SC union returns tidy profit

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013

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The South Canterbury Rugby Union is back in the black after reporting a $59,754 profit at its 124th annual meeting last night.

The figure was well above the budgeted surplus of $10,000 and follows last year's loss of $15,863.

It could have been better still had South Canterbury not been fined $5000 by the New Zealand Rugby Union for fielding an ineligible player in the Heartland Championship.

The SCRU was helped by grants from gaming trusts being up over $25,000 to $37,637.

The union's revenue was $253,600 against expenses of $193,846.

Finance committee chairman Mark Goodhew said the result continued the unpredictability of the financial years since 2004.

These ranged from a loss of $161,000 in 2004 to a surplus of $106,000 in 2006, a surplus of $66,000 in 2008 followed by small surpluses until last year's deficit.

The SCRU has an excess of assets over liabilities of $1.19 million.

While the financial result was good the annual report highlighted some concerns about teenage player numbers and interest in the provincial game.

The Heartland Championship gate takings were half of the previous year, with only $4659 collected.

South Canterbury hosted the Lochore Cup final in 2011 but the 2012 return equates to less than 100 paying spectators at each game on average.

Outfitting the Heartland team cost $13,352.

Goodhew said like a lot of Heartland unions the SCRU was fortunate it did not have to rely on gate takings, and while an increase in support for the team would be good it was sometimes difficult to attract people, especially if the weather was bad.

Chairman Brent Isbister said cost control continued to be a major driver for healthy finances.

He also noted there were significant challenges in keeping teenagers in rugby in the province, just as it was across the country.

"New thinking will be required by the administrators in our region to engage teenagers in our game."

Temuka's Ray Teahen was elected to serve a two-year term as president while the referees were successful in having Russell Leech elected vice-president, also unopposed.

The three nominations for the board saw the incumbents Isbister, Goodhew and Grant Norton fill the three positions, so again no election was necessary.

The only slight controversy came when Old Boys delegate Gerard O'Sullivan requested clubs stop poaching players off other teams but he was a lone voice.

"It is pretty disappointing when you put time and finances into players and other clubs just ring them up or approach them."

Isbister also noted it was a big year ahead with the union's 125th celebration, which would be based around the Hanan Shield game against Mid Canterbury, and he urged those interested to register as soon as possible.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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