Two well-known former Napier broadcasters who stepped out of the studio to become manager and coach of one of the world's first provincial women's rugby teams will, probably, be absent from the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the team's first match.
But it's not because they don't want to be there, for former breakfast show host Barry "Bazza" Corbett and sports commentator John McBeth both loved Hawke's Bay with a passion, despite the fact each was only in the area for less than three years.
Each was gone not long after that historical game, between the Hawke's Bay "Ladies" and Manawatu "Ladies" at the Palmerston North Showgrounds Oval on September 14, 1980.
It's officially recognised as the first inter-provincial women's rugby match and will be commemorated on Friday when the Big Barrel Hawke's Bay Tui play the Manawatu Cyclones in the first match of Friday's McLean Park double-header. The second match of the day will be the Hawke's Bay Magpies' (men) first defence of the Ranfurly Shield, facing off with visiting Northland.
The women, whose game starts at 4.35pm, will also be playing for some silverware, the Attenborough-McBeth Trophy, in the last pre-playoffs round of national competition, the Farah Palmer Cup.
It was Palmer who first contacted McBeth to confirm the 1980 match's place in history, and it's now recognised in such places as the Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.
Being that that's now official, it could also go down as the first inter-provincial organised by radio announcers, Palmerston North breakfast jock Kev Loughlin and his cohorts in Napier from Radio 2ZC Bay City Radio, the forerunner of Newstalk ZB and The Hits.
McBeth, who went on to head TVNZ's coverage of the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 and yachting's America's Cup, now lives in Raumati. He says Loughlin was pushing for a match as a curtain-raiser to an NPC men's game between Hawke's Bay and Manawatu.
They got it out there that any women interested in playing rugby for Hawke's Bay should "turn up at McLean Park around 5.30 on Wednesday".
As it happened, 54 turned up and it was necessary to stage a trial the following Saturday at Farndon Park, Clive, around the venue of Corbett's mythical "Battle of Cleevay". Listeners in the area would recall equally with his love affair with the equally mythical Te Pohue Railway Station.
"It became a bit gimmicky," Corbett concedes from his home in Christchurch, where he went on to become joined at the hip with Grizz Wyllie and his men, as the radio voice of Canterbury's 1982-1985 shield era.
McBeth was "amazed" by the skill of the team ultimately chosen. None had played rugby before, but most seemed to come from "rugby families," including Jeanette Taylor, sister of Hawke's Bay and All Black wing Ken Taylor, and Leona Paraha, wife of Maori All Blacks loose forward Junior Paraha.
While the Bay was beaten in both matches, the Paraha couple was prominent, as the team – billed as "Bazza's Beauties" – was beaten 11-0, while Junior Paraha scored three tries as his team went down 43-23 to a Manawatu team that won the NPC that year.
There was later a sign that the gimmickry for the Bay City Radio-sponsored team had worn off, with big wins over Muzza's Madams and a Wairoa team now also part of the history.
McBeth doesn't overstate his role of the event 40 years ago, although it crops up in his role as a public speaker. He roped in senior club coach Kevin Smith to get the side skilled up. Corbett reckons he didn't have to do a lot.
Each has other commitments this week. McBeth "mucked up the dates" and has some bowling club commitments at the weekend, while Corbett drives the Christchurch tourist tram, and is preparing for a one-off return to morning radio to commemorate 25 years since the tram service was launched on his show 25 years ago.
Family will be big on the billing for the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union this week as it pushes to get more people at McLean Park for the two games. Its Take a Kid to Footy tickets are on sale, at $25 for an adult and child together, and $7.50 for each extra child, along with a Magpies flag, crisps, lollies, an apple and a bottle of water.