By Robyn Bristow
A dedicated finals day field will greet North Canterbury’s competition grade rugby players at Mandeville on Saturday.
The wet winter has wreaked havoc with sports fields around the region but the Ohoka Rugby Club will be hosting the North Canterbury rugby finals showpiece on protected turf.
A new No 1 field has been set up beside the club rooms, with a new north-south orientation. It’s a patch usually only trodden by Rippa rugby teams, so the grass has stood up strongly to 2017’s sodden season.
Mandeville is often the most weather-proof ground in North Canterbury, but this year the lit field was put into temporary retirement and the usual No 1 beside Mandeville Rd took a beating.
This necessitated a plan to change tack for finals day.
The ground layout should bring spectators closer to the action and the hospitality, Ohoka president Mike Prattley says.
“We have a large junior club and there’s always appetite for good coffee and food on match days. We hope the setup does the job.”
Club supporters, including Hellers, will be on hand with a range of food truck-style winter warmers and Mandeville’s professional caterer, Country Catering, will serve food from nearby.
Ohoka Rugby Club last hosted North Canterbury Finals Day in 2012, when it became the first of several clubs to regularly run the day.
The last time round, the main field ran parallel to the clubrooms.
Ohoka is celebrating its 90th year and has an Under 11.5 team competing on the day.
Ohoka teams will be helping to run the event and parking will be available in the grounds, including a large new space behind the netball court. Gates prices are $5 an adult with proceeds being returned to support the North Canterbury club and representative system.