Night games ahead for Owaka

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The Owaka Rugby Club is looking forward to being able to host night games in the Catlins.

New lights will soon be turned on at the rugby grounds thanks to a grant and local fundraising efforts, including working with the Owaka Lions and PGG Wrightson when dismantling the old Owaka saleyards.

Rugby club president Sam Landreth said all the existing light bulbs were replaced with LED lights, which were longer-lasting, brighter, and used less power.

“The power has been the problem and the rising costs associated with powering the lights and the replacement of the blown bulbs over the years has seen their usage massively reduced in recent years,” Mr Landreth said.

“The old bulbs are so expensive to replace and the three-phase power bills were horrendous so the club were forced to cut back usage of the lights.”

He said it was more cost-effective for the small club to reduce the use of the nine light poles, which often meant less than half the field was lit during winter nights. Club treasurer Margot Berney said when a grant from the Trusts Community Foundation Ltd came through in August, along with the proceeds from the cattle-yard sale, it allowed them to complete the last phase of a three-year period of improvement of the club’s facilities.

“For the past three years, we have worked hard to raise the money so that we could undertake improvements to the grounds and the clubrooms. We left the last and most expensive part, the $72,000 cost of replacing of the lights, to last.

“We had a big list of things to do including installing gas heating for the hot water. Now the lights are up and we are very thankful for all the wonderful support we received from the community.

“We were extremely grateful for the second grant and for all the support from the community in modernising our facilities here,” she said.

Owaka Rugby Club life member and committee member Ann Pullar said the Owaka Rugby Club grounds were a focal point for the small tight-knit rural community

“The field is a community ground; it’s used for cricket and rugby games, sports training, fire brigade training, as a helipad for rescue work and a civil defence base.

“Now the new lights are up, we are very thankful for all the support we received from the community, they have supported us greatly over the years and that support now allows us to be able to pursue our dream of hosting night games in the future,” Mrs Pullar said.