Losers still winners

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Cash boost over the bar consolation in Arrowtown thrashing

The pain of Arrow­town’s 41-6 thumping in last weekend’s Otago Country­wide rugby final was somewhat dulled by financial spinoffs.

Finishing the season by hosting the Central Otago semis and finals and then last Satur­day’s game against Lawrence all ensured a successful financial year, says Arrow­town Rugby Club presi­dent Simon Spark.

“That was three more home games than last year. It’s been vitally important for our survival.”

The club’s bar take over this season and last has been “the difference between sinking and swimming”, he says – the last three games alone made about $5000, he estimates.

But crowd numbers, especially for the Central Otago final the week before, also exposed inadequacies at the clubrooms.

“They’re sadly under-sized and they are definitely a priority in the next 12 months.

“We’re trying to put away a little bit each year for this but it’s getting harder to get grants as well.”

An application for a travel grant was turned down this year so the club had to fork out between $600-$1200 for a bus every time the team played away.

After a record crowd of about 1000 saw Arrowtown beat Upper Clutha in the Central Otago final – “that far exceeded our expectations” – spectator numbers for the big game against Lawrence last weekend were “a wee bit disappointing”, Spark says.

“People don’t relate to teams out of the area – a lot don’t even know Lawrence has a team.

“The country board could have promoted it more but some people only go to a couple of games each season and they’d targeted the week before.”

Highlights of Arrow­town’s championship win over Upper Clutha will screen on Toyota Grassroots Rugby on Sky Sport 3 at 6.30 tonight