365 days of gratitude

October 13, 2018

There was a time when the Ranfurly Shield stayed stubbornly with one team.

Auckland had held it for ages when they challenged North Otago and for a few glorious minutes the score line was North Otago 5 – Auckland – 0.

The former scored no more points and Auckland added 359 by the time the final whistle blew.

Then Canterbury won the shield and staved off multiple challenges.

But in recent years challengers have managed to win and the shield has had several different homes.

Today, for the second time in recent years, it has come back to Otago.

Last time the team held it for little more than a week.

This time it will stay on the right side of the Waitaki River for at least the summer, and fingers crossed, maybe a bit longer.

However, long it’s in the hands of the blue and gold team, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Tonight I’m grateful to be on the winning side.


Rugby history – kickoff goes backwards

October 27, 2013

Yesterday Meads Cup final will go down in rugby history.

Not for the score – Mid Canterbury 26 – North Otago 20, but this kickoff.

When North Otago fullback Ed Keohane restarted the game during the first half the unbelievable happened.

The kick-off not only failed to go the required 10 metres, but was picked up by the wind and carried backwards all the way over his own dead ball line.


Thanks for the stadium, Malcolm

August 8, 2011

Malcolm Farry and the team promoting the Forsyth Barr stadium have faced a barrage of criticism over the design, location and cost.

They stayed firm, focussed on building a stadium we could be proud of and it opened on Friday – more or less on time and to budget.

That was no small achievement and the stadium itself is a wonderful asset not just for Dunedin but the lower South Island and, at least until the rest of New Zealand catches up, the country.

Thank you Malcolm, you and your team have done a really good job.

Snow threatened yesterday morning and there was a polar wind blowing when we got to Dunedin an hour before kick-off in the match between North Otago and West Coast. Inside the stadium and out of the wind, though the temperature was merely cool but not uncomfortable.

We were on the lower level of the south stand near the 22m line and had a good view of the whole field. The loos were spotless and plentiful – 38 loos and 14 hand basins with high speed hand dryers for women  at either end of each level and men reported more than enough for them. 

I have just a couple of recommendations for improvements – a responsible host might consider selling water for less than $5 a bottle when beer cost just $1 more; and there would be a market for hot drinks as well as cold.

Hundreds of North Otago people had come down to inspect the stadium and cheer on the team. We were rewarded when halfback Hamish McKenzie went over for the historic first inter-provincial try at the stadium.

North Otago kept the lead, although the final score , 29-19, probably flattered the team .

For more words and some photos of the stadium and yesterday’s game check out this baby makes it all worth while by  Hayden Meikle  and a match report in the ODT and Mydeology’s day 5 of opt-out watch Forsyth Barr stadium bonanza edition.

Former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin and sitting councsellor Lee Vandervis debated stadium funding on Afternoons.


Forsyth Barr Stadium opens

August 5, 2011

The controversy over Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium continued this week with the news that Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) won’t be able to pay an $8m dividend to the city council. Part of that would have hleped fund the stadium.

That announcement was followed by news that negotiations between the stadium and  promoters of Rod Stewart and  Meat Loaf had broken down. It is, however, a moot point whether big name acts like that should need the venue for free.

But the stadium was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister John Key  so like it or not, it’s up and running.

And I do like it  – the only stadium in the country with a roof, and able to grow grass under that roof.

The opening game will be played this afternoon between university colleges Knox and Selwyn and on Sunday North Otago plays West Coast.

 


Untrue colours

May 30, 2011

Towards the end of my time at high school the board decided on a uniform change.

The grey gym frock which we wore with short sleeved shirts and socks in summer and long sleeved shirts and black tights in winters was to be replaced with a red tartan kilt in winter and a blue dress in summer.

“Blue? Why blue when the school colours were red and black?” we asked.

Those on the right side of the Waitaki River who are interested in rugby, and some who are not, are asking a similar question today: green, why green?

The question comes in response to the decision to change the Highlanders’ jersey from blue, gold and maroon the colours of Otago, North Otago and Southland, to green the colour of um, the grass they play on and some other province.

Respondents to an ODT poll have voted 90% (1321) to 10% (148) to keep the southern colours.

The Facebook page has attracted 1,853 likes and lots of comments including this from National’s Dunedin MP (and rugby referee) Michael Woodhouse:

 . . .  As for this happening because of the many players drafted in from outside the franchise area – sorry to be blunt but it’s not about you! You will leave. The fans won’t. this is about the thousands of fans who support this team through thick and thin over the past 15 years. Not a single one of them relates to anything but blue, maroon and gold. C’mon guys, be big enough to stop or reverse the announcement.

And an online petition has been launched saying:

Tradition and recognition is a huge part of the sport and yet the Highlanders Management seek to dissociate the Highlanders from the region. Sign this petition and Boycott the Force game!

The Highlanders have struggled for several seasons, severely testing the loyalty of fans. This year they’ve had some good wins and have been  regaining  support. This silly change in colours threatens to lose it again.

Have the people behind it spent too much time at the bottom of rucks?


39 – 18 to North Otago

October 31, 2010

The sun shone in North Otago yesterday and so did the rugby team – winning the Meads Cup by beating W(h)anganui 39 -18.


No pressure

October 30, 2010

Southland started the rugby season with the Ranfurly Shield but now it’s moved north – though thankfully not off the Mainland.

Otago hit rock bottom.

Today North Otago has the opportunity to bring a little rugby pride back to the right side of the Waitaki River when the Old Golds play W(h)anganui in the final game for the Meads Cup.

No pressure, boys, but all fingers and toes are crossed (and they’ll need to be if Keeping Stock’s assessment is correct).


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