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Petone and Norths to meet in Jubilee Cup final after slashing semi-final wins

Petone’s Ben Brooking scores the winning try at the end of the game against Tawa in their Jubilee Cup semi-final. PHOTO: Tarn Styche.

Jubilee Cup semi-finals results:

Hardham Cup semi-finals results:

  • By Steven White, Adam Julian and Scott Maclean

Sunday morning updates: It’s Petone and Northern United.

They met two weeks ago and will play again in next Saturday’s Wellington club rugby Championship Jubilee Cup decider, after prevailing in a pair of thrilling semi-final victories today.

First round Swindale Shield winners Petone beat last year’s champions Tawa 15-12 in their match at the Petone Recreation Ground and Northern United defeated Hutt Old Boys Marist 38-24 at the Hutt Recreation Ground.

The Hardham Cup final will be between Old Boys University and Oriental-Rongotai.

In today’s two semi-finals, Old Boys University held on to beat the Upper Hutt Rams 20-14 at Nairnville Park and Ories pulled clear of Wainuiomata 45-17 at Kilbirnie Park.

Two other finalists in Wellington club rugby were also found today, with Stokes Valley and Petone set to meet in the HD Morgan Memorial Premier 2, Division 2 decider next Saturday.

In a round-up of today’s two Jubilee Cup semi-finals, the only thing bigger than Ben Hur in Petone is Ben Brooking.

The fullback scored a try in the 84th minute to earn his side a place in the Jubilee Cup final for the first time since 2005. Their opponents are Norths who they beat 21-20 that day.

Petone really had no right to win the game. They were stranded in their own 22 for the best part of 20 minutes but somehow resisted and were lucky Tom Cutler missed a handy penalty at 12-8 with about eight minutes left.

The last try saw Petone cautiously advance the ball, baiting Tawa into conceding three penalties. The winning moment happened just to the left of the posts when a stockpile of forwards were converged in a ruck and Brooking was in wide open space.

As a spectacle it was mostly grim. Petone kicked the opening penalty before Pepesana Patafilo added some spark, scoring a try with a 20-metre burst after 20 minutes. Tawa lost first five Trent Renata after half an hour, which was a serious blow. The halftime score was 5-3.

Lock Jack Ross scored first in the second half to put Petone up 8-5. Halfback Cam Ferreira instrumental in the set up with a slashing a 30-metre break. Replacement Tawa lock Hemi Fermanis restored ascendancy for Tawa when he carried three players over the line. Tawa didn’t convert their chances – unusual from the former champions. Standouts included Jack Ross, Hugo Plummer and Jacob Gooch.

Petone celebrate their win on fulltime. PHOTO: Tarn Styche.

The Hutt Rec semi-final was a battle between the precision and control of the HOBM Eagles versus the X-factor of Northern United.

With four Super Rugby players starting the game (TJ Perenara, Du Plessis Kirifi and Jackson and Connor Garden-Bachop) versus HOBM’s one (James O’Reilly), it was the Norths’ up-tempo style that won out on the day.

Counter-attacking at every opportunity, and with Jackson Garden-Bachop’s reliable boot, Norths sailed home on the gentle breeze to score 25 unanswered points in the second half.

Still trailing 34-23 with several minutes remaining, the winning try was created from a tap penalty almost 70 metres out. Norths rampaged up into the 22, and almost two minutes and two penalty advantages later, the weight of pressure told and Norths scored out wide through centurion and second five Te Kahui Bishop.

Norths sealed the win with a couple of minutes to play with a similar raid up into the 22 and a Garden-Bachop penalty followed to put the game out of reach of the Eagles.

Replacement centre Jayden McCarthy ran in another try with the final play of the game to put the icing on the cake, to the thunderous applause of the large band of visiting supporters.

Earlier, Norths had scored their first try to Jackson Garden-Bachop, the first five waltzing over following an attacking scrum in the 22. His conversion put Norths ahead 10-3 and their tails were up at this stage.

However, the Eagles would strike back with three exhilarating tries over the remainder of the first half, the first two of these coming from penalties and outstanding lineout drives.

The first of these was scored in the 19th minute to barnstorming No. 8 Mika Alaifatu after a lineout, a break up towards the line by second five Albert Polu and some pick and goes, which levelled the score to 10-10. Ten minutes later Garden-Bachop kicked his second penalty to put Norths back in front 13-10.

The Eagles then scored two consecutive tries right before halftime to go ahead 24-13 at the turnaround.

The first of these tries was their second lineout drive special, which was scored by hooker James O’Reilly.

From the very next re-start, the Eagles broke through, leading to flanker Ben Power almost scoring in the far corner. Norths were stretched, HOBM recycled quickly back towards the posts, and first five Brandyn Laursen scored next to the posts and converted his own try.

The Eagles were almost in again early in the second half from another lineout drive, but this time Norths held them off, one of several decisive turnovers and breakdown penalties that they would make throughout the second half.

There was no further scoring until the 58th minute when Jackson Garden-Bachop scored a similar try to that which HOBM had scored on halftime. Norths had stretched the Eagles to almost breaking point, and hooker Ethan Robinson-Mate made a powerful surge but was tackled short. More recycling led to the converted try that closed the deficit to 24-20, ahead of the final period of play in which they soared to victory.

Unfortunately, the lead-up to that try was marred by a double yellow card to Norths No 8 Luca Rees and a HOBM player. This followed a scuffle close to the Eagles line.

The two Hardham Cup semi-finals saw Ories in front of Wianuiomata the whole way, scoring seven tries. Right wing Teni Tautua’a scored two tries, with lock Malachi Ti’a, outside backs Malachai Unasa and Skivi Va’a, openside flanker Sione Halalilo and a penalty try the other scorers.

On a heavy field at Nairnville Park, Old Boys University raced to a 20-0 lead after 30 minutes, which was the halftime score. The Rams came back to score two converted tries in the second half but the Billygoats held them out to the end.

Contrasting margins in the Premier 2 Ed Chaney Cup.

Tawa continued on their merry way by beating Norths 56-24 on the back field at Porirua Park, while Ories were big 59-14 winners over OBU. The two games in the city were much tighter with HOBM crossing late to edge Poneke 20-19 on Kilbirnie Park with Avalon getting up 35-31 over MSP across at Evans Bay.

Meanwhile Stokes Valley and Petone will meet in the HD Morgan Memorial final next Saturday. Petone made no race of things in beating Johnsonville 60-12, with Stokes Valley following up with a 27-8 win over Wainuiomata.

The Colts Paris Memorial will go down to a virtual final next week.

Petone remain on top after having the bye this round and will meet OBU – who moved just a point behind after easing past Johnsonville 38-19 – next week. HOBM are third after beating MSP 41-15, while Paremata-Plimmerton are fourth despite losing 28-29 to Tawa in a thriller at Lyndhurst. Wellington thrashed Wainuiomata 58-7 to also move up the table while further down Poneke trounced a shorthanded Avalon 76-17.

Johnsonville and OBU were the winners on today’s opening Under 85 Paul Potiki Shield matches. The Hawks held firm on home turf to beat Poneke 24-5, while Scallywags grabbed a 12-10 win over the Upper Hutt Rams.

In Division 2 Avalon beat Wellington 22-15 under the lights last night, while the other match saw Stokes Valley beat Eastbourne 20-7. In Division 3 MSP beat Petone 24-17, and HOBM topped Wests 22-6.

The day’s rugby started at Porirua Park with the opening round of the Women’s Farah Palmer Cup, where the Wellington Pride were well beaten 43-5 by Canterbury.

Canterbury were far too good for the Wellington Pride at Porirua Park. PHOTOl Andy McArhur.

A high point for the Pride came from the opening kick-off when former Wellington No. 8 Marcelle Parkes dropped the kick-off received by Canterbury. The visitors immediately set about dominating the Pride scrum and that and a brilliant individual long-range try first five Rosie Kelly put the visitors up 17-0 after as many minutes.

The Pride came back but couldn’t score and that was the halftime score. Canterbury scored their fourth, bonus point try soon after halftime to go 24-0 up, which was followed by more one-way traffic and at 43-0 after 70 minutes it was game over. For the Pride, replacement wing Ayesha Leti-L’iga scored an obligatory consolation try.

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