented Country at halfback in the 1950s.

On his return to Dunedin it was back to Southern and from this point onwards he remained at the Club as a member until his recent passing.

He coached for a few years, and in 1960 coached the Southern Colts to an unbeaten season. They played 15 won 15, points for 378, points against 36 – an impressive season.

As an administrator Doug did it all and was a dedicated member of the Club committee for over 20 years. He was known as a “doer” rather than “I’m gunna” man. Doug would roll up his sleeves and get stuck in and was highly respected by his fellow members for this approach.

He served as the Club Captain from 1965-67, and President from 1980-81. He was deservedly honoured with a Life Membership of the Club in 1985.

He was heavily involved when the original Clubrooms were demolished, along with houses along the Bathgate Park side of Helena St to make way for the new Clubrooms. A builder by trade, Doug built the current Clubrooms that were opened in 1966. In 1974 there was the addition of the changing rooms, and later a lounge extension. In the 80s this was further modified with the lowering of the ceiling and a kitchen put in, all of which Doug was involved with.

In the early days Doug was heavily involved in the Carnivals the Club would host on Bathgate Park, with a game of Crown & Anchor being played somewhere out of site of the law. He was chief cook along with the late Wayne Proctor in the kitchen for all of the Steinlager Villages in the 1990s. Doug’s scones were a favourite of the workers during these massive and successful weeks for the Club.

He was a social man and enjoyed a beer and a chat after games. If he got into full flight, out would come his saxophone and he would entertain others during the evening.

Doug was a vociferous supporter. Most of Southern’s games were at Carisbrook and it was not uncommon for 1500-2000 people to be on the terrace for a Club game. Despite this size crowd, players would always hear Doug on the field yelling in his high pitched voice “in yah go White!”

He was a proud supporter. Eion Willis recalls walking in the clubrooms after a tense final on Carisbrook against University A, when their first five Paul Turner missed 3 drops goals, shaving the uprights in the dying stages of the match. Upon bringing the banner into the Club, Doug walked up to Eion and said well done “we did em like a dinner!” Doug has been a long term financial member of the Magpie’s Supporters Club.

Outside of rugby Doug had a real love of fishing – he was also a Life Member of the Otago Anglers Association. He was also a keen lawn bowler for St Clair.

Doug will always be remembered as a popular and dedicated member of the Southern Rugby Club