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Otago Country Champions

Mon, 30 July 12

The Wakatipu premier rugby team was named the 2012 Otago Country Wide champion on Saturday, capping off its dream season, when it took apart the previously unbeaten Clutha Valley side at Clydevale, 22-12.

The win was dedicated to the late Glenn "Scooter" Reid (40) who died of pancreatic cancer in December.

Wakatipu vice-president Brad Patterson told the Queenstown Times yesterday it was a fitting tribute to Mr Reid, who had been an enormous part of Wakatipu rugby.

"It was a big thing for our club to come out and do him justice."

Assistant coach Damian Petre said Wakatipu made a slow start, but then found its footing in the muddy conditions.

Captain Regan Pearce crossed the tryline twice, Danny King dotted down once and Marcus Balchin put in another player-of-the-day performance.

It has been a long wait for the Wakatipu side.

The last time it took out the trifecta of trophies - the White Horse Cup, the Central Otago Championship and the Otago Country Wide title - was in 2005.

Pearce told the Queenstown Times yesterday the time had come to hang up his boots.

"I'm not fully retired [but] I've got new goals to aspire to.

"I said to the boss at the start of the year if we had a successful season I would retire. What better time to hang the boots up?

"It's one thing to retire.It's another thing to retire with a great, successful year behind you.

"It's just a bloody good feeling to be able to celebrate such a fantastic year.

"I'm going to have a rest next year and I want do to Thriller in the Chiller [boxing event]."

Coach Kelvin Middleton said Pearce was one of several club stalwarts who would not be on the paddock next year.

They included Patterson, who set fire to his rugby boots after beating Arrowtown in the Central Otago Championship at Alexandra on July 21.

Patterson bought another pair of boots last week, wore them on Saturday "and they were put in a skip on the drive back through Ettrick".

President Damien O'Connell was thrilled with the team's efforts over the season - particularly for its major sponsor.

"Rilean Construction have been supporting us for five years and hanging in with us, and finally being able to win some silverware [is great]."

However, the season was not quite over for several of the Wakatipu players who had been named in the Otago Country rugby team, along with two Arrowtown representatives.

Included in the side, which will play its first game against Southland Country in Gore on Saturday, are Pearce, Balchin, King, Jake Lawrence, Richie Stephens, Mark Te Whaiti, all of Wakatipu, and John Morrison and Matt Ryan, both of Arrowtown.

By: Damien O'Connell @ 12:50:22 - Share on Facebook

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