One of New Zealand rugby’s special records fell in the Heartland Championship on Saturday when Luke Brownlee took the field for Buller, since he was playing his 138th consecutive first-class match. He hasn’t missed a match since making his debut in 1999, and in all games for Buller his total is well over 160 off the reel. He had previously shared the record with two other Seddon Shield stalwarts, Ray Sutherland of Marlborough and another Buller man, Thomas Stuart. Sutherland set the mark between 1962 and 1974, when he retired, and Stuart equalled the feat between 1986 and 1999; injury suffered in a club game kept him off the field in 2000. Stuart’s last season was also Brownlee’s first, so no Buller team has been fielded without at least one of these two in it since 13 August 1986 – 265 matches ago.