Sometimes a message comes out of the blue to give people a push in the right direction.
That was the case for English halfback Owen Davey when he received a “random” message from North Otago Heartland coach Jason Forrest.
Davey (22) had just finished playing for Auckland’s Southside Rising in the Super Club Rugby Under-21 Championship, when he received a message from Forrest _ who had been at the championship – asking if he was interested in playing rugby in North Otago.
“I didn’t really know what to say, to be honest. I was a bit skeptical about moving down, but he said all the right things,” Davey said.
After making the move and playing the club rugby season for Valley, Davey has been named in the North Otago squad for the 2021 season.
He was thrilled to be selected in the team.
“It’s a competitive group of players, and I definitely didn’t expect to come and walk into the side, so I’ve got to put the hard yards in and then hopefully get to get out there and see what happens.”
It had been a challenging season for Davey. A recurring knee injury flared up, and then during the club season, he injured his shoulder’s AC joint.
That kept him off the field for a “big chunk” of the season, but he returned for the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Hawke’s Bay in Napier.
Davey came off the bench in the final minutes of the game, and relished the experience.
“It was a pretty special. I didn’t really know what a Ranfurly Shield was [but] speaking to other people and realising it’s quite a big thing here – it’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
He also returned in time for the Citizens Shield final against Kurow.
“It was pretty cool playing in the final. I mean, the result didn’t go our way, but it was good to see everyone get out and support.
“It was a pretty cool atmosphere.”
Valley was a “good match” for his game, he said.
“I loved it. There’s some good boys there and the social side of it made it a lot easier to get in amongst it, and find some friends.”
The Heartland season, which was supposed to start last weekend, was postponed due to Alert Level 4. The team was training from home individually through plans set out by training and conditioning coach Glen Sturgess.
“It’s definitely not ideal especially at this stage of the season but hopefully everyone can do their bits from home and keep fit and when we get the chance to come out we’ll all be ready to go.”
Davey and partner Amiee Hay moved from Cornwall, England, to Auckland in March last year to explore New Zealand, and for Davey to progress his rugby career.
He played for Auckland’s Papatoetoe Rugby Club last season, which was a “big culture shock”. He was grateful to Hay, who played netball for Valley, and her support in their move.