It has been a busy few weeks for the Kurow Rugby Club and it is only about to get busier.
The country club has played two preseason matches with a lot of emotion involved the Jarrad Blackler memorial match against Mackenzie and then another against Ashley Rugby Club, wearing the Upper Waitaki strip for the first time in 25 years.
And as players prepare for the rugby season opener next weekend, the club will also unveil its new lights on its home ground.
The memorial match against Mackenzie Rugby Football Club was an important fixture for the teams to remember Blacker, who died six years ago, Kurow coach Tim Anderson said.
“We didn’t win that, but Jarrad was a special person and we like to remember him in that game – and both clubs do,” he said.
Two weeks later, Kurow ditched its traditional red jersey and opted for historic strip that had not seen the light of day for 25 years.
An Upper Waitaki shirt – with blue and red hoops – was worn, and the pre season match against Ashley Rugby Club was played in Otematata.
Wearing the old colours was inspired by a fundraiser in Otematata, and it felt fitting to wear the former Upper Waitaki strip for the occasion, Anderson said.
However, all the jerseys were brand new and were raffled off for the club after the match.
While Kurow went down 22-21 in the final minute of the match, the players showed a lot of heart and the game was played in good spirit.
A lot of new and young talent took to the field.
“We didn’t have the biggest forward pack there, but the boys played well and showed a lot of grit.
“It was a step up from two weeks earlier and we’re looking forward to getting into the rest of the season.
“We’re happy with where we are at with the players that we’ve got.”
April 17 would mark the fruition of years of planning and hard work, as the club unveiled its new home ground lights.
There would be a game between Kurow and Union president’s grade teams about 4.30pm, before the official opening of the lights about 6pm, followed by a game between Kurow and Maheno at 7pm.
Kurow Rugby committee member Calum Reid said discussions about lights first began in 2004, but about three years ago designs were created and fundraising really started.
The club received grants from Network Waitaki, Trust Aoraki, and Meridian Energy, as well as incredible support from the community.
“Network Waitaki have really gone out of their way to support the club.
“They gave us some funding but they’ve gone over and beyond with supporting us with labour to get them in – they’ve been really good,” Reid said.
Club treasurer Ann Parker said there would also be bouncy castles and family entertainment for everyone to enjoy at the opening.
The club would be taking gold coin donations, and all money raised would go towards the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust.