TRIBUTES to outgoing director of rugby Ian Calder for his sterling three years' service as player and coach at

Basingstoke flowed at Down Grange on Saturday. Senior officials, members and supporters were fulsome in their praise of Ruffy during the pre-match lunch and after the game against Redruth, the last of the season.

Basingstoke chairman Steve Tristram led the way at lunch, when Calder was joined by his first team. Dr Tristram said: "We are sorry to part company, as you are a good friend and you've been a very fine player for Basingstoke.

"All of us at the club really do wish you all the best for the future, Ian."

Tristram then announced the club and first team boys had bought him a patio heater - for use at his renowned barbecues - as a leaving gift.

Basingstoke chairman of playing John Byett then made a speech in which he humorously riled Kiwi Ruffy for having Irish and English sons!

He added: "You've always told us how great southern hem-isphere rugby is but you have had to put up with England winning the world cup - and we've enjoyed reminding you of that!"

Byett went on to praise Calder as a player. He said: "Over the last three seasons, you've scored well over 700 points and tried to get the team to play rugby in the right style.

"Your commitment and tack-ling have been of the highest order and you've missed only a handful of games.

"We will miss your weekly column in The Gazette, for which we had to reach for our New Zealand-to-England dictionaries for translation!

"You've done a great job for us and we hope to see you, Victoria and the family down here in the future."

Basingstoke president John Evans said: "He has worked very hard for the club but has been hindered by the lack of depth in our playing strength.

"We have enjoyed his company and I would like to thank him for all he has done over the past three years.

"His family bought a house and settled in Basingstoke, which has been something we do appreciate."

Basingstoke secretary and general manager David Crabbe said: "He has been a very good and very committed player at the club, always giving 100 per cent every game."

Barry Champion, one of the club's leading sponsors, said: "Ian is a man I respect greatly as a friend and I'd like to thank him for all he has done at the club. He probably could carry on playing if he wanted and, if he did, I think we would see more of his qualities as a player."

Sadly, fly-half Calder didn't go out on a winning note, as 'Stoke lost 31-19 to their Cornish visitors, Redruth.

But it didn't affect the merriment after the game, which saw Calder presiding at his final kangaroo court!

On his time at 'Stoke, Calder said: "I've had three very good years here and made a lot of good friends, but it's time to move on now and I'm really okay with it."