Unbelievably it’s been 336 days since I last shot a competitive game of club rugby here in Dunedin. That was finals day last year on the 27th July at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
That day I shot the club finals as the season 2019 wrapped up with the Colts, Premier 2, Women’s and Premier titles all being decided under the roof. Since then there’s been training sessions, all sorts of representative games, an offseason, training sessions, preseason games, more preseason games and even more preseason games.
But now, 336 days after the premier final ended, competitive club rugby returned to Dunedin as the Senior Grade got underway. This week, as I was viewing the club draw and deciding how to attack the weekend a Facebook message popped up on my phone. While this is not usual and a fairly unspectacular event, the contents of the message asked if I would come down to Watson Park to shoot some of the Harbour clubs preseason games today. With nothing else fixed into my calendar until next weekend, I marked the games in and hoped that on Saturday, Watson Park would be a still, tropical sunlit Oasis. The perfect place to see the return of club rugby to Dunedin. I hoped.
Best of luck, everyone.
At the time of publication the here are the current Saturday Scores: If you know any scores, add them in a comment below. Seniors Harbour defeated Kaikorai 44 – 34 Otago Secondary School 1st XV
Waitaki Boys 1st XV drew South Otago High School 1st XV 17all Wakatipu HS 1st XV defeated Combined Co Ed 38 – 3 Otago Boy’s 2nd XV defeated St Kevins 1st XV 28 – 12 Southland Boys HS defeated v Mt Aspring HS 57 – 3 Dunstan HS 1st XV defeated John McGlashan 1st XV 22 – 21 King’s HS 1st XV defeated Otago Boys HS 1st XV 28 – 16
Last week, if you were looking to see some live rugby you had two or three option’s around Dunedin, this week there’s more than twenty matches happening. That’s not including any out of town Secondary School matches, all the matches in the Southern Regional competition and the preseason matches scheduled in the Central Region. This is a great sign as it means community sport is back and it also means that clubs can get members into their club-rooms to enjoy some hospitality and boost their bank balances. Takings from bar sales is an important revenue stream for clubs and with a shortened season, clubs are going to be doing it tough for a long time yet. Hopefully they are well supported by their members.
While the preseason continues here in Dunedin, the Southern Regional competition kicked off today, along with Southland’s Galbraith Shield and other competitions around the country.
Best of luck, everyone.
PS: At the time of writing I don’t have any fulltime scores, but if you know any it’d be great if you could leave them in the comments below.
What a poignant moment this was. After months of isolation, social distancing, Covid 19 testing, hand sanitizing and wearing masks community sport finally made its comeback in Dunedin and across New Zealand. On a chilly but fine afternoon in Dunedin, people were free to gather, chat, hug, shake hands and catch-up without any restrictions. Then, at the end of 80 minutes, the teams gathered and shook hands. For the record, Green Island defeated Zingari Richmond but more importantly here in New Zealand now sit on 23 days with zero Covid 19 cases.
Rugby’s back! I’ve been just a little bit excited!! As I packed my gear for the Montecillo ground here in Dunedin I was trying to remember what the last rugby related event was I shot. It was back in early March I think. It might have been a preseason game or a training run. Now, three months later on a fine June day in Dunedin, with the temperature sitting on 8 degrees and a definite winter bite in the air, I find myself still shooting preseason rugby. What strange times these are.
At this time of year usually season have fallen apart, injuries have taken hold, teams eye an unbeaten season and plans for a run in to the semi-finals are starting to form. Yet, here in the 2020 season, on a chilly June afternoon, I found myself heading off to see some preseason rugby. Simply happy to be seeing a game of rugby.
Zingari Richmond Premier 2 vs Green Island Premier 2 (13.06.20)
An unpublished image from a series following a day at Bathgate Park following the Southern club sides playing at home. Here, members of the Southern premier side watch the 2:45pm premier match played in June, 2019.
From an unpublished 2016 series following a club day at Oriental Rongotai in Wellington. Here, a supporter watches the premier match between Oriental Rongotai and Poneke at the Polo Grounds in Miramar.
A published image from a series following the Southern Magpies club side throughout the 2015 club season. Here, forwards walk through a scrum while practising exit plays on a Thursday night training session.
Magpies, July, 2015.
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