Gutted . . . Disappointed the public will not be able to come to the Farmlands Cup match in Weston are (from left) Farmlands Oamaru manager Steffan Souness, Maheno rugby club committee member Marty McAtamney, organising committee member Sally-Ann Donnelly, Valley club custodian Don Roney and Valley president Hamish Loe. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

North Otago’s country rugby clubs are banding together for a night to remember.

Valley, Maheno and Kurow will host a fundraising dinner on February 3, the night before the Highlanders and Crusaders’ pre-season Farmlands Cup match at the Weston Domain.

Highlanders and Crusaders players, coaches, management and staff will attend the dinner at The Loan and Merc.

The soldout event, named the Farmlands Dinner, will have 30 tables of 10 people with either a Highlanders or Crusaders player at each table.

Valley president Hamish Loe said the dinner sold out ‘‘exceptionally quickly’’ through word of mouth, and there was now a waiting list.

‘‘It’s just been very well supported by the community so it’s been great,’’ Loe said.

As Farmlands Cup was designed to be a ‘‘country match’’, Valley wanted to involve Maheno and Kurow too. Each club was putting three items up for auction on the night, and had an allocation of tables.

Loe said it was important all country clubs had the opportunity to be involved.

‘‘Kurow would love to host the game and Maheno would love to host it out there . . . so for them not to have the opportunity, I think it’s fair of us to spread the benefit of it around and hopefully they can support it along with us. I’d rather everyone gets a bit of benefit from it.’’

Preparations for the Farmlands Cup match were well under way too.

Valley’s cricket team had stopped playing at the Weston Domain to try help the grass grow longer, food stalls were organised, Sally-Ann Donnelly was organising the catering, the Farmlands corporate area was expected to host about 700 people, and all the corporate tents had sold out and now had a waiting list.

Different divisions of the Valley Sports Club were taking responsibility for the security, bar, parking, gate sales and tickets.

‘‘Everything, hopefully, touch wood, is going as well as it can,’’ Loe said.
The addition of Sir Dave Dobbyn to the entertainment line-up was ‘‘the icing on the cake’’

‘‘As soon as people heard Dave Dobbyn was singing [the corporate tents] sold out within a couple of hours.’’

It was an exciting time for Valley to host a big event but it was especially important for the young children.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity for them to see the Highlanders and Crusaders up close . . .and hopefully see their heroes.

‘‘It’s great opportunity for the Valley Rugby Club . . .to host such an event, and in progress we’ll all hopefully benefit from it and that’ll be put back into the club and all the members.’’

Entrance to the game would be off Airdale Rd, and there would be $5 parking available. All proceeds would go towards Weston Home and School.

Vaccination passes would be required.

Farmlands Cup tickets — $25 for adults and $10 for children — went on sale on Monday, and can be bought from Farmlands Oamaru and Kurow, or online through Ticketek. Kickoff is at 5.30pm on February 4.