Cam Rowland has had quite the year.
After captaining Valley to Citizens Shield glory this year, Rowland made his North Otago debut in the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Canterbury and then went on to captain the representative side in the absence of Sam Sturgess.
The 29-year-old had been around the North Otago squad for a few years, but had never managed to get on the paddock for the Old Golds before this year.
It came as a surprise, then, to find out he was starting against Canterbury.
“It’s a bit harder on the lungs and obviously a bit more physical, but it’s good,” Rowland said.
He started running more during the Covid-19 lockdown, which had helped his fitness.
“I always hated running, but once I got the old body going it was all right.”
He said the North Otago side was improving each week as its players gained more experience at a higher level.
“They are excited, just enjoying their time and giving it a crack.
“It’s good for the guys who are on the verge [of selection] when they come back next year it will give them a lift.”
Playing for the Ranfurly Shield was a highlight of this year’s rugby season, but Rowland said lifting the Citizens Shield for the second time in three years was just as special.
Adding to the emotion of the 2020 victory was “getting it done for [Cam] Schultz”, a Valley stalwart who died in a workplace accident in December last year.
It had been a good year for the Valley Sports Club – Valley Karaka won this year’s North Otago premier netball competition, and the Valley B rugby team won the Burns Shield.
“We have had a few good nights [at the Valley clubrooms] this year,” Rowland said.
Off the field, Rowland works as a stock agent for Silver Fern Farms.
“December through February it’s all go,” he said.
“During rugby season it’s not as busy, so it works quite well.”
Rowland hopes to one day take over his father Peter’s farm at Enfield.
Peter also played for Valley and North Otago “never used to let me forget”, Rowland said.
“Not a word.”