Highlanders and Crusaders meet in a southern field of dreams - farmer Fred Booth's paddock
The heavens opened just before kickoff, but like a true farmer, the crowd of nearly 7000 people in Fred Booth's paddock near Gore welcomed it with open arms.
Super Rugby made its way to the deep south on Thursday evening as the Crusaders clawed their way back to claim a 19-all draw with the Highlanders in the inaugural Farmlands Cup in Booth's paddock at Waimumu.
The Gore district needed rain anyway and it would have taken more than a light passing shower to upset the crowd - many of whom had filtered across from the Southern Field Days site in time to fly a Highlanders flag on the embankment.
Nothing would have wiped the smile of the face of the ground's namesake, Fred Booth, who fittingly had a prime spot right on the half way line of his very own rugby ground.
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Booth allowed the Southern Field Days committee to transform one of his paddocks, where he usually grazed cattle, into a ground fit for Super Rugby stars to play on.
"This is just fantastic. Look at all the people around here. It's absolutely amazing. I never ever envisaged anything like this in my life - it's fantastic."
His only complaint?
"They need to play some good old rock 'n' roll instead of this stuff."
Also feeling proud as punch was Southern Field Days caretaker Jack Cooper, who along with a small army of volunteers, including some from the Gore District Council, has spent many hours getting the ground into tip-top shape.
They might have sown the grass twice, but they've silenced the critics who thought the ground would never be good enough for the game to go ahead.
"It's just brilliant. People just don't realise the effort that goes into this sort of thing," Cooper said.
"In the final set up in the last few days there's been probably four or five of us here working fulltime on it to get it ready. That's taken a bit of manpower away from Field Days but it's been good.
"We've pretty much lived here for a few days."
Gore and districts mayor Tracy Hicks said the rugby game topped off what had been a great day at Field Days.
"It's a fantastic occasion and a great crowd."