TEIA Ambrosoli will move to second outright on the list of most capped players for Old Bar Clams Rugby Club when he trots out for Saturday's game against Wauchope Thunder at Wauchope.
The 35-year-old prop or hooker played his 150th match for the Clams last Saturday against the Manning Ratz. Unfortunately it wasn't a memorable milestone on the scoreboard for Ambrosoli, as the Ratz won 55-3.
He is now equal with Chad Lambert on 150 matches, trailing club great Richard Crook.
"Crooksie has 163 or 165 I think,'' Ambrosili said.
He's not sure if he'll be able to best Crook's record.
"It'll depend on how the body holds up,'' he said.
"I've got a few niggling injuries - we only have about four games to go this season and I'm looking forward to a break.''
Ambrosoli is no fair weather friend. He started playing with the Clams back in 2006 after originally turning out with the Ratz. However, the Ratz went into recess for a season so Ambrosoli headed to Old Bar. They were successful times for the Clams, especially when the Lower North Coast comp was formed in 2008.
"We had a good run for a few years - won a couple of grand finals,'' he said of the glory days.
"Just playing in a grand final was an unreal experience and to win a comp, well, that was great.''
However, Old Bar made the 2012 grand final and then everything went pear-shaped big time. The club didn't have the numbers to play in 2013 before returning in 2014. But for five long winters, the club didn't win a game and copped some fearful hammerings.
"It's been bit of a struggle,'' Ambrosoli said in a nomination for the sporting understatement of the decade.
He's not sure if he's played in more winning or losing games with the Clams.
"We had a good run in the first few years,'' he said.
"We won two matches last year - we beat the (Wallamba) Bulls and we partied after that one. But we haven't won a game this season.''
Player numbers is the biggest worry, he said. Ambrosoli argues that the Clams can put a competitive side on the park, but they lack depth, particularly when they get a few injuries. But his passion for the game hasn't dimmed
"Just about all my mates I've met through rugby,'' he said.
"And I'm still meeting people. I enjoy playing the game as much as ever, although it would be good if we won a few more games.''
And Ambrosoli, who is a life member of the Clams, said nothing beats rugby's after match functions, where players from both sides socialise.
"That's what makes rugby special and probably why I'm still playing,'' he said.
We just need more players, we turned the corner a bit last year, although this season has been tough again. But we'll keep tryingTeia Ambrosoli
He didn't play any junior rugby.
"My parents lived out Krambach way and it was too hard to commit to sport with all the travel,'' he explained.
However, he enjoyed watching rugby on TV and that's why he joined the Ratz in the days when Graham Sonter was the coach. He later graduated to playing representative football with the Mid North Coast Axemen in the Country Championships.
"That was an eye-opener,'' he said.
"Going from club rugby to that level - it was just so much quicker.''
Ambrosoli had a season with Wallamba in 2013 when the Clams were sidelined so add those games to the matches he had with the Ratz and he guesses he'd be close to the 200 mark.
His sister, Kym, now turns out with the Clams women's 10s team while younger brother Emilio has had a couple of runs with the club this year, so that's further incentive to keep having a run.
Ambrosoli hopes the Clams can again be a force in the LNC competition.
"We just need more players, we turned the corner a bit last year, although this season has been tough again. But we'll keep trying,'' he said.