Above: Norths lock Chris Middleton with ball in hand in atrocious conditions this week in 2008. Norths lost 7-19 to Petone, but went on to make the final against Marist St Pat’s which they drew 10-10 in bitter, sleety conditions at Wespac Stadium. PHOTO: Chainsaw Photos.
In association with the Bond Street Sports Bar on Bond Street in Wellington, some highlights from this week in Wellington club rugby history are below
1989: Petone defeat MSP 29-12 to ensure their place in the upcoming Jubilee Cup semi-finals. Petone’s outstanding teamwork wins the day and they are on-song right from the opening exchanges when wing Matt Lee scores off a Mike Umaga break. This win and others to Hutt Old Boys, Avalon and Upper Hutt mean that the leading four teams in the Jubilee Cup are Hutt Valley ones.
1991: Hutt Old Boys battle to a 19-17 win over Hutt Valley rivals and recently crowned Swindale Shield champions Avalon. In a grandstand finish, Avalon pummel Hutt Old Boys’ try line for almost 10 minutes at the end but can’t break through to score the match winner. The Gavin Hill-led Hutt Old Boys side go on to win the Jubilee Cup several weeks later.
1995: Top qualifier Petone thrash Harlequins 67-12 and MSP edge Avalon 19-17 in the Jubilee Cup semi-finals. Hooker Tim Mannix and wing Alex Telea score braces, while MSP score two tries into the wind in the second half to beat Avalon – Gordon Simpson running 40 metres to score the match winner.
2000: Johnsonville produce a fairytale finish to the Jubilee Cup round-robin to clinch a semi-finals berth. Lying sixth heading into the last round, Johnsonville smash Ories 54-8, and both their rivals Avalon and Norths stumble. Avalon need a bonus point against Poneke but get nothing from losing 21-29 to Poneke and Norths fall to OBU 13-15 after a late try to Jason Spice for OBU.
1960: Soon-to-be Jubilee Cup champions Marist win a key victory over close rivals Onslow. With the game locked up at 3-3 deep into the second half, Marist first five-eighth C.J. Stewart kicks high across to wing Mick Dennehy. In full stride, Dennehy leaps high to take the slippery ball and dives over for a decisive try and an 8-3 win for Marist.
1982: Heading into the midweek round of Jubilee Cup matches played on this day, Petone, Wellington and MSP were locked in a three-way tie at the top of the standings. But three becomes two when MSP are humbled 6-19 by Petone and Wellington beats Poneke 25-12. Wellington and Petone go on to share the 1982 Jubilee Cup.
1983: MSP and Wellington are joint Jubilee Cup leaders after three rounds, after Wellington No. 8 Murray Mexted jumps off a plane from Auckland and heads to the Polo Ground to help Wellington beat WCOB 22-13. Murray’s brother Alan also scores a try for the Axemen, while their cousin Fraser lands three goals for WCOB. MSP beat Poneke 14-6, avenging their last-gasp defeat to them earlier in the season.
1988: MSP and Wellington are headed towards a semi-final showdown in a fortnight, with contrasting wins today. MSP beats Upper Hutt 52 -4, with wing Chris Wells scoring a hat-trick and first five-eighth Peter O’Shaughnessy surpassing 200 points for the season. Wellington rely on the boot of fullback Evan Hopkin to see them past Poneke 19-16.
2011: It’s an eastern Suburbs one-two for the semi-finals, with neighbours Oriental Rongotai and Poneke both set to host Jubilee Cup semi-finals in a fortnight’s time after each won their round six matches to qualify first and second respectively for the playoffs with a week to spare. Ories hold on to beat Northern United 32-30 in a thrill-a-minute fixture at Porirua Park and Poneke are emphatic home 44-11 winners over Marist St. Pat’s at Kilbirnie Park.
2016: Wainuiomata are the 2016 Wellington women’s club rugby Division 1 champions, beating Oriental-Rongotai 24-12 in today’s Victoria Tavern Trophy final at William Jones Park. Captain Mary-Ann Collins is the Player of the Final and her 50 metre intercept try just after halftime is the match-winner. Meanwhile, Marist St Pat’s beat Wainuiomata 30-18 to become the first and still the only side to qualify for the 2016 Jubilee Cup semi-finals with just one round remaining next week. Remarkably, in the tightest championship round for many seasons, all seven of the other eight Jubilee Cup participants are still alive in the playoff race.
1943: The biggest club match in Wellington since 1939 sees the combined Poneke-Oriental side play “stirring rugby” and beat Marist Old Brothers in this match and thus capture the Jubilee Cup. The Dominion reports that Poneke-Oriental “dominated” Marist, running out 14-8 winners. They score three tries, all through the forwards, and the margin of victory could have been greater if not for missed kicks. With five wins from five, Poneke-Oriental are unbeaten in the 1943 Jubilee Cup. The combined eastern suburbs side (merged due to WW2 and reduced player numbers) defend their title in 1944.
1965: For the third time this season, Athletic snatch a win in the dying minutes, scoring a death-knock try to give them an 11-9 win over a Ken Gray-inspired Petone. Athletic are on a collision course with University to take out this year’s Jubilee Cup.
1993: A 15-point haul against Wests today has written Avalon’s ace goal-kicker Craig Laursen into Wellington club rugby record books with the most points scored in a season. Laursen takes his season tally to 250, eclipsing what is understood to be Petone’s Allan Hewson’s record of 238. MSP’s Elton Moncreiff is chasing hard on 235 and will likely surpass Hewson’s record with three rounds still to play. Avalon beats Wests 40-19 and MSP defeats Johnsonville 68-0.
1999: Defending champions Western Suburbs grab top spot for the upcoming semi-finals series with a 52-10 win over Ories. Wests score six first half tries and have the game sewn up by halftime. Wests will meet MSP in next week’s final after the latter pip Tawa 30-29 in a thriller.
2010: In diabolical conditions, Poneke swamp Upper Hutt 31-3 at Maidstone Park to earn their fourth straight win and go to the top of the table and put themselves in a strong position heading into the semi-finals with two rounds to play. In a strong team effort, five individuals score tries. Petone overrun Old Boys-University 20-3 at the Basin Reserve to keep their playoff chances alive, while defending champions MSP’s playoff chances are probably shot after losing to Norths by the same score, 20-3.
1936: 1933 champions and title contenders Wellington College Old Boys get beaten in the backs by Petone and they lose 6-3 in the match of the round at Athletic Park. The loss proves fatal to WCOB’s hopes of another title, eventually won by Athletic.
1987: Petone beat Poneke 15-13 in a high tempo thriller today. Both teams run the other off their feet at Petone lead 12-0 at halftime and then defend waves of Poneke attack in the second half. A late Allan Hewson dropped goal secures victory for Petone.
1992: Naera Parata scores two tries and 18 points for Petone to become the first player to notch 200 points in Premier rugby this season, helping the Villagers to a 41-13 win over MSP. This win is Petone’s fifth on the trot in the Jubilee Cup and they go on to capture the Swindale Shield-Jubilee Cup double.
1998: Tawa beats defending champions MSP 16-12 and Western Suburbs shut out Norths 33-5 in today’s two Jubilee Cup semi-finals, Tawa protecting their lead over the final 20 minutes and Wests scoring two pushover tries to No. 8 Ben Fisher as part of their win.
2009: Fullback James So’oialo scores all the points including two intercept tries to lead co-defending champions Northern United to a shaky 23-17 win over Hutt Old Boys Marist to keep his side in the mix in the sixth and penultimate round of the Jubilee Cup. So’oialo’s personal points scoring haul, including the match winning try in the dying stages, will prove enough to propel Norths into the semi-finals in a fortnight’s time, while at the same time burying HOBM’s playoff hopes. With the Eagles holding a 17-16 lead, So’oialo intercepts his second pass of the afternoon and races away to win the game for his team, in the process surpassing 200 points for the season.
1931: The 1931 Jubilee Cup is heartily contested with several sides in the mix throughout the season. In the end Hutt come out on top to claim their maiden Jubilee Cup, beating a strong Marist side 9-3 in a key match. But on this day Hutt meet a 3-8 defeat to neighbours Eastbourne in the match of the round at Athletic Park. Hutt’s defeat put themselves, Wellington, Eastbourne and Poneke – who they have previously drawn 14-14 with in another big match of 1931 – bunched together. Hutt prevail in the subsequent weeks and became the third side in as many years to win the new Jubilee Cup.
1980: Steve Haturini scores a double as Poneke beat Wellington 23-16. MSP wing Wayne Gray notches his 13th try of the season in his side’s 39th straight win, 29-7 over Athletic, while Allan Hewson and Mike Clamp score two tries each in Petone’s 20-15 win over WCOB.
1986: With two matches to play, MSP are almost assured of at least a share of the Jubilee Cup after they decisively beat defending champions Wellington 37-10 today. MSP have now won 12 games on the trot.
1997: Starting the day in sixth, Harlequins snatch fourth place for next week’s semi-finals after earning a last round 26-20 bonus point win over Johnsonville and rivals Avalon beat Norths 26-18 but fail to improve their points differential and Petone defeat HOBM 39-16. Meanwhile, an injury and illness hit Wests call upon Tony Meachen – retired for 10 years – to face MSP who beat them 20-7 and then topple them 22-9 in the next week’s semi-final rematch.
2008: Marist St Pat’s and Petone will host this year’s two Jubilee Cup semi-finals, following wins over Old Boys-University and Northern United respectively in trying conditions. Torrential rain on Saturday morning helped cut up the already soft grounds around the region and made for a good old fashioned hard slog in the mud across most Premier and Premier Two sixth round venues, leaving a busy week ahead around the region for drycleaners. MSP defeat Old Boys-University 26-0 at the Basin Reserve and Petone overcame Norths 17-9 at home and open up a seven-point gap to their third placed Porirua rivals.
1940: Eastbourne upset championship leaders Wellington in this first round Jubilee Cup clash at Athletic Park. Having toppled big guns Athletic the previous Saturday, Eastbourne are quickly becoming the giant killers of the 1940 season. In an exciting match, Eastbourne lead 11-0 at halftime and hold off the Axemen in the second spell to win 14-8. It is Athletic who go on to win the 1940 Jubilee Cup – after a forced two-week break for all teams in August on account of closed grounds.
1985: MSP and Wellington are the two unbeaten sides, after MSP beats Avalon 40-0 and Wellington overruns Ories 43-9. Meanwhile, Poneke call on Gaelic flair, with French import Eric Blanc featuring in three tries and scoring one himself in their 31-16 win over Hutt Valley Marist.
2000: Friday night Jubilee Cup semi-finals at the new Westpac Stadium see Poneke edge MSP 27-26 and Petone defeat Johnsonville 19-13. For Poneke, David Holwell kicks 17 points, while a kick into the in-goal by Petone first five-eighth Riki Flutey on the stroke of halftime proves the decisive score for them.
2013: Recently crowned Swindale Shield champions Tawa add the Andy Leslie Trophy to their cabinet today for winning the Jubilee Cup round-robin series today. All that’s missing is the big one, the Jubilee Cup itself, which moves into championship mode next weekend. Tawa beat HOBM 23-9 in today’s seventh round match. HOBM qualify second, ahead of OBU third and Ories fourth.
1973: MSP’s All Black fullback Joe Karam kicks four penalties to give his side a 12-7 win over the Wellington Axemen, effectively handing another Jubilee Cup to Petone, who were inspired by Mark Stevens and John Dougan in their 39-3 win over Hutt Old Boys.
1984: Upper Hutt beats Petone 26-19 in what is their first win at the Petone Recreation Ground in many seasons. Upper Hutt trail 10-19 at halftime, but turn with the wind and over-run the Villagers. First five-eighth Sam McLean is the hero, kicking four penalties and two dropped goals for 18 points. It’s also Upper Hutt’s first win in their past 17 Jubilee Cup matches. Poneke remain in front, after battling to a 15-10 win over Hutt Valley Marist.
1990: Northern United first five-eighth Ken Kakahi steps up and kicks the winning penalty in the dying moments to give his side a 19-18 win over Hutt Old Boys, while Poneke beat Upper Hutt 14-10 to extinguish their Jubilee Cup hopes.
2001: MSP sneak into the Jubilee Cup top four with a nail-biting 30-27 win over Western Suburbs at Rugby League Park. They lead 23-8 but Wests roar back with a southerly advantage. The turning point comes when MSP hooker Luke Mahoney, later to play for Wests, makes a break and sets up a try to lock Andrew Gallagher.
2007: MSP qualify top for the Jubilee Cup Semi-finals with a round to spare with a clinical 69-15 demolition of wooden spoon-bound Wests Roosters at home at Evans Bay Park. MSP win their sixth straight second round match and earn their first bonus point, minus recent forwards regulars Wellington lock Bernie Upton and new Manawatu signing and hooker Ged Robinson. The other three matches on this day are much closer. HOBM topple Petone 21-15, Tawa prevailed over Poneke 19-17 and OBU draw 22-22 with Norths.
2012: Defending champions Oriental Rongotai, Marist St Pat’s and Northern United all book their Jubilee Cup semi-final places with next week’s seventh and final round to spare, in bright sunshine today. Ardie Savea is again the star and scores two tries as Ories blast past Tawa 43-5 at the Polo Ground and Norths run through winless Petone 59-12 to record bonus point victories and maintain the top two places on the table. MSP score two tries in their 26-14 win over highly rated Wainuiomata at Evans Bay Park