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Avoidance ... Pukerau No 8 Ryan Catto tries to evade the tackle of a Pioneer player. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

It was an important rugby match filled with emotion between Pukerau and Pioneer on Saturday.

The Daniel “Boy” Crawford memorial shield game was won by Pukerau 14-7 at the Pukerau grounds.

Crawford, who was a member of the Pukerau rugby club, died in a car accident in 2017.

Pukerau captain Bevan Ross was delighted that his team had retained the shield for the third year.

“It meant a lot to a lot of us players to do it for Boy.

“We had a good turnout of supporters.”

People who had known Crawford and his parents came to the game every year and were “a big part of it”, Ross said.

“I’m really happy with how the game went – it was played in really good spirits and it means a lot to each team.”

The match was symbolic between the two sides as Crawford’s brother, Josh, played for Pioneer.

In 2017, the game was against Blues, of Invercargill, but it was set to be against Pioneer from now on, he said.

After the match, Pukerau hosted its prizegiving for the season.

“There was a meal and a few beers.

“It was great vibes for everyone to chat, share stories and remember Boy,” Ross said.

Pioneer coach Chris Wilson said it was a good tough tussle between the sides.

“It was played in really good spirits and was a good celebrated occasion.”