Dig deep into the mechanism of what makes sport tick and you'll find blokes in the mould of Brent Clements who are as invaluable as they are inconspicuous as cogs in any wheel.

Clements will be the first to tell you his involvement in sport comes in equal parts of giving and taking, grateful to co-habit in an orchestrated environment that ultimately will decide how long to keep him in play.

A rugby and cricket lover, the 63-year-old from Napier believes his longevity comes from renouncing any inflated identification with his ego.

"I was an average player in both [codes]," says Clements self-effacingly for someone who has coached junior rugby — on and off — for almost 30 years.

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Add to that milestone the fact the referees' association gave him a "catch-up" blazer — in trying to acknowledge all officials who had served for 15 consecutive years — and you start getting a clearer picture on what Clements is all about.

The corrections officer says his passion for the winter code is on a par with the summer one although rugby was his first love.

He has played rugby for 35 consecutive years for his beloved Napier Old Boys' Marist club based at Park Island.

The age-group masters cricketer embraces the benefits of engaging in sport but as father time ticks on he has developed an equally voracious appetite for watching it as well.

"On a normal Saturday — if I'm not doing anything in particular — I'll probably be watching four to five games of rugby and then watch the sixth stuff on TV," he says. "I always follow the club stuff and what the kids are doing."

Clements relishes refereeing where his enjoyment is symbiotic with those of youngsters.

"I haven't really had any bad experiences in the whole time I've done it [because] it's been pretty positive so I've been lucky although I'm not saying every referee gets the same response."

He agrees his people management skills is probably a little better, pertaining perhaps to his employment.

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In his late 20s, Clements arrived here from Invercargill in 1984 as a Postbank employee.

He had joined the Napier Marist club before it amalgamated to NOBM in 1990.

Only 73kg in his heyday, he played cricket first in November of that year but his rugby roots go back to 1973. Remarkably he has played every year since with only minor injuries over that duration.

Brent Clements with sons Michael (left), Ross and Carl, and grandchildren Ricky and Tilly after playing club rugby with his sons. Photo/supplied
Brent Clements with sons Michael (left), Ross and Carl, and grandchildren Ricky and Tilly after playing club rugby with his sons. Photo/supplied

However, his three boys and a girl had begun engaging in sport from 1985 so he started contemplating how he could add value to not just the lives of his offspring but also others.

A decade later, Clements joined the Bay rugby referees' association because the children were in high school and it was easy to have a pick of games while watching them play every other Saturday.

He is in his 25th year of controlling rugby matches. He has covered the odd premier club men's games but he was a regular at the second division.

"The last 10 years I've basically done secondary schools because it enables me to free up my afternoons."

Clements feels the blame game on officials is becoming a favourite pastime but "no one is perfect".

The rugby clubs he's been involved with here have made conscious efforts to police sideline behaviour of parents and, especially, coaches.

"I think the clubs are doing their best but, unfortunately, when you go to different games the officialdom's not quite there so the referee finds he's by himself and, you know, no one from the club is there."

Brent Clements referees a junior rugby match on a Saturday morning. Photo/supplied
Brent Clements referees a junior rugby match on a Saturday morning. Photo/supplied

He understands why people shy from picking up whistles and flags following incidents of sideline abuse.

"It can be quite intimidating especially if you're a young referee," he says. "They tend to come up and sort of tower over you to tell you all sorts of things that you don't want to hear."

When he had started moving up the refereeing ranks, he reflects on how the Bay was humming with some pedigree premier whistle blowers in the mould of Kelvin Deaker, Peter Boyden and Gary Wise.

"The standard was very high with a mix of senior and young refs at the time."

He was honoured last year when a major club award, the "Brent Clements trophy for the best club spirited player", was named after him at the junior rugby prizegiving ceremony.

"It's very humbling but a great gesture," says the bloke who this winter still enjoyed playing alongside sons Michael, Ross and Carl. Daughter Katrina Clements Mete-Kingi also makes the most of her time in sport.

Clements has represented the over-60 Central Districts cricket side for the past four years and the highlight was making the cull for that New Zealand age-group team in 2016.

"I still love it while the body still manages to do it."

He enjoys the opportunities that arise for travelling and expanding his social circles in summer.

Brent Clements bowls for the New Zealand Under-60s cricket team in 2016. Photo/supplied
Brent Clements bowls for the New Zealand Under-60s cricket team in 2016. Photo/supplied