old gold

North Otago’s 25-23 victory over East Coast in Ruatoria, 07/09/13. Photo (c) Gisborne Herald

by Terry O’Neill.

Five Forks livestock manager Duncan Kingan’s “other life” complements his day job looking after heifers. Weekends and intervals during the weeks spanning the rugby season, he’s better known as Old Golds rugby manager, a position he’s held for the nine years since his long stint as Valley premier manager.

In May his season begins, and is hands on till competition ends in late October.

Once Heartland announces the draw, NZRU presides over a conference phone call with all Heartland managers,” Duncan (56) said. “Discussion on the season covers any new protocols and rule changes, and mirrors the ITM setup.” When the Heartland competition launches in late August, for each “away” fixture he contacts the opposition liaison officer to ensure any North Otago pre-match training and warmup requirements can be met.

“The first practice of the season extends to taking individual uniform measurements and generally to indicate management’s expectations of players, on and off the paddock.

Much of Duncan’s responsibility is behind the scene organisation such as flight and booking confirmations and maybe player schedule changes, discussions with the bus driver who meets the team at the airport and with the opposition’s liaison officer, hotel arrivals and any special requirements. Initial accommodation and bus bookings are handled by NORFU CEO Colin Jackson and Murray Pearson respectively.

Last Friday for Duncan dawned at 3.00 am to complete farming arrangements before joining the team bus at 7am in Oamaru to head off to Gisborne via Dunedin Airport. Relaxing was not an option until after phone calls to fine tune Air New Zealand arrangements for the accompanying massive baggage and airport arrival time. On his metal all day, in Gisborne after dinner Duncan assists with strapping and rubbing with team physiotherapist Phillipa Masoe.

Match day. 8am: light breakfast, 10am: players meet with coaches, 10.30 am: pre-match meal followed by the rubbing and strapping, 12.45pm: team meeting, 1.30pm: arrive at the match venue.” Then Duncan swings into informing media of any player changes, and to seek the referee for warm-ups and inspections of team boots and gear. The team returns to the changing room for their final ten minutes until 2.30pm kickoff.

Once the game finishes, if necessary Duncan organises a doctor for injured players, and within 20 minutes he rings detailed match results to the media.

At their hotel players, after the game, are reminded what is required of them that evening and of the morning’s home flight arrangements. Before Sunday’s breakfast the players have the “popular” pool session to alleviate bruised and stiffened bodies and soon we’re homeward bound.” After the Poverty Bay game in Gisborne Duncan’s weekend did not finish until he arrived at his Five Fork home about 9.00pm.on Sunday, and this week he’ll face a similar scenario when North Otago is scheduled to play Horowhenua-Kapiti at Levin.

It fits into my usual job. I’m very lucky with very supportive employers, and while I’m away with the team I keep in touch with what’s happening in the farming area I’m responsible for.”


AS I SEE IT (28 Aug)


By Terry O’Neill

Sports participants and spectators, when their team fails, at some stage may harbour blame for the referee or umpire involved.

I tend to support the referee/umpire who is probably not at fault.

So who are the culprits? Any blame should be shouldered by those who, like the International Rugby Board (IRB) or International Cricket Council (ICC), with due expertise attempt to right what appears to be a wrong or introduce new legislation to, in the first instance, endeavour to make the sport more attractive to supporters.

So my question is to the IRB. When will it preside over a strenuous enquiry into the obnoxious maul in today’s rugby? The maul grievously offends that basic rugby rule that no player may be hindered from affecting a tackle on the player in possession. A given is that player is at that time within the laws, not offside for instance.

I single out the maul simply because many teams, jealous of the All Blacks’ skills, reason that the maul which protects the ball carrier, is one route to inhibit the All Blacks’ power. Realistically, the maul simply allows seven forwards, usually from a lineout, to assemble in an arrowhead formation to protect the ball carrier securely attached to the back of the group and who thus becomes untouchable by the defenders. This practice is a blight on the game and does little to stir positive emotions in supporters.

Don’t hold your breath. Change is a tardy process within the IRB (to some, the SOF!)

In cricket there is the Duckworth-Lewis system, an attempt to calculate runs-per-over required when a fifty over match is interrupted by rain. This mathematical formula devised by English statisticians Frank Dunlop and Tony Lewis, attempts to set a statistically fair target for the team batting its second teams innings, and is based on the score achieved by the first team taking into account wickets lost and overs played.

The equation: Team One’s score is multiplied by the number found by dividing Teams Two’s resources by Team One’s resources.

Simple? A phone app for this ICC system maybe on the way?

And in tennis, why does a player gets a second serve if he fluffs the first?

How many know that the football goalkeeper must keep his sleeves down throughout the game so the referee can see who punches the ball away?

In water polo are you aware that your crotch is sacrosanct. No grabbing, kicking or hitting, and it’s illegal to splash water in an opponent’s face?

Women’s wrestling participants may not wear underwire bras, while in baseball, if the ball lodges in the umpire’s mask, all runners advance one base.

And many think the rugby maul is a problem.

But back to the present or probably the future. Plans are apparently under way to redevelop the Whitestone stadium grandstand.It has been suggested that the back ten rows of seats be done away with

to allow the building of Rugby Union offices plus the creation of a lounge area which will be divided with movable doors so that it can be divided into smaller areas if and when required.In addition it is presumed that cricket administration will be catered for as well. Sounds good to me.   


First Published in The North OtagoTimes