A Horowhenua-based hockey team full of players who weren't even born 20 years ago when a turf was built in Levin make up the bulk of a team gunning for the Manawatū Senior Men's title this season.
The timing couldn't be better. As the Horowhenua Hockey Association celebrates the 20th anniversary of a pavilion that was built in 48 hours by the Levin community, the flagship side for the region, Manawatū College Old Boys, is riding high.
It is the first time MCOB has made the Division One final in their long history of competing in the Manawatū Competition.
Many of the current MCOB team have benefited from the construction of that turf and have come through the representative system, having played in age grade Horowhenua sides.
There is expected to be a good crowd at the match tomorrow as those involved in the original building project are invited to the ground for a reunion and to celebrate the birthday.
MCOB re-entered the Manawatū first division competition last year after competing in a lower grade in the 2017 season. It was initially a tough introduction, but after a slow start by the end of last season they were acquitting themselves well.
Better for that experience, the team won the Challenge Cup this year for the first time, a Ranfurly Shield-style trophy, which they held for five weeks.
MCOB's opponents this weekend are Massey, who they have beaten twice, but lost to once this season, and will give them a stern test ahead of the big dance next week,
In the final the following weekend they will be facing the College Hockey Club at 4pm in Palmerston North, a team they have beaten twice but lost to on three occasions.
MCOB team are an extremely young team compared with other club sides, with an average age of just 21, and some are still attending secondary school.
That average was somewhat skewed though by veteran Kim Porteous who at 49 is the veteran of the side.
The team is coached by 28-year-old Levin sheep and beef farmer Corey Prouting, who originally started coaching as a student attending Waiopehu College.
Prouting is a busy man and a promising hockey coach. There are four teams on his books this season.
He is also player-coach of the MCOB Levin Men's third division team in the Manawatū Competition, who play in the semi finals tonight at Palmerston North.
Prouting is also head coach of the NHL (National Hockey League) Central Mysticks Women's team who will be competing at the National Tournament in Tauranga in September.
And if that wasn't enough, he also coaches the Under 13 Horowhenua Hatch Cup Boys team which will be competing in the National Tournament in October, although he said he is helped in that role by Chad Davis and Reon Sayer.
That Horowhenua Hatch Cup team play the curtain-raiser game against Manawatū at 11.30am.
Prouting said MCOB are a young side that has performed well against older teams this season.
"There's quite a few who are still at school. They have come through the system of playing on the turf their whole life," he said.
Meanwhile, hockey was a very expensive sport, and MCOB was fortunate to have a generous group of sponsors who support the team during the season.
Manawatū College Old Boys Levin Men's Hockey Team: Coach: Corey Prouting. Assistant Coach: Matt Wilson. Manager: Neil Hirini. Strikers – Lachlan Woodmass, Hamish Simmonds, Jordan Tupara, Zac Carline, Kasey White.
Midfield: Jackson Hirini, Sam Davies, Jamie Berquist, Reon Sayer, Harry Bird, Brayden Wootton.
Defenders: Kim Porteous, Hayden Gibbard, Jarrod Mullins, Hayden Krivan, Zac Moxham, Jared Davis.
Goalie: Angus Griffin.