Peter Rowe remembers his first game in Steelform Wanganui colours very well.
Picked at age 20 in 2003 to front up against Manawatu, Rowe would eagerly run onto the field and then five minutes later be running back off ” sinbinned.
“I’m pleased that didn’t happen today,” said the 33-year-old after leading Wanganui to regain the Bruce Steel Memorial Cup from Horowhenua Kapiti in his 100th first-class game for the province on Saturday.
Thinking back to that young man 12 years ago, is there anything Rowe would have done differently?
After all, it’s been a stellar amateur career which has seen him involved in an NPC Third Division championship win, two Pink Batts Heartland Meads Cup championships and last year’s Lochore Cup victory.
He was also named the 2012 Heartland Player of the Year at the national rugby awards, and has been a fixture in the NZ Heartland XV, captaining the side since 2012.
“I wouldn’t change anything, it’s been really great,” he said. “The passion’s still there. Probably even more so, when you look around, you’re one of the older guys, but you don’t feel it.”
Wanganui ushered in eight new players to Heartland rugby on Saturday at the Levin Domain, and in a way, it is having that constant stream of fresh faces over the years which has helped Rowe maintain his interest and drive for playing at this level ” no two seasons have been the same.
“It changes [every year]. These young players.
“It’s special to help them out in some way.”
Always looking at the bigger picture, most important for Rowe was a victory not so much for his milestone 100th, but how it relates to the rest of 2015.
It was Wanganui’s first win in Game 1 since 2012 and lets them start on the right path for making the Meads Cup playoffs.
The skipper is very clear the team does not want to be the “runt of the litter” this year.
As it was an away fixture, both Rowe and teammate Fraser Hammond, who played his 50th match, will be properly honoured at Cooks Gardens this Saturday for the first home game of the campaign against back-to-back Meads Cup winners Mid Canterbury.
In Levin, Rowe jogged out alone for the clash, with Hammond following by himself moments later before the rest of the team joined them on the field.
Rowe becomes the 12th player to have made 100 first-class games or more for the province.
The other Wanganui centenarian players are:
- Trevor Olney (146 games, 1973-1990)
- Graeme Coleman (144, 1973-1983)
- Bob Barrell (139, 1963-1977)
- Adrian Bull (134, 1985-1999)
- Bruce Middleton (119, 1974-1984)
- Andrew Donald (118, 1976-1984)
- Jerome Nahona (111, 1989-2000)
- Guy Lennox (110, 1990-1998)
- Kerry Whale (100, 1985-1998)
- Brent Dallison (100, 1975-1983)
- Jason Hamlin (100, 1992-2001)
- Peter Rowe (100*, 2003-2015)
By Jared Smith – Wanganui Chronicle