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Player of the week: Joe Beech

Joe Beech working from home in his London job. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Marist blindside flanker Joe Beech was one of four players to pick up three points in the Liquorland Best and Fairest for the first round of the Moose Kapene Cup. CHRIS COGDALE talked to the Masterton accountant.

When the covid-19 pandemic hit Britain in late February, it gave the opportunity for former Wairarapa-Bush lock Joe Beech to return to his hometown early and hook up with the Marist club.

The 28-year-old had been in Britain for 2½ years and had played semi-professionally for Stirling in Scotland, before travelling around Europe.

He then moved to London and worked for Informer, an events and publishing company, and played rugby for London Cornish, and yes, they were served Cornish pasties at the after-match.

Back in Masterton, Beech continues to work for Informer from home until his contract ends in September and he is on the job hunt.

“I just want to figure out what type of accounting I want to do. The stuff I was doing in London is not something I can really do in New Zealand, so I’m just having a look around broadly to see if anything appeals to me,” he said.

No sooner was Beech back home, when older brother, Peter, who moved back to Wairarapa this year to take up the role as deputy principal at Kuranui College, tapped him on the shoulder to play for Marist.

“As soon as I got back, he messaged me, and I think I was registered within two days of landing in New Zealand. It’s been lots of fun actually as I’d never played with him before.”

Beech brings a wealth of experience to Marist, having represented Wairarapa-Bush in 10 games in 2013-14 and having captained Old Boys University to win Wellington club rugby’s most prestigious trophy, the Jubilee Cup, in 2015 for the first time in 50 years.

He was buoyant about Marist’s prospects of breaking their championship drought dating back to 2002.

“Everybody’s pretty excited about the talent that we’ve got and hopefully we’ll be pushing for a semifinal and final spot and trying to win it,” Beech said.

“It’s been a special build-up, with people talking about the 75th jubilee. We’ve got it on our jerseys and the warm-up tops and it’s a pretty momentus time for the club.”

As for Saturday’s tough 16-15 win over Carterton: “I thought our defence there was really good, especially when we were scrambling with a couple of men down, but the body is still feeling it a bit.”

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