Highland fling draw crowds

All Blacks frontrower Ben Franks wasn't aiming for a scrum when he crouched, paused and engaged at Hororata yesterday.

He was putting his weight behind a winning caber toss instead.

The Cantabrian was competing as a novice at the Hororata Highland Games, testing his strength and skills in the Scottish heavy athletics events which also included hammer throwing, sheaf over pole and stone-put.

Tom Wilson wore his horned hat as he and fellow members of the Malvern Collie Club team competed in the tug-o-war heats at the Hororata Highland Games.
Tom Wilson wore his horned hat as he and fellow members of the Malvern Collie Club team competed in the tug-o-war heats at the Hororata Highland Games.

Thousands of people descended on the small rural Canterbury town  to support a bid to raise money for the earthquake-hit community.

Hororata Community Trust spokesman Mark Stewart said inaugural Hororata Highland Games was a huge success with about 10,000 people turning up to enjoy a day of Scottish fun.

"We had great weather, lots of food, and great competition. Lots of people have come and congratulated us on the day."

The heavy athletic events were crowd favourites with kilt-wearing professional and novice competitors entertaining crowds. The public also got to test their strength in the tug-of-war event.

Novice competitor Henry Richards said he had come from Australia to attend the games and support his hometown.

"It's been a great day and to see little old Hororata pull together and come up with something like this is fantastic."

With  opponents like Franks and Danny Devine - the man who carried Shrek the Sheep out of Bendigo Station - Richards set himself an achievable goal of beating his nephew in the events, he said.

"It was great to have Ben Franks here. It was quite entertaining, and a lot of good fun. When Ben Franks was tossing his caber all the farmers were getting behind him chanting 'crouch, pause, engage' "

Tossing a caber was "quite tricky" and involved a bit of the "crouch, pause and engage" technique, he said.

Fairfax Media