September 20 1980
Otago v Southland in Alexandra
Otago beat Southland 19 – 15 on September 20 1980 in a non-championship match. Both teams were in the National Championship First Division and had played their championship match in Invercargill on August 16, Otago winning 4 – 0. The September 20 match, with nothing at stake, was a continuance of the home and away fixtures the two unions had played for many years and which continued for some further seasons.
What was unusual about this fixture was that it was played in Alexandra, and Otago, like most other unions, rarely played its top team’s home games away from headquarters i e out of Dunedin.
Since its formation in 1881 the Otago union has played just 14 first class home games outside Dunedin, two of them at Mosgiel in 1882 when the new union was still getting itself together. Eight of the remainder were Otago “B”, Otago XV or Otago Sub-Unions selections, with North Otago the opponent in seven of those encounters.
Apart from the 1882 games in Mosgiel Otago has played at Patearoa, Ranfurly (three matches), Balclutha (3), Mosgiel, Alexandra (2) and Queenstown (2). It is assumed that matches were played in outlying areas to give administrators, supporters, and sponsors, a brief spell in the sun.
It has to be emphasised that these are matches which met the NZRU standards for first class fixtures, basically games between union’s top teams or the top team from one union against a “selection” from the second union. It is very likely that the Otago union has played many fixtures below first class level e g “B” teams against the “B” team from another union, age group representative matches, sub-union fixtures etc outside of Dunedin.
Early Otago matches were played at the Taieri Cricket Ground in Mosgiel, then the Caledonian Ground. Carisbrook became the main ground, with the test against the 1908 Anglo-Welsh team played there. The Forsyth Barr Stadium replaced Carisbrook as Otago’s showpiece in 2011.
Molyneux Park as well as being a rugby ground has a higher profile as a cricket venue:
The ground later held its first first-class match during the 1978/79 Shell Cup when Otago played Central Districts. The following season the first List A match was held there when Otago played Wellington in the 1980/81 Shell Trophy. Molyneux Park has been used as a home venue for Otago since then, hosting 28 first-class matches, 63 List A matches, as well as two Twenty20 matches. Between 2006 and 2009, Otago Women used the ground for home matches in the State League.
Two Youth Test matches have been played there. The first came in 1999 when New Zealand Under-19s played England Under-19s, while the second saw New Zealand Under-19s play South Africa Under-19s. Three Youth One Day Internationals were also played there between 1993 and 1995.”