The Wakatipu Premiers are battling for the Ranfurly Shield of regional rugby this Saturday.
The Premiers travel to Ranfurly to challenge Maniototo for the White Horse Cup, which the latter won off Arrowtown on April 14.
“The cup actually means more to a lot of clubs than winning the championship,” veteran Wakatipu frontrower Brad Patterson says.
“I remember the first time we won it we ended up in ‘Spud’ Murphy’s house till about 4 or 5 in the morning.
“It’s just amazing when you win it – the feeling and pride the club gets, particularly the old boys who’ve been before us and tried to win the cup and been unsuccessful.”
Patterson is under no illusions about how tough it will be.
“I’ve been playing for the club for 12 years and I’ve won the White Horse Cup twice.”
The fact Maniototo lost to Wakatipu in the first competition game this season and also lost to Clyde-Earnscleugh last Saturday is irrelevant, Patterson says.
“Playing Maniototo in Ranfurly or Gimmerburn, they grow arms and legs and everyone comes out.
“It will not be an easy day at the office.”
Along with Patterson, captain and first-five Regan Pearce and fullback Brad Robertson are the sole survivors of the previous occasion Wakatipu won the White Horse trophy.
That was also in Ranfurly, four years ago.
“It was unbelievable,” Pearce says.
“We lost it to Cromwell two weeks later then challenged them for the cup again and lost to a dropped goal in the last second.
“There’s a lot of new players in our team that don’t know too much about the history of the cup but after trainings this week they’ll know a lot more. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Pearce says his team has stepped up since their loss to Arrowtown three weeks ago, posting 63-0 and 47-12 wins against Cromwell and Alexandra respectively.
“I firmly believe we’ve got a team this year to go all the way.”
Meanwhile, Arrowtown Prem-iers finished the first round of the Central Otago competition in front, thrashing Cromwell 62-7 last Saturday.
Clyde-Earnscleugh are second, a point behind, with Wakatipu third and Maniototo fourth.
In the senior competition, Wakatipu Wanderers beat Upper Clutha 21-11 last Saturday.
It was the team’s first win in Wanaka in four years.
SATURDAY’S DRAW: Maniototo Prems v Wakatipu, Ranfurly 2.45pm; Matakanui Prems v Arrowtown, 2.45pm; Wakatipu Wanderers v Roxburgh, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 2.45pm