- By Steven White, Scott MacLean & Andy McArthur
The Johnsonville Hawks and the Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles both swooped late for big wins on the road in the tenth round set of Swindale Shield matches played around the Wellington region under blue skies today.
Johnsonville held on over a frantic final few minutes to edge the Upper Hutt Rams to win the inaugural Kerry Williams Cup at Maidstone Park, while HOBM beat Tawa at the end of their Bill Brien Challenge Shield match at Lyndhurst Park. Johnsonville won 41-39 and HOBM won 23-22.
Johnsonville had led 31-15 against the Rams and looked to have wrestled back ascendancy midway through the second when in-form left wing Jason Tuitama scored to put them up 38-25. But down a loose forward to a yellow card, Rams captain Toby Crosby scored off the back of a scrum to make it 38-32. Hawks halfback Mark Sutton kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 41-32, but the Rams came back at the end with a converted try to Crosby – his fourth try of the game for the losing side.
HOBM’s Brandyn Laursen kicked a 45 metre penalty to win almost on time. Tawa scored an early try and had the upper hand throughout but HBOM hung in there and kept in touch. A key moment of the match was a penalty try to HOBM in the last quarter, off a lineout drive, also seeing Tawa lose a player to the sin-bin for the next 10 minutes.
It could be too little too late for their Jubilee Cup chances, but Wainuiomata earned a 59-26 Alf Keating Cup win over Northern United at home at William Jones Park with Peter Umaga-Jensen scoring a hat-trick and Tyler Tane 19 points to probably all-but end Norths’ chances of retaining their Jubilee Cup status later this year. Lock Waylon Baker scored two tries for Norths.
Competition frontrunners Paremata-Plimmerton and Old Boys University both won with bonus points to extend their lead at the top of the table. Paremata-Plimmerton beat Marist St Pat’s 35-12 at home, while OBU defeated Poneke 37-27 at Kilbirnie Park for the Beet Algar Rosebowl. With four weeks to play, Pare-Plim (45 points) and OBU (44) are tracking to meet in the penultimate round which might decide the Swindale Shield.
Paremata-Plimmerton scored three converted first half tries to go up 21-7 at the turnaround. MSP scored first in the second half to lock Curtis Finnegan to cut their lead to 21-12, but the Hammerheads scored their bonus point and winning try after 55 minutes by crossing first phase through the backs from an attacking scrum. Paremata-Plimmerton scored five converted tries all up, with first five Sam Clarke scoring a hat-trick.
OBU went up 22-10 after 40 minutes, before pulling ahead in the second spell. Halfback Kyle Preston scored two tries.
Petone (38) are third, after a predictable 74-5 win over minnows Wellington at their match relocated to the Hutt Rec, alongside the Rams (38) who gained two losing bonus points against the Hawks who are fifth (36).
Oriental-Rongotai have eased back into the top 8 (31) after arresting a three-game losing streak and beating the Avalon Wolves (9) 48-27 at Fraser Park. Ories finished the match strongly after trailing at halftime and again early in the second half. More on this match below.
The Eagles (30) and MSP (29) round out the top eight, with Tawa (27) heading the chasing pack, with a 10-point gap to Poneke (17), then Wainuiomata (14), Norths (13), Avalon (9) and Wellington (0).
A big second half into the setting sun propelled Oriental Rongotai to a free-wheeling 48-27 victory over a flagging Avalon at Fraser Park.
Ories rattled up 34 points in the second half as the effects of their stronger set piece, value off the bench from their substitutes, and Avalon’s defence falling away alarmingly at times led to one-way traffic over the final 25 minutes.
The home side was right in the game when right wing Nathan Fa’apusa crossed in his corner after a long helter-skelter opening sequence to the second half. The try started from inside his own half when fullback Ezra Sione-Leota chipped and chase and re-gathered and linked up with halfback Victor Misa which led to the try, putting Avalon up 20-14.
Ories struck back straight away with a try in the corner off a lineout drive to halfback Isaac Bracewell, but Avalon sensationally ret-took the lead with a 40 metre intercept try. Halfback Misa slotted the conversion from in front to put Avalon ahead 27-21. That was as close as the Wolves would come, as Ories finished the last quarter well on top and sealed the match in the last five minutes with tries to second five Alex Ropeti and centre Teni Tautua’a.
Earlier, Ropeti opened the try scoring in the 15th minute, running strongly off an attacking scrum, putting Ories 7-3 up. Avalon re-took the lead in the 27th minute with a clinical counter attacking try from an Ories lineout error on halfway. The Wolves spread the ball wide to right wing Fa’apusa who scored in his corner to make it 10-7 to the home side.
The game’s pattern continued five minutes later when Ories ran in their second try after a big break by No. 8 Siaosi Lavea off the back of a big scrum. Fullback Declan Hay’s conversion made it 14-10 to the visitors.
Avalon replied with their second try after almost a minute and a half of sustained pressure to make it 15-14, which was the score at half time. However, Avalon went into half time also having missed two penalties and a straightforward conversion which, on another day, could have been costly.
Whilst the game was exciting and plenty of points were scored, both sides let themselves down on numerous occasions with poor execution and lack of patience on attack. This was particularly true of Avalon who were right in the game for long periods, but several times coughed up their own ball as well as missing the aforementioned goal kicks. First five Jordan Aquila also made two searing breaks in the first half that ultimately led to no success.
Ories also got good value out of their stronger scrum as the game progressed, while the injection of Wellington Lion Sione Halalilo helped their momentum.
Petone warmed up for next weekend’s McBain Shield clash with a comfortable 74-5 win over Wellington at the Hutt Rec. The signs were ominous when Petone fullback TJ Clarke crossed within 90 seconds and again when Teddi Hern strolled over minutes later, but to their credit the Axemen were stubborn and determined for the next 25 minutes as they held out wave after wave while Petone perhaps overplayed their hand. The dam was was eventually breached before halftime at Petone ran in three tries in quick order with the last also seeing Wellington lose a man to the bin.
The procession continued after the interval as Petone ran in a further seven tries with Clarke and Cam Ferreira scoring doubles for the match, interspersed only by a beautiful try to Wellington’s replacement winger in the left-hand corner. Former Eagle Jono Bailey had the final say with the last try.
Results in the Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield largely went with the form book.
After their almighty scare last week, Tawa left nothing to chance by blitzing HOBM 62-5, while Poneke and Petone held station after also winning; Poneke were too good for OBU by 53-20, while Petone survived a 20-19 thriller over Stokes Valley (see report below). Upper Hutt beat Johnsonville 51-17, Ories got past Avalon 22-13 (see report below), and MSP beat Pare-Plim 40-27 in an entertaining clash.
The one match that went against form was at Mary Crowther Park, where Wainuiomata got their first win by beating Norths 40-25.
On neutral turf at the Hutt Rec Petone kept in the title hunt, but only just against a Stokes Valley side that had the run of most of the game and will be bitterly disappointed not to win with the Villagers edging out a 20-19 win on the back of four unconverted tries. It was a bright and aggressive start from both sides, Petone looked to move it and the Rhinos content to send waves of ball-runners. Petone led 10-7 at the interval, but Stokes Valley hit back early in the second as the two sides traded blows. Petone ultimately scored the winner with about five minutes left, but the game ended with a Valley knock-on just metres from Petone’s line
In the early game at Fraser Park, visitors Ories beat Avalon 22-13 in a highly competitive game that could have gone the other way but for a couple of earlier missed opportunities by Avalon. Avalon had racked up a 13-0 lead midway through the first half, before Ories came back with two tries, including one to centre Alex Fidow, to cut the half time score to 13-12.
Ories had the moderate breeze in the second half and scored what was their winning try midway through the second spell from a penalty and attacking play in the 22 and a try to fullback Johnson Milo This put Ories up 17-13 and they scored again to seal the win and deny Avalon a bonus point with a runaway try in the corner.
Marist St Pat’s and HOBM/Wainuiomata booked their places in their respective finals in two weeks’ time after today’s round of Women’s matches.
MSP notched their seventh straight win by beating Oriental Rongotai 27-10 at the Polo Ground, while Petone eliminated defending champions Norths with a 22-5 win out at the NZCIS campus in Trentham, with centre Justin McGregor crossing for two tries. Those results mean that next week’s final round of the Tia Passi Memorial has what amounts to a semi-final between Petone and Ories for the right to meet MSP in the decider.
It is a little more complicated in the Izzy Ford Cup. HOBM/Wainui were made to work by Poneke before prevailing 38-24, but that result leaves the Kilbirnie side still alive. Poneke led HOBM/Wainuiomata 24-14 at halftime, but the combined side scored kept them scoreless in a big second half. Fullback Jessica Patea crossed for three tries.
Avalon’s 25-20 loss to Paremata-Plimmerton eliminates them from contention, but if Poneke gets up over the Shewolves next week then Pare-Plim could still need something in order to make the final.
The OBU Scallywags head the JC Bowl teams after their eighth straight win in the competition today. The OBU side defeated mid-table contenders the HOBM Howlers 71-6 at Nairnville Park this afternoon.
The Poneke Wanderers and the Tawa Ducks are second and third respectively, after the Wanderers beat the Wests Roosters by default and the Ducks defeated Stokes Valley 55-0 away at Delany Park.
Petone won a key mid-table battle over Paremata-Plimmerton 16-5, whilst Johnsonville beat Eastbourne 27-25 in a close seaside clash at HW Shortt Park and the Wellington Axemen toppled Marist St Pat’s 43-24 at Maclister Park.
By Joe Serci @tackld
Today’s most notable Tranzit First XV Premiership performance probably came from Scots College left-wing Hayden Patu who scored a hat-trick of tries in their 49-7 win against St Patrick’s College (Town).
In a game that started as a tough tussle between two hard working forward packs, Patu’s ability to turn opportunity to points proved crucial for Scots as they established initial ascendancy.
The second half, though, really belonged to Scots as players like Sione Latu used their strength to tire out Town’s defence. They also have the luxury of being able to call on experienced midfielder Ieti Campbell, who as well as breaking tackles brings calm to his team at crunch moments and keeps them on track.
For Town, it was their third game in seven days and signs of tiredness became evident as the game progressed. Still, one has to admire the heart being showed by the Town forwards. Players like prop, Solo Vaka and flanker, Noah Misa Paese are putting in performances that should help inspire their team for the rest of the season.
Only two other games were played in the First XV Premiership today. St Patrick’s (Silverstream) scored a big 61-5 win over St Bernard’s. HIBS overcame Tawa College 34-15.
All of today’s three winners: Scots, Stream and HIBS remain unbeaten in this year’s competition.
The curtain-raiser at Evans Bay saw St Patrick’s College (Town) 2ndXV beat Hutt Valley High School 38-32. The home team started well, and their beginning meant the Hutt Boys were always playing catch up football. For the Town 2nd XV Piripi Bercic and Jeremy Kelly-Perez gave good games.
HVHS lock Kai Gilsenen and prop Faenza Snowden both put in some good work.