In 2001, an 18-year-old Blair Young suited up for the Heriot Rugby Club as a lock.
Today, when he runs out for his 250th game, he will pack down at scrum time as a tight-head prop.
“I played a little bit of lock in those first few years because we had a few front-rowers but other than that I’ve always been a prop,” Young said.
He becomes, officially, the first to play 250 games for the club but is adamant many came before him.
“The committee started counting last year and went back to 2000. I’m sure there’s more back in the day who have played more than me.
“It is pretty special for me but I’ve always loved playing for the club and the Southern competition.
“I’m Heriot born and bred.”
In 2010, the club celebrated its 125th jubilee, which was topped off with a game that will be forever etched in Young’s mind.
“We beat Lawrence in the last minute of the game to win. They hadn’t been beaten in a few years at that point – it was great,” he said.
The same year, Young, who is both a tight- and loose-head prop, became the last player to be picked for Otago rugby from country rugby.
He played four games off the bench.
“I was pretty stoked to be picked for that, considering I’d played all country rugby.”
He played 45 games for Otago Country and 10 games for the Southern Region premier team.
However, his favourite moment came in 2013, when Heriot won the Southern Region competition.
“We were all pretty stoked with that win – it was the first time in 19 years Heriot had won.”
It was the people who made his time with the club enjoyable, he said.
“More and more people are getting involved with the club – it’s got great support.”
Heriot coach Craig Stanway is proud of Young’s accomplishment and dedication to the club.
“He’s set a club record that nobody will ever do again.
“He’s a huge part of the scrum – you know it’ll be strong if he’s there – and he’s helped a lot of the younger ones coming through.
“You’ll never find a better fella – he does so much for the area,” Stanway said.
At the end of the season, he would reassess how his body felt before committing to next season, Young said.
“I’m not recovering as quick as I did when I first started.
“This will probably be my last season, but I’ve been saying that for the past three.”