Bush Pirates take on Life Members’ grade

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Stopped: Central Pirates Rugby Club player Kieran McNaught is stopped in his tracks by Thomas Faulkner (Collegiate Rugby Club) in a Division two game played at Collegiate last Saturday. Collegiate won 79-nil. Photo: Dave Loudon

CENTRAL Pirates is once again playing under the Bush Pirates banner in Southland’s division two Life Members’ competition.

Central Pirates also has a Presidents’ team playing on its own account.

Bush Pirates is an amalgamation of players from Central Pirates and fellow Central Southland club Wrights Bush.

The two clubs formed the Bush Pirates’ team in 2017 after both clubs were struggling for players.

Central Pirates president, co-coach and player Mark McCallum said the club’s committee was strong.

“It’s a good group of people, doing a job to the best of their abilities. It’s nice to be a part of it, we’re happy with our junior numbers, but it would be nice to have a few more seniors.”

This year’s senior team is coached by Jack Tait and McCallum, and captained by open-side flanker Kieran McNaught.

Bush Pirates has lost four games to date, including a heavy loss last weekend to Collegiate.

McCallum said the team was doing all right under the circumstances.

“It’d be nice to get a win, we’re running a bit short of players; a few went missing after lockdown due to work commitments and other interests.”

Bush Pirates also had a few players retire after last season, which coincided with the Wrights Bush Rugby Club’s centenary. The three-day event attracted 300 people from throughout the country, and even some from overseas.

Tait said the retirements had left room for some talented youngsters to step up.

“Some key players this season have been halfback Troy Blackler and hooker Jason Sheriff. Mike Goble at No 8 and midfielder Kurt Hudson have also been strong for us.”

This Saturday Bush Pirates hosts Midlands B at Wilsons Crossing at 3pm. The Central Pirates Presidents’ team will play the curtain-raiser at 1.30pm against Waikiwi.

Midlands B has put the Hamilton Shield on the line, the trophy is contested by the clubs in the Central sub-union.

Tait said the team appreciated Midlands leaving it to their B team to defend.

“It’s bloody good they’ve put that on the line, it adds some extra interest.”

Tait wanted to thank the club’s sponsors and Life Members who supported their games.

“They’re much appreciated, we’re happy to get a couple of games of footy played and then fill the clubrooms.”

Central Pirates fields its primary grade teams separately from Wrights Bush. Central Pirates has an A Grade team in the Southland Country competition, and a B Grade team in the Central, Western and Northern competition. McCallum coaches his daughter’s C grade team, and the club also has two Rippa teams.

Club day was held this month, with McCallum saying it was a good day out.

“We had a good turnout, everyone there enjoyed it.”

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