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OBU and Ories win Jubilee Cup eliminators in tightly fought matches

  • By Steven White, Scott MacLean and Adam Julian 

JUBILEE Cup results and scoring (with scorers as received) is HERE

HARDHAM Cup results and scoring (with scorers received) is HERE

The Old Boys University Billygoats and the Oriental-Rongotai Magpies won a pair of tightly fought Jubilee Cup elimination matches today, to advance to next week’s semi-finals.

OBU will travel to Ngati Toa Domain to play top qualifier Paremata-Plimmerton, in a replay of their first round decider a fortnight ago today, while Ories will meet Johnsonville on the Hawks’ home ground Helston Park in the other semi-final.

In today’s matches, OBU beat Tawa 22-16 at Nairnville Park and Ories knocked over the Upper Hutt Rams at Maidstone Park 30-27. More on these two games below.

There were quarter-finals in the Hardham Cup, with three comfortable wins and one closer win, with victory going the way of the home team in all four.

The three more one-sided affairs saw Petone account for Avalon 74-5 with wing Stanley Solomon scoring a hat-trick, Hutt Old Boys Marist beat Northern United 40-12 with wing Sapati Tagoai scoring two of their six tries, and Marist St Pat’s beat the Wellington Axemen 45-12. The fourth saw Poneke defeat Wainuiomata 38-24.

Midfielder Lester Maulolo makes a break for it in Petone’s Hardham Cup match against Avalon. Petone won 74-5, after leading 43-0 at halftime. PHOTO: Hugh Pretorius.

Next Saturday’s Hardham Cup semi-finals will see match-ups between two sets of rival clubs, with  Marist St Pat’s hosting Poneke from across the road at Evans Bay Park and Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marist clashing at the Petone Rec.

In Premier 2, next week’s semi-finals for the top tier Ed Chaney Cup will see top seed and unbeaten Tawa host Petone and Poneke entertain Marist St Pat’s in home-ground reversal of the two clubs’ Hardham Cup game that will follow.

In today’s two Ed Chaney Cup elimination fixtures, Petone beat the Upper Hutt Rams 31-17 at Petone and Marist St Pat’s defeated HOBM 47-17 away at the Hutt Rec.

In the second tier HD Morgan Memorial Premier 2 quarter-finals, Ories beat Avalon 48-12 on Friday night under lights, Paremata-Plimmerton beat OBU 40-17, Johnsonville defeated Norths 34-17 up on Porirua Park 3 and Stokes Valley held off Wainuiomata 19-16 at home at Delaney Park.

After Pare-Plim had beaten OBU, the tussle to see who would meet them next week took place at Delaney Park as Stokes Valley took on Wainuiomata. And it was the hosts that made the fast start with a pair of tries to first-five Anzac Masua inside the first 15 minutes; the first on a terrific outside line and the second on the end of a chip inside the 22m. But Wainuiomata were undaunted and dominated possession and territory despite plenty of big Valley defence, and were content to reap their rewards with a pair of penalties from the boot of first-five Josh Sa’u.

The second half continued to pattern, with Sa’u kicking a third penalty to narrow the margin to 12-9 and the tension ratcheted up another notch. It went up further when the chip and chase worked for the visitors on the hour mark, and at 16-12 they hit the lead for the first time. That sparked a renewed effort from the Rhinos – and more big defence – and after a string of penalties saw Wainui lose a man to the bin, the hosts crossed from short range and they went back in front with 10 to go. The last minutes saw more frantic Wainuiomata attack and staunch Valley defence, but the visitors hands let them down at critical moments and the hosts were able to escape and advance to next week.

Next week’s semi-finals in the Premier 2 tier 2 HD Morgan Memorial will see Ories hosting Johnsonville – again in a venue reversal of the two clubs’ Jubilee Cup match – and Stokes Valley and Paremata-Plimmerton meet.

Today was also the start of the second round U85kg competition, and the tier 1 Paul Potiki Shield kicked off with a minor upset with the Tawa Ducks beating the first round champions and unbeaten OBU Scallywags 29-17.

In the other two Paul Potiki Shield matches, Petone edged Paremata-Plimmerton 22-21 at Ngati Toa Domain and Stokes Valley toppled Poneke 19-7 at neutral Petone Rec.

In Division 2 Tony O’Brien Shield action, MSP beat Wellington 15-10 and HOBM beat Eastbourne 34-17. Johnsonville had the bye.

Oriental-Rongotai (30) v Upper Hutt Rams (27)

Oriental Rongotai is into the Jubilee Cup semi-finals for the ninth time since 2011 after a dramatic 30-27 win over the Upper Hutt Rams at Maidstone Park. Fullback Declan Hay kicked a penalty just to the right of the posts 5 metres out with the last play to deny the Rams what would have been a place in the top four for the first time since 2005.

About eight minutes earlier when ahead 27-20, Ories had lost a player to the sin-bin after a penalty try was conceded for slapping the ball cynically out of a ruck. Ories regrouped and relentlessly attacked the Upper Hutt line, the hosts weltering with a breakdown infringement.

The penalty try about to be rewarded. Photo: Andy McArthur.

It was a terrific contest between two evenly matched outfits. If Ories did have a deceptive edge it was in the lineouts where they stole a plethora of Upper Hutt possession. When centre Alex Ropeti shifted from first-five to centre his educated right boot, assisted by a growing breeze help the visitors play at the desired end of the field.

Ories burst out of the blocks and led 15-3 in as many minutes. Halfback Isacc Bracewell darted 25 metres from a scrum and effervescent prop Connor Lemon threw a majestic pass to create space for right wing Skivi Va’a.

Upper Hutt would lead 17-15 at halftime with No.8 Toby Cosy seizing the initiative. Crosby powered off a scrum close to halfway which helped set up first-five Tynan Barrett and then crossed himself with a muscular thrust close to the posts.

Toby Crosby making a decisive break. Photo: Andy McArthur.

It took 15 minutes for the first points of the second half to be scored. Barrett kicked a 30 metre penalty to push Upper Hutt 20-15 ahead. Ories responded swiftly and a try-to-reserve prop Jason Seumanufagi had the Magpies leading 27-20.

Both benches added conspicuous energy and thrust with Upper Hutt loose forward Josh Brown and halfback Kaide McCashin to the fore of their resurgence.

Locks Ruperake Oloapu and Samson Alaimona and flankers Dominic Ropeti and Sione Halalilo were busy and disruptive for Ories with Bracewell and Alex Ropeti combining strongly in the second spell.

For Upper Hutt Crosby is an inspirational figure. Lock Mason Davies was good around the field while second-five Emmanuel Solomona was threatening, and centre Daniel Schrijvers tackled like a flanker.

It was a cruel ending for Upper Hutt who remedied an initially retreating scum and created enough chances to win.

Old Boys University (22) v Tawa (16)

It wasn’t pretty but it was effective for Old Boys University as they clawed their way to a 22-16 win over Tawa at their home-away-from-home Nairnville Park this afternoon. Light rain cleared before kickoff, leaving dry overhead conditions but a slippery surface which was a factor in both teams making numerous handling errors and killing their own momentum with several instances of head-scratching option-taking.

There were only two tries scored in the match, the remaining 28 points coming off the kicking tee through the two conversions and eight combined penalties.

Both sides traded early penalties and Tawa led 6-3 midway through the first half. Tawa got into the game early and their rolling maul was an ominous early sign that they would get on top, particularly as OBU had been soundly beaten last week by Johnsonville.

But OBU’s pack, which featured Hurricane Caleb Delany at No. 8, eventually settled, and went desperately close to scoring the game’s first try at the Mystery Morrison end after a two-minute build-up, but Tawa came up with a big defensive play under their posts.

A few minutes before halftime, OBU almost scored a try in the righthand corner after a kick-and-chase play, which led to a scrum penalty in the same corner, but once again, Tawa held them out and won a turnover.

It was third time lucky for OBU right on the stroke of halftime when, after one minute of pick-and-go play OBU’s forwards through tighthead prop Samson Koneferenisi came up with the try they were searching for, and first-five Tom Henderson kicked the conversion to put them up 10-6 at halftime.

OBU’s forwards struck first in the second half by winning a scrum penalty, and Henderson kicked his second penalty of the match from 38 metres out with the slight breeze in his favour, and OBU went up 13-6 after 53 minutes.

Tawa had to pull out a big play which they duly did, by attacking OBU’s line from a penalty and lineout in the car park corner but were held up over the line and denied a try. This led to an attacking 5-metre scrum under the posts, from which bustling No. 8 George Risale bulldozed his way over the line. Halfback-turned-five five Kemara Hauiti-Parapara kicked the conversion, and it was all square at 13-13.

Next it was OBU’s turn to go close to scoring a try from a similar position at the other end of the field, following a kick-and-chase from a scrum that saw right wing Isaac Wilson chase hard and hold up the Tawa defender over the line. OBU couldn’t score from the resulting attacking scrum, but subsequently came away with a penalty which Henderson kicked to put them up 16-13.

Under darkening skies, the knockout match was on tenterhooks as neither side could come up with a game-breaking play or seize the initiative.

Heading into the final several minutes, OBU won consecutive penalties from 40 and 48 metres out respectively, and fullback Josh Morgan Ranui kicked them both to extend their lead to 22-13.

Surely this was enough of a buffer with the clock fast winding down? Tawa threw everything at OBU, and won a penalty, which Hauiti-Parapara kicked to close the gap to 22-16, effectively leaving Tawa to retain the kickoff and score a converted try on fulltime.  Instead, they were caught on their own 22 with OBU openside flanker Cody Quin winning a turnover with the last play of the game.

For OBU, Quin, Australian blindside flanker Douglas Perrers and Delany were outstanding all game, whilst Koneferenisi also had a strong game at tighthead prop.

For Tawa, one-cap Hurricane Hugo Plummer was busy throughout, but his teammates around him made too many mistakes to maintain any momentum. No. 8 Risale provided good go-forward but was curiously subbed soon after he scored his try.

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