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Women’s winners found, as Paremata-Plimmerton have one hand on the Swindale Shield

The Marist St Pat’s Women’s team – Division 1 Championship Tia Paasi Cup winners today. PHOTO: Andy McArthur.

  • By Steven White, Scott MacLean and Adam Julian

Results & Scoring (as received) HERE

Two club rugby titles were decided today in Wellington club rugby, while a third is on ice until next week – but for a death-knock try in a crunch Swindale Shield match that has kept the Premier men’s first round title alive for another week.

The two trophies that were decided were the Division 1 and 2 Women’s titles, with Marist St Pat’s winning the Division 1 Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy and Hutt Old Boys Marist/Wainuiomata taking home the Division 2 Izzy Ford Cup.

MSP beat Petone 34-32 and Hutt Old Boys Marist/Wainuiomata defeated Paremata-Plimmerton 22-17 in their decider, in the two finals played at the NZCIS grounds at Trentham.

The MSP Women’s team celebrate their win over Petone. Photo: Andy McArthur.

It is the Paremata-Plimmerton men’s team that is one of two protagonists heading into next week’s 13th and found round of the Premier Swindale Shield. The Hammerheads cut through Petone to win 53-24 and capture the Ken Gray Cup for the first time. The bonus point win put them on 55 competiton points and one hand on the spoils regardless of what happened at the other crucial match at Maidstone Park between hosts the Upper Hutt Rams and Old Boys University.

Paremata-Plimmerton had the Swindale Shield in their grasp outright right up until the 80th minute when OBU sensationally scored a converted try to cut their loss to 25-31 and crucially seal a losing bonus point to go to 50 points on the table.

The upshot of that is that OBU and Paremata-Plimmerton meet in next week’s final round and OBU will need to win with a bonus point and deny the Hammerheads any points to draw level with them on 55 competition points to share the 2023 Swindale Shield.

Short reports of both these matches below.

Elsewhere in the Swindale Shield today, the race for the eighth and final spot in the Jubilee Cup will come down to next week’s final round, between Oriental-Rongotai (37 points and currently eighth) and Hutt Old Boys Marist (36 and ninth).

Both Ories and HOBM had big bonus point wins today.

At the Polo Ground, Ories defeated Poneke 49-7 to win back the Jimmy Grbrich inter-club trophy. Ories scored seven tries, with two to wing Daniel Tafili, while fullback Declan Hay kicked all seven conversions.

At the Hutt Rec, HOBM took down Northern United 64-31, with left wing Nash Fiso scoring three tries and centre Brandyn Laursen also scoring three tries, as well as kicking six conversions for 27 points.

Johnsonville cemented their top four position heading into next week’s final round with a 32-0 win over Avalon on their Old Timers’ Day fixture at Helston Park. The match was called off early because of injury. More on this match below.

Marist St Pat’s moved to sixth and three points inside the top eight eight cut-off zone by beating Wainuiomata in a doozy at William Jones Park for the Rona Morrissey Cup.

The first half was an exciting affair with Wainuiomata taking a 24-22 lead into halftime.

The second half tightened up considerable in slippery conditions following some rain, and MSP got themselves in front in the 55th minute with a  penalty.

It wasn’t until the dying minutes that MSP clinched the match with their winning try to wing Tuga Mativa, his second of the match, after taking a quick tap from a penalty inside the attacking zone.

Tawa are right behind MSP and equal with Ories on the standings in seventh equal after their 77-7 win over the Wellington Axemen for the Alan & Murray Mexted Cup at Hataitai Park.

The upshot of the middle of the table standings is that one of MSP (on 39 points), Tawa (37), Ories (37), HOBM (36) are going to miss out on the Jubilee Cup next weekend.

Poneke, Wainuiomata (both 17), Norths (15), Avalon (12) and Wellington (0) are all confirmed as Hardham Cup-bound.

Paremata-Plimmerton stunned Petone 53-24 to move within a whisker of their first Swindale Shield title.

Three tries in an electrifying five-minute burst on either side of halftime flipped a 19-12 deficit against the hosts and create unstoppable momentum for the remainder of the contest.

Petone started strongly with their expansive continuity, stretching the Hammerheads defence.

Discipline was initially an issue for the hosts with three Tjay Clarke penalties, a Carne Green dropped goal, and a penalty try from a rolling maul ensuring the scoreboard ticking over.

Paremata-Plimmerton sounded a warning of their counter-attacking prowess when Ethan Webster-Nonu powered over from centre on the right wing and Louis Northcott skinned three defenders on the opposite side in a blockbuster charge from halfway.

The match’s turning point was right on halftime when the score was 19-12 to Petone. Destructive lock Mellenniumma Leota bundled aside multiple tacklers and was dragged down by a crowd of desperate cover just short of the line. Leota recycled promptly and first-five Sam Clarke sailed through a nearby hole.

Leota was rampant and another stampeding run saw him across the strip and Paremata-Plimmerton lead for the first time.

Northcott then caught the ball on the full, from a contestable kick-off and blitzed clear like a comet – Petone shell-shocked at 31-19.

It only got worse for the visitors when second-five Dale Sabbagh bounced around like a pinball pace underneath the sticks and double the Hammerheads advantage.

Petone was far from awful. Locks Jack Ross and Iona Apineru toiled gamey, halfback Cam Ferreria cleared quickly, and Jarrod Adams was lively on the left wing. However, Paremata-Plimmerton was ruthless on the counterattack from turnover ball.

A long-range try by Esi Komaisavai involving half a dozen handlers was top self while veteran Blake Neve brought up the half-century scampering 60m after a Tane McMillan-Parata kick to vacant space. The blindside had been sin-binned in the first half but returned in uncompromising fashion.

Paremata-Plimmerton have won 11 games in a row and alarmingly could be much better with more rigorous discipline.

The Upper Hutt Rams beat Old Boys University 31-25 in darkening conditions at Maidstone Park.

The Rams won the game but OBU scored a converted try in the 80th minute to give them a losing bonus point, which keeps their chances alive of co-winning the Swindale Shield next week.

OBU were seemingly dead and buried when trailing 31-11 heading in to the last 10 minutes, after the Rams had scored their second consecutive try in the far righthand corner to captain and No. 8 Toby Crosby take an apparent commanding lead. In so doing, they moved into the top four of the standings and in the box seat to earn a Jubilee Cup semi-final spot.

But the pattern of home matches at Maidstone Park often goes down to the wire, and this was no exception, OBU scoring their two tries, culminating in replacement flanker Blake Love crossing 10 metres to the right of the uprights, and first five Tom Henderson converting the final play of the game to keep themselves on tenterhooks for a title shot next weekend.

OBU had led 11-9 at half time after taking an early 8-0 lead through a penalty kick and a try from another penalty and lineout drive to hooker Louie Calvert. The Rams got on the board with a penalty but OBU second five Callum Harkin kicked two more penalties, including a swashbuckling 48-metre penalty on an acute angle. The Rams first five Tynan Barrett closed the first half with his third penalty kick.

The Rams were quickly on to attack straight after half time and were awarded a penalty in front of OBU’s posts, and at the same time, OBU lost a player to the sinbin. From the next play, the Rams packed down a scrum and No. 8 and Crosby peeled off the back and passed to second five Emmanuel Solomona who scored under the posts, to put the Rams ahead 16-11 to set up an exciting remainder of the second half.

OBU also lost Harkin to injury, an apparent serious hand injury, which forced a rejig to their inside backs as well as the loss of their playmaker.

Emmanuel Solomona scores to put the Rams up 16-11 early in the second half. Photo: Andy McArthur.

Play ebbed and flowed until centre Todd Svenson finished off a long passage of play to gallop through and score near the posts to extend the lead to 23-11.  Barrett kicked his fourth penalty to put them in front 26-11 and then Crosby crossed with 10 minutes to play after a turnover in centre field and kick and chase over the top of the ruck by Barrett, to surely bury the Goats. But they kept coming and scored two tries in the final five minutes, a second to hooker Calvert and then the match-winner to Love.

Rams halfback Kaide McCashin makes a break with Dan Schrijvers in his 100th match for the Rams in support. Photo: Andy McArthur.

Johnsonville vaulted themselves into third with a 32-0 win over Avalon in an abbreviated clash at Helston Park. It was the Wolves that started the strongest and were perhaps unlucky not to score in the opening stages only for Anthony Pettett to rip the ball out across the line and the Hawks cleared. Pettett would succumb to injury after 25 minutes, but the Hawks response was immediate as their scrum – dominant all day – shoved the Wolves back and Serge Hollis scored. That was converted by Mark Sutton, but a later penalty was the only addition to the first-half scoring as Avalon hung tough.

Sutton opened the second half scoring with a second penalty, before Aukuso Tuitama skipped through several defenders to score. Regan Herbert scored the Hawks third before a lengthy break of about 30 minutes transpired after a serious leg injury to Avalon hooker Koli Bower interrupted matters. After the resumption Finlay Sharp scored Johnsonville’s bonus point try, before a conference ensued in the gathering gloom and referee Jack Sargentina chose to end matters after about 67 minutes of play

Premier 2

The Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield will go down to the final weekend after the two contenders – Tawa and Petone – both won today. Tawa ran their record to 46 games unbeaten with a hard-fought 27-19 win in the late game against Stokes Valley at Delaney Park, while Petone ran out 56-22 winners over Pare-Plim.

Poneke have secured a top-four place with their 19-14 over an Ories side that had Ardie Savea marauding at fullback, while MSP and HOBM will fight out the fourth spot in the final weekend after they beat Wainuiomata 27-12 and Norths 46-17. In the remaining fixtures the Upper Hutt Rams drew 15-all with OBU (see report below), and Johnsonville beat winless Avalon 37-13 (also see report below)

The Premier 2 curtain-raiser at Maidstone Park was also a thrilling affair, with home team the Rams and visitors OBU drawing 15-15.

The match went to the end with OBU attacking relentlessly but the Rams able to hold them off. The Billygoats Second XV had come storming back in the final quarter but could only cross the line once to lock it up, despite the Rams having two of their loose forwards in the sin-bin at the time.

The Rams had led 15-10 at halftime with a heavy shower of rain falling on Upper Hutt, after the Goats had scored early but they had scored twice to move ahead 10-5. OBU crossed for their second try to tie it up at 10-10, but the Rams scored what was the try of the match in the 35th minute when they won a tighthead scrum 40 metres out and counterattacked across to the far side for a try in front of the sausage sizzle outside the gym.

The match-equalising try for OBU against the Rams in the Maidstone curtain-raiser.

OBU also missed a penalty kick on halftime, which ultimately proved a key miss.

Johnsonville secured their third win of Harper Lock Shield with a solid, if scratchy, 37-13 win over winless Avalon in the early clash at Helston Park. Avalon opened the scoring after ding-dong opening 20 when a sweet set piece move put their fullback across, and added a penalty soon thereafter.

Injury however forced the Hawks into a change and the injection of Stephen Nelson gave them greater cohesion, and a long range try and a penalty gave them a 10-8 halftime edge. The Hawks would add four more tries after the break including having the final say, but Avalon’s only response was a well-worked effort, even if the result wasn’t in doubt at that stage

Women’s

Both Women’s finals were closely fought affairs.

MSP took an early lead and went out to a three tries to one lead with halftime approaching. Petone scored right on halftime and MSP led 17-12 at the turnaround.

MSP extended their lead, but Petone came back strongly towards the end, closing to within two points but the clock was against them and MSP held on to take out the Tia Paasi Trophy.

In the Division 2 decider, it was lock Kiri Grönbeck who scored the winning try and her second of the match in her team’s 22-17 win over Paremata-Plimmerton.

HOBM/Wainui had led 12-5 at halftime, but Paremata-Plimmerton came right back to draw level 17-17 midway through the second spell and the final was on edge throughout the remainder of the contest.

The izzy Ford champions HOBM/Wainuiomata side after their win today. Photo: T-Paul Gale.

Colts

There were two thrillers in Colts matches played today.

Petone beat Ories 31-29 and Poneke pipped OBU Green 29-28.

The third fixture played today saw Wellington prevail over Wainuiomata 36-5.

There were two matches played on Friday night this week, with HOBM beating the Upper Hutt Rams 17-6 and Tawa defeating Marist St Pat’s 34-0.

The upshot in the Paris Memorial Trophy is that HOBM (on 41 points) hold an eight-point lead in the standings to second placed Petone (33) with two rounds to play. However, the Junior Eagles have yet to have their bye and Petone has, so Petone could mathematically still take the title over the final fortnight. Tawa (30) and Ories (27) round out the top four.

College

By Joe @tackld

A quiet sort of Saturday for the Tranzit Coachlines Premiership with there being only three games played. Two of which were high scoring affairs. Scots College continue amassing the points in beating HIBS 65-21. A superior points differential sees them snatch top spot on the table from St Patrick’s College (Silverstream). The latter enjoyed a midweek win over Wellington College 32-19.

At Evans Bay, St Patrick’s College (Town) scored their second win in two weeks, beating Mana College 69-0. With having only eight specialist forwards it was always going to be a tough day for Mana.

A rejigged St Pats line-up came out firing from the opening whistle. For Pats, it was a big day for Chris Taulogo who scored three second half tries on the left wing. A season best performance from Lock, Jake Townsend, contributed to a good forward display from the home team. Faimalie Tagoal also seems to be enjoying the move from prop to hooker.

St Pat’s Town wing Chris Taulogo with one of his three tries.

For Mana, highly considered players No.8 Otis Baker and midfield-back Seth Bailey continue to consistently perform for their team. Bailey put in some telling tackles.

 

Mana’s Seth Bailey makes one of his crunch tackles.

 

A season’s best performance from Town lock Jake Townsend.

Rongotai College hosted the closest game of the day in beating St Bernard’s College 22-15. Essential points if Rongotai are to challenge for a play-off place for the finals. Rongotai will host St Patrick’s College (Silverstream) on Wednesday in their traditional fixture.

The Silverstream 2ndXV continued their impressive run with a 26-14 win at Paraparaumu College. Stream are now the only unbeaten team in Premier 2. Naenae enjoyed a 26-22 win over Porirua and HVHS scored a 36-6 victory over Newlands.

In the battle of the second XVs, St Patrick’s College (Town) couldn’t hold on to their half-time lead, going down to Wellington College 2ndXV 17-13. WC had a lively second half scoring two converted tries and a penalty. Wellington’s locks, the two Georges: George Guy and George Woodman both had good games. St Pat’s loose forward Eric Semanu (playing open side and then no.8) and halfback Aidan Eastwood contributed gamely.

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