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Love of rugby runs in mayor's family

By Harrison Christian

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Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, at home in Napier with some of his father's All Blacks memorabilia. PHOTO/GLENN TAYLOR
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, at home in Napier with some of his father's All Blacks memorabilia. PHOTO/GLENN TAYLOR

Napier mayor Bill Dalton's favourite All Black memory is waking up late at night to watch the rugby with his father, All Black Doug Dalton.

There isn't a specific game that comes to mind, but a nostalgia for those special nights when his family dragged itself out of bed in the wee hours.

"We used to get up as a family about 2 or 3am and my mother would make toast and milo.

"It was a great time to be with my old man - it was one of those times I'll always remember."

Mr Dalton's late father, Doug Dalton, was an All Black prop in 1935-38.

Bill said Doug began his All Black career in his prime at age 25, but the Second World War intervened, suspending international competition.

"The All Blacks were due to play South Africa in 1939, but didn't go."

His rugby put on hold, Doug joined the war, serving in the Pacific as a captain in the New Zealand Army.

"The next All Black team was 1946 and by that time, the old man was 33 years of age."

Bill said Doug, whom he described as "an expert, but one-eyed", rugby commentator, had a wealth of rugby experience and was keen to pass on his expertise to his son. It is a passion the Napier mayor has retained and these days he never misses a test.

He's looking forward to watching the All Blacks vs Argentina at McLean Park on September 6, and fondly recalls being at the park for its only previous rugby test, when the All Blacks beat Samoa in 1996. He'll be seated with NZRFU and other dignitaries in the permanent and covered Harris Stand.

He said his daughter and her partner were coming down from Auckland especially for the game.

"We all love our rugby. I've got my tickets, as have our family.

"Rugby does that. It gives an excuse for families to get together, whether its down at the park or at home in the middle of the night."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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