A death-knock penalty by Wainuiomata fullback Josh Robertson-Weepu and a late try to Northern United halfback Campbell Woodmass propelled the away teams to semi-final wins this afternoon and into next weekend’s Jubilee Cup decider.
Robertson-Weepu stepped up from 25 metres out in a handy position to slot a penalty in the dying embers to give Wainuiomta a 21-20 win over Oriental-Rongotai at the Polo Ground.
Woodmass finished off a counterattack and sweeping raid up the terrace touchline to score in the corner of Lyndhurst Park to put Northern United up 18-17 with a couple of minutes to play against Tawa.
The drama wasn’t over though, as replacement Tawa flyhalf Sam Clarke lined up a 79th minute long-range penalty to re-take the lead and win the game. His kick was on target but didn’t have the legs and from there Norths scrambled to clinch victory.
Next Saturday’s Jubilee Cup final between Norths and Wainuiomata will be their first meeting in the decider, four-time champions Norths appearing in their second successive final and Wainuiomata appearing in the big show for the second show after their 2014 appearance.
Wainuiomata had taken a 13-7 lead at halftime against Ories, but Ories closed the gap to 10-13 with a Trent Renata penalty and then hit the lead with a blockbusting try to No. 8 William Heather. Trent Renata’s conversion put them ahead 17-13 as Ma’a Nonu entered the game off the bench. Renata kicked another penalty to extend their advantage to seven, before Wainuiomata scored a forwards try but Roberston-Weepu was unable to slot the sideline conversion that could have forced extra time. It wasn’t required though, as the fullback didn’t miss with his final opportunity.
A passionate Tawa stormed to a 17-0 lead over Norths. Tries to flanker Hemi Fermanis and prop and skipper James Coburn, both from lineouts, had them on top. Norths replied with a try to left wing Junior Time-Taotua from a chargedown in general play and it was 17-5 at halftime.
Norths worked themselves into the game after halftime, as Tawa were reduced to 13 players for a time with both prop Sitiveni Paongo and right wing Tane Heremia shown yellow barely a minute apart. Norths finally scored through right wing Connor Garden-Bachop up the clubrooms sideline. Another raid yielded a penalty to close the gap to 13-17, before Woodmass’s late heroics.
Next week’s Hardham Cup final will be between top qualifier Old Boys University and Marist St Pat’s, after both won comfortably on the scoreboard but were pushed hard by their opposing teams in their semi-finals.
OBU beat the Upper Hutt Rams 44-10 and MSP defeated the Wellington Axemen 34-3.
At neutral Hutt Rec, The Upper Hutt Rams started strongly against OBU. An initial penalty and a runaway try put the Rams ahead 10-7 – despite having a player in the sin-bin.
OBU’s pack muscled up and put their heads down and they moved ahead through penalties and tries to a 24-10 scoreline at halftime. Turning into the light wind and misty drizzle, the Goats pulled ahead to 34-10 after 65 minutes and then added points to take the win.
The Axemen pushed MSP hard throughout the first 40 minutes and the home team led 14-3 at the break. Early in the second half wing Willie Schutz kicked a penalty and then scored a key try after a long-range breakout and 50 metre run by fullback Billy Proctor. Late in the game prop TietieTuimauga crossed to put them ahead 27-3, before Proctor closed the contest with a long-range try.
Next weekend’s Premier Reserve Division 1 Ed Chaney Cup decider will be between home side Petone and Northern United.
Petone edged Tawa 25-21 in today’s semi-final, with Tawa finishing the match camped on Petone’s line but unable to break through for the vital score.
Norths pulled clear of Ories in the fourth quarter after holding a 14-7 lead at halftime and then a 14-12 advantage when Ories struck first in the second half on 60 minutes.
Norths scored third try inside the final 15 minutes to push them ahead 21-12, before scoring a late try and penalty to give them a 34-12 victory.
In the Premier Reserve Division 2 HD Morgan Memorial semi-finals, top qualifiers Marist St Pat’s eased to a 64-0 win over the Wellington Axemen’s second XV, while the Upper Hutt Rams pipped OBU 24-19, after these two sides had drawn their match last week. MSP and the Rams will contest the final.
The Division 1 Tia Paasi Memorial Cup final will be between top qualifier Northern United and Oriental-Rongotai.
Norths beat OBU 45-5 today, while Ories defeated Petone 45-12.
In the Division 2 semi-finals, top qualifier Paremata-Plimmerton beat Wainuiomata 48-0, with replacement back Mea Christo scoring a second half hat-trick off the bench.
MSP edged Hutt Old Boys Marist 32-31 in the other match, setting up an Izzy Ford Cup final next week between Paremata-Plimmerton and MSP.
Les Mills Colts
The John E Kelly Cup Les Mills Colts Division 1 finale will see HOBM Green and OBU Green meeting.
In today’s semi-finals, OBU Green beat Ories 24-3, while HOBM took down MSP 37-17.
In the Colts Division 2 Vic Calcinai Memorial Cup the Upper Hutt Rams beat Poneke 26-12, while Avalon pipped OBU Black 15-14 with the OBU side turning down late penalties and being held up over the line deep in injury time. The final will be a Rams-Avalon decider.
The First Grade Johnsonville Centennium Cup final will see the Avalon Knights and Stokes Valley Chiefs meeting for that silverware.
Their semi-finals saw Avalon beating OBU 37-13 and Stokes Valley toppling Wainuiomata 20-13.
Meanwhile, the semi-finalists have been found in the Paul Potiki Shield U85kg competition, with top qualifer the Upper Hutt Rams (who had the bye today) hosting Paraparaumu and Avalon hosting Johnsonville.
In today’s games, Paraparaumu scored an 84th minute try to beat the HOBM Howlers 17-16, while Avalon warmed up for next week with a 21-6 win over the Johnsonville Terrahawks.
In U85kg Division 2, Eastbourne edged the Wests Roosters 21-17 and MSP and the OBU Scallywags drew 34-34. Wellington had the bye.
The semi-finals will see top qualifier Wellington hosting the Scallywags and Eastbourne and MSP playing in the other.
On Friday two schoolboy fixtures were contested in the capital, with St Patrick’s College, Wellington defeating Manukura from Palmerston North 35-10 and a Porirua Schools selection taming their Hutt opposites 50-26 at Jerry Collins Stadium.
On the Evans Bay Park artificial, Town settled their contest with Manukura by halftime jumping out to a 28-0 lead. To the visitors credit they actually won the second-half with their second-five and No.8 proving particularly effective. In unpleasant, windy conditions it wasn’t much of a spectacle. The hosts try scorers were: Ronaldo Seumanufagai (2), Tom Walsh, Eti Anae-Brown and Bradley Crichton.
Three tries five minutes before and after halftime was the telling difference for the Porirua Schools in their 50-26 win over Hutt. The game was tight for the opening half an hour with Porirua leading by 10-7. However a rampant scrum would prove too tough to foil and two tries from that source in addition to slick handling in the ran saw Porirua jump to a 31-7 lead.
Hutt pulled one back, but Porirua always had the answers and struck twice more to lead 43-12. Hutt threatened a late rally by closing to 43-26. However Porirua cracked half a century close to full time.
There was one Premiership game on Saturday, which yielded a big result – home team Wairarapa College beating Wellington College 23-17 and knocking the latter out of semi-final contention.