Special day in offing at Bathgate Park

The cases feature a range of sports, but it is understood that rugby players make up a...
There will be a few tall stories told at Bathgate Park today.

It is old members' day at Southern Rugby Football Club (SRFC) and it is shaping as a special occasion for one particular group.

Fifty years ago, the club started raising money for its 1970 tour of Australia.

Thirty-seven people went on the trip and just under half of them will attend the event today and swap stories - probably the same old stories they have been telling for a half a century.

Former Southern president Billy Somerville went on the tour. The crafty centre played 17 games for Otago and made a massive contribution for his club.

He was very much looking forward to catching up with 16 of his old mates, including Lindsay Clark, who went on to play seven games for the All Blacks and more than 140 for Otago.

Southern won three of the four games it played on the tour but there is every chance the record will be rewritten over a few cups of tea - all right, glasses of beer.

The festivities will get under way with a photo shoot. Some old Southern jerseys have been resurrected for the occasion.

"I've put a fair bit of weight on so hopefully there is one for a big prop there," Somerville joked.

Otago Rugby Football Union president Des Smith is bringing the Ranfurly Shield along.

The photo shoot will be followed by lunch at the clubrooms and then they will form a guard of honour for the premier team when it runs out to play Taieri.

The teams are playing for the Roy Nieper trophy.

"There will be some bagpipes there as well so we are making a big day of it."

And night, too, probably.

- Pirates stalwart and former Otago Spirit prop Gemma Tuhega will bring up her 200th game for the club this weekend.

Tuhega, who could not be reached for comment, has had the mark in her sights since retiring from representative rugby at the end of the 2016 season aged 33.

Pirates are hosting Alhambra-Union, so she will get to celebrate the occasion at her beloved Hancock Park.

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