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New Zealand Clarets launched last weekend as Burnley supporters descended on Auckland for the first ever get together of the group.

The weekend was described as a fabulous one by one of the organisers Tom Greenwood and although the weekend might not have coincided with a victory they did see New Zealand international Chris Wood score our goal.

There was a great turnout as Burnley fans arrived from Cambridge, Hamilton, Wellington and even Christchurch on the South Island and they opted for some racing to kick things off by attending the Auckland Cup Day Races at Ellerslie where they enjoyed the sunshine, the beers while having a flutter. They even had a final team bet when they backed ROCK ON WOOD although there was to be no success for the horse carrying the Burnley player’s name.

The numbers in the group increased when they returned to the City and the Brewers Co-Operative with other Burnley supporters arriving and sharing their connections with the club. This group included Shaun Holt, the son of former Burnley player David Holt, and Martin Moore, a New Zealand born Claret who had flown up from Christchurch. He wowed people too with his vast knowledge of the club.

He might have done well in the Burnley themed quiz that followed but it was won by Right Said Fred while the Brierfield Boot Boys grabbed the wooden spoon although it was thought that was no doubt due to the amount of ale they’d drunk at the races.

A signed Chris Wood shirt was the star prize in the raffle. It was won by Paul Dicken from Wellington while other prizes, donated by members, were gladly received by the winners. All that was then left was for a few night caps and laughs  to finish off the day.

Day 2 was match day and there were some sore heads reporting in at 10 a.m. but they cleared when Wood gave us the lead in a dominant first half display. Tom reported that the pub felt like a little slice of East Lancashire and although the Clarets couldn’t go on to win the game, he said that the maiden get together had felt like a massive victory.

There was more chat to, and I assume a few more drinks too, to end the weekend and Heath Phipps, who is chairman of the new group, hit the nail on the head when he said that it felt as though they had all extended their families tenfold over the weekend.

Meeting with fellow Clarets, Tom said, felt like a huge void, that had been created when he left England in 2011, had been filled and the New Zealand Clarets then went their separate ways, all looking forward to their next big meet up later in the year.

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