Highlanders and Crusaders meet in a southern field of dreams - farmer Fred Booth's paddock video

Stuff.co.nz

Gore boy Marty McKenzie talks about playing for the Crusaders at Waimumu.

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.

Highlanders fan Brad Crickett, 11, of Otautau, in his Stags rugby jersey at the match between the Highlanders and ...
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

Highlanders fan Brad Crickett, 11, of Otautau, in his Stags rugby jersey at the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders in farmer Fred Booth's paddock near Gore.

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.

READ MORE: 
Late try snatches draw 
* Paddock fit and ready for Super Rugby stars
Super Rugby champion Highlanders beaten by Racing 92 in Hong Kong
Highlanders and Crusaders eye Fred Booth's paddock
Highlanders and Crusaders to meet in Waimumu farmer Fred Booth's paddock 
Highlanders endure mixed reaction to alternative jersey

 
Ollie Lemin, 9, front, and Lachie Riley, 9, both of Myross Bush, cheer on the Highlanders.
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

Ollie Lemin, 9, front, and Lachie Riley, 9, both of Myross Bush, cheer on the Highlanders.

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?

Fred Booth is a happy man as he watches the Highlanders warm up on his rugby field.
RACHAEL KELLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Fred Booth is a happy man as he watches the Highlanders warm up on his rugby field.

"They need to play some good old rock 'n' roll instead of this stuff."

Ad Feedback

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.

A scrum forms during the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders in farmer Fred Booth's paddock in Waimumu, near Gore.
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

A scrum forms during the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders in farmer Fred Booth's paddock in Waimumu, near Gore.

"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."

The new Farmlands Cup, which was up for grabs during the preseason match.
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

The new Farmlands Cup, which was up for grabs during the preseason match.

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."

Highlanders flags fly high on the embankment at Fred Booth Park near Gore, where the Highlanders played the Crusaders in ...
RACHAEL KELLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Highlanders flags fly high on the embankment at Fred Booth Park near Gore, where the Highlanders played the Crusaders in the innaugural Farmlands Cup game on Thursday night.

Southern Field Days caretaker Jack Cooper checks the grass growth at Fred Booth Park one last time before a game between ...
RACHAEL KELLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Southern Field Days caretaker Jack Cooper checks the grass growth at Fred Booth Park one last time before a game between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers