Quake damage forces league final to Hornby

Tony Smith - The Press

The Canterbury Rugby Football League have been forced to move their grand final from Addington for the first time in the event's 44-year history.

General manager Graeme Sole said the premier grade and premier reserve grade finals will be held at Hornby's Denton Oval on August 14.

The grand final has been played at Rugby League Park (formerly the Addington Showgrounds) since the concept began in 1967. The ground has been out of action since the February 22 earthquake.

John Coffey – author of the Canterbury Rugby League's 75th-year jubilee history – said Denton Oval had hosted some club games in the past, mainly involving the Hornby club.

Sole said Denton Oval would not have the same capacity as Rugby League Park, but he believed it could accommodate about 2500 spectators.

Lower grade and junior grand finals will be played at club grounds on Saturday week, he said.

Meanwhile, Denton Oval will also host two of the South Island's national rugby league championship matches this season.

New Zealand Rugby League southern zone general manager Steve Martin said the South Island will play the Wellington Orcas there on August 28 and the Northern Swords on September 4.

The senior, 17 years and 15 years South Island squads would all play on the main oval pitch, Martin said.

"But we've got also got the two outlying fields, if we need them. I was up there last week and, apart from the aftermath from the snow, the ground looked in good shape."

The South Island senior team will hold a trial at Riccarton's Crosbie Park ground on August 21. Martin said most triallists would be from Canterbury with "four from the West Coast, three or four from Otago and one from Southland".


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