- By Steven White, Adam Julian and Martyn Bridge. Photos by Mike and Caroline Lewis and Andy McArthur.
The HOBM Eagles winning the McBain Shield back off Petone and Avalon breaking their almost two year Swindale Shield losing streak were features of two Premier matches played in the Hutt Valley this afternoon.
With heavy overnight and morning showers parting for a sunny afternoon, the HOBM Eagles beat Petone 35-26 at home at the Hutt Rec, while the Avalon Wolves brushed aside Paremata-Plimmerton 43-17 at Fraser Park. More on these games below.
At the top of the table, Old Boys University lead the standings and remain unbeaten with a Peter Dunford Cup and Bill Brien Cup defence win over Wainuiomata at Nairnville Park. The Goats won 36-8.
OBU won six tries to one, with right wing Alex Ropeti scoring twice and his younger brother and flanker Dom, prop Jonathan Fuimaono, No. 8 Shamus Hurley-Langton and replacement forward Paddy Carter scoring the other tries. Wainuiomata led 8-7 at halftime.
Marist St Pat’s beat Johnsonville 43-15, with James Tuia and Ryan Setefano scoring two tries each and Res Tasele, Isaia Petelo and Shane Thompstone scoring the others.
Across the road at Kilbirnie Park, Northern United beat Poneke on their Old Timers’ Day and for the Cyril Collett Memorial Shield. For Poneke, lock Galu Taufele, replacement back Isaac Moe-Jenkins and left wing Psalms Latu scored their tries. Norths led 22-3 at halftime. For the visitors, first-five Dale Sabbagh and No. 8 Luca Rees both scored two of their six tries.
At Hataitai Park, Tawa beat Wellington 26-12 for the Murray & Alan Mexted Cup, after earlier establishing a 21-0 lead.
Across at the Polo Ground, home side Oriental-Rongotai ran away late in the match to defeat the Upper Hutt Rams 41-16 in their Bob Lendrum Cup fixture. More on this game below.
Hutt Old Boys Marist regained the McBain Shield with a superior forward effort a key reason for their win – which involved dismantling the Petone lineout, pressuring the scrum, and disrupting the breakdown.
The first 20 minutes had more fireworks than a Sydney new year. Four cracking tries were scored as picking a winner appeared hazardous. Petone struck the first blow when New Zealand Under-20 centre Riley Higgins blasted through the defence and kicked deftly ahead for Richard Evans to dot down before the dead ball line.
Jarrod Adams’ meek kick from near his own goal line didn’t have the same effect and HOBM took a 7-5 lead courtesy of solid centre Jordan Glen-Bradbrook.
Eagles fullback Tomasi Alosio is hard to contain at the best of times, but when the ball is kicked straight to him in space only havoc reigns and HOBM went ahead 12-5. Petone wing Mason Henry responded with his own individual brilliance as the spectators struggled for breath.
The pace had to slow, and it suited the hosts. HOBM smothered, Petone struggled. It was 22-19 at halftime but two penalties to Brandyn Laursen and an intercept to wing Fereti Soloa made it 32-19 to Hutt.
Petone replaced most of their starting forwards to try and stop the squeeze. It had the desired result initially when Hutt hooker James O’Reilly was sin binned and Jack Ross rumbled over from a maul to make it 32-26.
However, the constant bite of the Manaia brothers, Ben Power, Jordan Gillies and Mika Alaifatu was enough to wear down the Villagers whose lineout in particular was a disaster. The last Laursen penalty was an insurance policy. Petone’s didn’t have an obvious standout with inconsistency hampering their prospects. Wing Sam Blackburn and No.8 Peter Lakai, who resembles a junior Gus Sowakula are worthy of mention.
Up the motorway, Avalon broke their 18 game Swindale Shield losing streak with an emphatic style, beating Paremata Plimmerton 43-17 at a sunny and breezy Fraser Park.
Superior size and physicality, and the try scoring feats of new electric left wing Anzac Masua propelled the Wolves to what was a match-winning 19-0 lead after about 30 minutes. Masua scored two of the first three tries, including starting and finishing a popular breakout try from a turnover 70 metres out.
Prop Patrick Roil scored the other early try. Roil was later sinbinned in the second half and the game would go to golden oldies scrums but these factors had no bearing on the result.
Just before halftime, Paremata-Plimmerton hit back with two well-taken tries of their own, both involving the educated boots of inside backs Johnathan Sabo and Justin Wilson. Sabo produced a rugby league-style cross kick for right wing Jordan Clark and then Wilson’s up-and-under into the setting sun forced a fumble by Avalon, they recycled and left wing Jack Poutasi scored in the other corner. The conversion was kicked from the sideline and it was 19-12 at half time.
That was as close as the Hammerheads came as Avalon started the second half in spectacular style. A blockbusting run up the middle by second five Ale Peni led to a stunning third try to left wing Masua. Avalon’s bonus point try put them ahead 24-12.
Peni made a second midfield bust, which led to Avalon’s fifth try to replacement back Danny Yandall. This put them up 31-12.
Roil’s sinbinning led to Paremata Plimmerton back Tane McMillan-Parata make a break to the 22. A series of penalties followed which led to Paremata Plimmerton’s third try to No 14 Clark, his second try, off a blindside attacking scrum. However, Avalon finished the game strongly, scoring a try to captain and prop Daley Ena, and their last try to Lama Ah Wong. Ena, in his blazer Premier game, kicked the final conversion on fulltime.
For Avalon, previously injured Hurricanes prop Fraser Armstrong played the first half while lock Teofilo Paulo and flanker Faalalo Weight both played well.
For Paremata-Plimmerton, lock and captain James Corcoran and No 8 Peni Tapau were both busy in another losing cause.
At the Polo Ground, and playing the first half into the clubrooms end, Ories opened the scoring with a 10th minute penalty. The Rams equalised to make it 3-3 after 20 minutes.
The Rams struck with the game’s first try on 25 minutes to prop Willie Tuuina following a break up field by flanker Sio Fidow.
The Rams missed chances for penalties on goal, before Ories took a quick tap and right wing Ethan Webster-Nonu scored the first of his two tries.
The Rams kicked a second penalty to inch ahead 13-10, ahead of Ories lock Tuakana Metuara scoring a converted try just before the break to put them up 17-13.
Ories started the second half with a decisive try to flanker Sione Halalilo.
Further chances followed for both Ories and the Rams, and the Rams kicked a third penalty to close the gap to 16-22 with about 10 minutes to play.
The game’s match-winner came after a turnover by Metuarau, who streaked up-field and passed to Scots school leaver Halahilo who scored in the corner to make it 27-16.
Inside the final five minutes, Webster-Nonu dived over to score his second try and and then right at the end Halahilo scored his hat-trick try, to blow the final score out to 41-16.
Oriental-Rongotai and Northern United met in the decider of the Division 1 first round Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy at the Polo Ground, with Ories winning a close one 33-31.
MSP beat Petone 34-25 in the second Division 1 match today.
In Division 2, Hutt Old Boys Marist beat Paremata-Plimmerton 32-12, to take the Division 2 first round title.
HOBM were presented with the inaugural Ru Rangi Trophy after their win. Fullback Tyler Bentley continued her striking form, scoring at least another couple of tries to add to her high season tally. Her second try, which involved a full frontal fend, was the try of the match. HOBM led 17-5 at halftime and skipped clear after that.
As well as Bentley, both HOBM props Lina Time and Christina Ualesi played well, while Paremata-Plimmerton No. 8 Toye Lotoaso had a strong game. They were missing Thamsyn Newton today.
Poneke beat Avalon 25-17 and Wainuiomata prevailed over the OBU Impalas by default in the other two matches.
Ories’ loss to OBU and Tawa’s win today means the latter has won the Harper Lock Shield with a week to spare. OBU beat Ories 29-20 and Tawa defeated Marist St Pat’s 44-14 in their two games. The third Division One match saw HOBM take down Petone Blue 72-12.
Division 2 goes down to next week after Stokes Valley beat the Rams. Stokes Valley accounted for the Rams 26-22 at home at Delany Park, to see the Rams still leading the standings but with Stokes just a point back heading into next week.
Johnsonville are clear third after blanking the Wellington Axemen 22-0, while Paremata-Plimmerton edged Wainuiomata in a close game.
In the Fraser Park curtain raiser the Avalon Wolves’ second fifteen enjoyed a productive 36-17 win over Petone White. The first half was close and Avalon led two tries to one at the turnaround. Petone scored first in the second half to even things up, but the Wolves got a roll-on and scored four consecutive tries to move ahead 36-12 with time almost up. Petone finished the match with their third try at the end.
The competitive nature of the Colts competition across both divisions continued this afternoon with some unpredictable results.
Marist St Pat’s bounced back from their heavy defeat to Tawa last week to beat Ories 47-17 in their Paris Memorial Division 1 match, while Tawa themselves fell to a 22-31 home loss to Hutt Old Boys Marist.
Defending champions OBU Green beat Petone Blue 38-21, but didn’t have the match all go their way. The upshot in Division 1 is that OBU Green lead with four bonus point wins, with MSP in second on 14 points and a logjam below them.
In Division 2, Avalo beat Wainuiomata 29-26 in a thriller on Fraser Park 3, to go joint top of the standings with OBU Black who took down the UH Rams Colts 27-17 up the road at Maidstone. Paremata-Plimmerton are third after beating Poneke 32-12 at Kilbirnie.
Eastbourne march on in the U85kg JC Bowl competition, unbeaten after six rounds.
Today the Seagulls beat Wellington 55-14. HOBM are second, a win back, having beaten the HOBM Green side by default, while Avalon and Johnsonville are third equal after Avalon’s 33-3 win over the Terrahawks at Fraser Park.
The OBU Scallywags lead the mid-table contenders after dispatching Wests 57-17, while MSP beat Poneke 43-19 in an eastern suburbs tussle this afternoon.
The opening round of the Hurricanes pre-season festival saw just Scots College win out of the four Wellington schools.
Scots College narrowly beat Gisborne Boys’ High School 22-21 in the early game on a heavy top field at Porirua Park. Napier Boys’ High School blanked Rongotai College 17-0 in the second match on that field.
In the first game down on Jerry Collins Stadium, Hastings Boys’ High School enjoyed a convincing 45-17 win over St Pat’s Silverstream.
Playing with the breeze in the first half, Silverstream made a dream start when midfielders Emanuel and Tony Solomona combined to score a try after an attacking lineout.
However, that was all their joy for a long time as Hastings came back and scored three tries to lead 19-7 at half time.
Silverstream made a cardinal error off the opening second half restart, with players in front of the kicker presenting Hastings with an attacking scrum on halfway. From this, Hastings soon prospered, sending their centre No 13 in for their fourth try. Hastings then marched upfield again and scored their fifth try, which was converted from the sideline, to put them up 33-7.
Silverstream rallied and scored two further tries but so did Hastings, including their final try on fulltime off a clinical lineout drive to celebrate a convincing win.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School beat St Pat’s Town 26-0 in the second match on Porirua 1.
Wellington College and Upper Hutt College qualified for the upcoming Premiership today with a week of grading to play. Wellington College beat Aotea College 43-29 and last year’s Premier 2 champions Upper Hutt beat Mana College 14-12.
Elsewhere, the Wellington College and Silverstream second XVs both qualified for this year’s Premier 2, with next weeks.