Border Seniors prepare for night rugby

By Jared Smith

It is the annual ‘Duck Shooting’ night games at Dallison Park in Waverley this Friday, and the Border Seniors want to do their part for the spectacle just as well as their high flying Premier team.

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Waverley Harvesting Border, with the undeniable array of attacking talent they have attracted to South Taranaki, are always after WRFU silverware and thus grab most of the headlines.

Meanwhile, usually down the bottom end of Senior grade, the more humble local lads in the ‘B’ team were content to just plug away, take the heavy licks from stronger sides, and enjoy a quiet Saturday beer afterwards.

However, Border pulled the upset of the WRFU 2020 season in their final game, when from dead last on the points table they came back in the second half to overrun then third-placed Utiku Old Boys 33-12.

Coming into this season under coach Neihana Parkes, Border went toe-to-toe with 2020’s runners up Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic at Spriggens Park – a penalty in front near fulltime costing them in the 16-14 loss – before comfortably beating Speirs Food Marton 25-5 last week in Waverley.

To put this in perspective, Border lost those games in 2020 by scores of 59-0 and 26-15.

“To be fair, we didn’t think we were going to have a team – the boys just come out of the woodwork, and they’re putting in a decent amount of work for what we want to achieve,” said Parkes, who brings his experience from Premier rugby.

Like the Premier squad, the Seniors also switched to an extended Wednesday training session and have seen positive results.

“When we were running Tuesday-Thursday, everyone was, ‘aw, Tuesday’s a fitness day’, and wouldn’t show up.

“It’s a good change in recent years. All we can do is build on what we’ve started.

“We’re aiming for that top spot.”

Now with a run of home games, it will soon be revealed if Border can truly turn their fortunes around after years in the Senior points cellar, starting with Marist Buffalos on Friday.

While Parkes has a group of predominately young players, he is confident they have enough experience to adjust to night-time football, where the depth perception lowers and there is dew on the ball.

“The majority know what to expect, we’re just ready to go. It’s tightening the little things up.”

The older veterans of the team are Dean Barr and Mark Crawford, while running the cutter is Tyrone Albert, another with recent Premier experience.

Parkes is also being assisted by hockey exponent Hollie Brasting, who started as team strapper and ended up as the manager.

The  Senior draw is

April 30: Border vs Buffalos, Dallison Park, 6.15pm.

May 1 :

  • 1pm Pirates vs Kaierau, Spriggens Park
  • 1pm Taihape vs Hunterville, Memorial Park 1
  • 1pm Utiku OB vs Ratana, Memorial Park 2
  • 1pm Marton vs Ruapehu, Marton Park.
  • 2pm Counties vs Celtic, McNab Domain;

Please find the new games as follows:

April 30th 6.15 pm Border


Buffalos Waverley
May 1st 1.00 pm Pirates


Kaierau Spriggens Park
2.00 pm Counties


Celtic McNab Domain

June 12th 2.30 pm Pirates


Celtic Spriggens Park
  1.00 pm Kaierau


Border KCC
  1.00 pm Buffalos


Counties Spriggens Park