Big oc­ca­sion at As­cot Park

Bernie Wood hon­oured as new turf is opened

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Bernie Wood would have hated all the at­ten­tion he re­ceived on Sun­day.

The rugby league his­to­rian and ad­min­is­tra­tor, who died in April, was the key driver be­hind the in­stal­la­tion of an ar­ti­fi­cial turf in As­cot Park.

It was for­mally opened by his wife Tri­cia and Porirua mayor Nick Leggett and is called the Bernie Wood Syn­thetic Sports Field.

The con­sen­sus among guests at the un­veil­ing was that Mr Wood would have hated his name em­bla­zoned at the en­trance to the $1.9 mil­lion fa­cil­ity.

Tri­cia Wood said her hus­band was driven by see­ing chil­dren play­ing on Els­don Park’s hockey turf from 7am till 9pm, while ju­nior rugby, league and foot­ball was can­celled be­cause of wet grounds.

‘‘He would have been ab­so­lutely de­lighted to see this day. It was his vi­sion and pas­sion and he was ahead of his time,’’ she said.

‘‘The one thing he re­gret­ted was not get­ting a nam­ing rights [spon­sor], but it meant his own name could be used.

‘‘I’m not sure he would’ve liked that, but it means his legacy en­dures. What’s most im­por­tant is that kids of any sport will use it – that’s what he wanted.’’

Her fam­ily had hoped it would be opened while Bernie was still alive, but the day af­ter the dedi- cation was Bernie’s birth­day, so Tri­cia said it was per­haps ‘‘more fit­ting’’.

West­ern Sub­urbs Soc­cer Club chair­man Nigel Hiller said Mr Wood’s ‘‘ded­i­ca­tion to the cause’’ had led the soc­cer club and Porirua Vik­ings League Club to be part­ners in an ex­am­ple of ‘‘the best turf in the south­ern hemi­sphere’’.

Bay­ern Mu­nich FC trained on a sim­i­lar sur­face and it has had ac­cred­i­ta­tion from Fifa and the In­ter­na­tional Rugby Board, he said.

The As­cot Park turf has sta­teof-the-art shock pad tech­nol­ogy.

Ngati Toa kau­matua Taku Parai led a walk from half­way to bless the turf and then West­ern Sub­urbs and Vik­ings ju­niors played mini tour­na­ments.

More pho­tos, P 26


Proud fam­ily: Bernie Wood’s fam­ily at the en­trance to the turf that bears his name – from left, Lach­lan Wood­smith, Katrina Wood, Zachary Wood­smith, Ella Wood­smith and Tri­cia Wood.

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