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50th Ken Gray Trophy win for Silverstream, Aotea retains Beard Trophy

  • By Adam Julian and Steven White

Wellington Premiership and other competition Draws & Results over on www.collegerugby.co.nz

St Patrick’s College, Silverstream have won the Ken Gray Memorial Trophy for the 50th time beating Wellington College 45-26 in Upper Hutt on Wednesday.

In the highest-scoring of the 89 traditional fixtures, dating back to 1931, there were 11 tries scored in bright sunshine. The previous highest-scoring game was in 2015 when Silverstream won 38-27.

Early in the second spell, the hosts trailed 19-17 but Wellington lost a player to the sin bin for a deliberate knockdown. It was a mistake that would cost 21 points and effectively settled the contest.

From the outset, signs were ominous for the visitors when blindside Toby Crosby twice cracked open the defense with the latter break finished by openside Mitch Southall after some deft hands from fullback Lachie Forbes and support by center Riley Higgins.

Wellington regrouped quickly, however, and wing Caleb Stanley crossed unopposed after a series of phases inside the 22. His next strike would be belligerent as he cannoned through some feeble defense to charge 30-meters for a touchdown under the sticks.

Crosby was rampant and he bettered Morgan’s individual effort blasting through like a missile from halfway to level the scores at 12-12.

Silverstream led 17-12 at the interval after Wellington failed to find touch from a goal-line clearance. Forbes retrieved at the ten-metre mark and regathered his chip kick as Wellington waited for an advantage from a knock-on that never materialized.

Silverstream first-five Luke Walmsley will have nightmares about his spillage, a cold drop from a high hoist at halfway gifted second-five Angus Cooper a try as Wellington reclaimed the lead.

Cooper would see yellow from the kick-off, unfortunately impending a Silverstream attack with an errant hand.

From the penalty, Silverstream won clean lineout possession and No 8. Peter Lakai powerful over from a simple midfield crash to make it 24-19.

Wellington restarted deep and Higgins faked a kick, instead scampering clear in a spectacular coast to coast effort in front of a delirious embankment.

Yellow and black woes deepened when Higgins midfield partner Junior Paulo showed his brawn to supply halfback Tjay Clarke with a try.

Restored to a full complaint Wellington proved hearty while Silverstream succumbed to error and ill-discipline. A player was sent off for punching as a disturbing regress commenced.

Wellington prop Ben Baker squirmed over out wide to close the gap to 38-26. Had Wellington had a functional lineout the deficit could have been reduced further.

Fittingly Higgins had the last say when he again busted in front of the embankment and regathered a well-placed chip.

Silverstream have maximum points after two games of the Premiership, but the gap between their best and worst was quite pronounced and suggests there is plenty of work to do.

Wellington looked solid from halfback to second five with George Sims, Jacob Waikari-Jones, and Angus Cooper an effective trio. Stanley on the wing is a handful and openside George Murray was tireless. The set-piece had a rough outing and a robust ball-carrying forward like Crosby would add an awful lot.

A large crowd of supporters from both schools was in the stand at Jerry Collins Stadium for Aotea College’s first Beard Trophy defence of the season against Bishop Viard College.

The Beard Trophy is the annual ‘Ranfurly Shield’ style trophy for competition among the five schools that make up Tawa and the Porirua basin.

Premiership team Aotea were coming off a 19-20 loss to Rongotai College’s First XV on Saturday, while Premier 3 team Bishop Viard lost 17-20 to Rongotai’s Second XV.

As expected, Aotea were the dominant team from the outset. Their fast line speed and aggressive defence proved a big step up for the boys in red, leading to numerous ruck and maul turnovers and outflanking Bishop Viard out wide where four of their first five tries were scored from as they took a 31-0 lead into halftime.

First five-eighth Kamana opened the scoring after several minutes, jinking through a hole close to the line. A breakout presented a second try to the left wing, followed by a runaway try to centre Owen Wright.

The Beard Trophy was as good as retained a few minutes before the break when a Viard kick for touch from a penalty failed to go out and Aotea counterattacked up the far side and created their fourth try to captain and blindside flanker Brandyn Tapusoa.

Aotea completed the first half by scoring a try of his own.

Aotea quickly added to their tally early in the second half off a Viard dropped pass inside their own 22, as the slippery night-time conditions became a factor.

Second five-eighth Siliga put in a cross kick for centre Wright to score next to make it 43-0, before Aotea turned defence into a long sequence of attacking play to score the next try. Aotea raised the half century with about 10 minutes to play after another turnover and try in the left hand corner.

Bishop Viard saved their best period of play until last, first five-eighth Kade Perez Saolele charging down a clearing kick and scoring a popular try in front of the clubrooms.

Aotea College’s next Beard Trophy defence is against Porirua College on Wednesday 12 August at Jerry Collins Stadium at 6.00pm.

Mana and Tawa Colleges follow suit with their challenges at the same venue and time on 26 August and 9 September respectively.

Among the Boys’ schools, Wellington College and St Pat’s Town meet next Wednesday at Wellington College and Rongotai and Wellington Colleges meet at Rongotai College on Wednesday 19 August.

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