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OBU stay out in front in Swindale Shield as Hutt Rams beat Johnsonville with last play try

Members of the Upper Hutt Rams in front of the Helston Park scoreboard on fulltime today. Photo: Andy McArthur.

  • By Steven White, Scott MacLean & Adam Julian

Results & Scoring (as received):

Old Boys University remain at the head of the 2024 Swindale Shield standings after accounting for Poneke 45-7 for the Beet Algar Rosebowl at Nairnvillle Park this afternoon. OBU are on 36 competition points after eight rounds, holding a 5-point lead to Hutt Old Boys Marist and Oriental-Rongotai, with Petone rounding out the top 4 a point back on 30.

All three of those sides earned bonus point wins this afternoon as well, HOBM beating Wainuiomata 29-13 in another forwards-dominated showing – more on that match below – and Ories taking a 45-0 victory over Northern United on their Old Timers’ Day and Petone trouncing Wellington 72-8 on the Axemen’s Old Timers’ Day.

For Petone, Belgium Tuatagaloa scored four tries and Ngane Punivai and Riley Higgins each scored hat-tricks in the 12 tries to 1 win.

Elsewhere, it was two close wins at Helston and Evans Bay Parks that were the matches of the round.

At Helston, the Rams beat Johnsonville 25-24 with a converted try with the last play of the day – more on this match below.

At Evans Bay, defending Swindale Shield champions Paremata-Plimmerton kept their hat in the title race by beating Marist St Pat’s 31-25. MSP had led 13-12 at halftime and were up  24-22 with 20 minutes to play, with the last three scoring plays in a tense fourth quarter coming via three penalties to Paremata-Plimmerton first five Sam Clarke.

Action from the MSP-Paremata-Plimmerton match at Evans Bay Park.

Paremata-Plimmerton’s bench towards the end that helped make the difference in a fast-paced, positive match.

For the Hammerheads, first five Clarke controlled the game well, while lose forwards Alex Fidow and Tane McMillan-Parata were busy with ball in hand. For MSP, Lions No. 8 Keelan Whitman was a key contributor.

Referee Jamie Fairmaird, here with his family, refereed his 100th Premier match at Evans Bay Park today. Photo: Mike Lewis.

The seventh result of today’s eighth round of the Swindale Shield saw a resurgent Tawa beat competition battlers Avalon 87-7.

Tawa’s 13 tries were scored by nine different players. No 8 Matolu Petaia, second five Kalim Kelevete, centre Connor Sharrock and wing Hunter Sao each scored two tries.

More from Helston, it was heartbreak for the Johnsonville Hawks – losing for the second week in a row with the final play of the game.

Down 18-24, the Upper Hutt Rams battered away at the blue wall. Little headway was made until lock Jared Woodward muscled over just to the left of the posts.  It was a cruel irony a lock should produce the decisive thrust; the Rams lineout functioned like Disneyland without security.

Jared Woodward with the try at the death. Photo: Andy McArthur.

Upper Hutt’s kicking was similarly wayward that was until diminutive first-five Potene Rolls-Paewai calmly slotted the conversion with his right foot 20m from the target and directly in front of a subdued Helston Park clubhouse.

In cool, clear conditions, and with two of the lighter packs in the competition, it promised to be a high-scoring, free-flowing spectacle.

Instead, it was a catfight at the breakdown with neither team finding real continuity for sustained periods. Johnsonville’s scrum grew in stature, but careless errors hurt.

Without powerhouse youngsters Emmanual Solomona and Ieti Campbell there was no chance Upper Hutt would have won.

Solomona and Campbell combined to set up the first try. Solomona ripped a 20m skip pass to Campbell who duly burst 30m and required three defenders to be stopped. Halfback Kaide McCashin arrived at the next ruck and squirmed over.

Johnsonville replied with a try when all-action hooker Regan Herbert collected a spillage on halfway and kicked ahead for Finaly Sharp to snaffle. However, when Solomona located Campbell in space again it was Goodnight Irene.

Upper Hutt missed three kicks at goal in the first half. Dependable halfback Mark Sutton was on target with a conversion and penalty for Johnsonville.

Tynan Barrett found his radar with a regulation penalty early in the second half, but Johnsonville took the lead in the 66th minute with an epic try. An exhaustive 30-phase attack, which might have involved every Hawk handling, saw Sharp motor into the corner. Sutton nailed a sideline conversion kicking from shadow to sun: 17-13.

Johnsonville fumbled the restart and Upper Hutt pounced when Solomona hooked an offload in congestion to an unmarked player.

Upper Hutt made the same mistake and Jacob Kennedy had too much pace from a choreographed scrum move.

Upper Hutt deserve enormous credit for their finish. So often in the recent past, they’ve been on the receiving end of tight defeats. Some clinical composure and desperation at the end achieved a bonus point victory.

Rarely should a player in a losing team get man of the match, but few would argue that Tyler Hall wasn’t worthy. Even met with a Mosquito net or jackhammer he’d still be an annoying openside.

At the Hutt Rec, HOBM’s win was solid but not spectacular.

The Eagles tight forwards paved the way for the 5 tries to 1 win, their scrum dominant and four of their tries being scored from lineouts, three of which were through the forwards off set-pieces near the corner.

The fifth of their tries, coming in general play, was scored by tighthead prop Vili Tauofaga, running on to a pass inside the 22 off halfback and captain Waylon Tuhoro-Robinson.

Aside from all these tries, Wainuiomata hung in there well, and, despite being behind four tries to one during much of the second half, held their own in the middle to later stages of the second half and went close to scoring. If they had done so and closed to within a few points, who knows what would have transpired?

What did happen though was that the Eagles kept them at bay and swooped down the other end of the field and they finished the match how they had started with a try off a lineout drive in the left-hand corner of play.

That first try to hooker Harry Press in the game’s opening minutes had been off a penalty and lineout into the corner. Their second try of the first half was after a Brandyn Laursen 50/22 into the other corner and Hurricane Benet Kumeroa came up with that one.

Wainuiomata second five Taylor Tane kicked two first half penalties, playing into the dying wind, and with Eagles centre Jordan Glen-Bradbrook sent to the bin at the end of the half ahead of that second kick, HOBM’s 12-6 halftime lead was not altogether comfortable.

The Eagles opened the second half scoring through prop Tauofaga, to extend their lead to 19-6, but Wainuiomata struck back soon after with their only try to scoring machine and wing Niko Paletesio, extending the one-man advantage with the man in the bin.

The Eagles’ bonus point try that effectively made the game safe at 24-13 saw them rip it wide across the 22 following a lineout on the far side and for fullback Zane Ainslie cross on the grandstand side of the field.

As alluded to above, the Eagles’ dominant scrum and lineout attack were their keys to victory, but Wainuiomata played well for long periods in general play. First year No. 8 Brayden Soi is a player for the future with a high workrate and top drawer commitment, while openside Greg Lealofi keeps playing well, as does Teru Time who has moved into lock in recent weeks. First-five Andrew Wells, with his yellow boots, has oodles of experience and his tussle with Eagles opposite Brandyn Laursen was good to watch.

Premier 2

Another day of heavy scoring in the Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield.

OBU remain on top, but their lead was cut after they went down 38-39 to Pōneke in a thriller at Nairnville Park to suffer their first loss.

OBU were up 38-17 with about 20 minutes to go and Pōneke started attacking from everywhere to go close. They then kicked a penalty with three minutes remaining to go ahead 39-38. OBU had a penalty late to get the win but pushed it wide.

For the red and blacks, well-known club players Ben Huntley and Kurt Sickler were outstanding in the comeback.

Petone are second after accounting for Wellington 56-10, and Tawa sit third after beating Avalon 52-10. HOBM were 67-13 winners over Wainuiomata and Ories beat Norths 55-12. The margins were closer in the other matches Johnsonville beat Upper Hutt 25-19, and Pare-Plim got up 37-29 over MSP.


Petone and Oriental Rongotai were the winners in the opening set of matches in the Women’s Tia Paasi Memorial. Both had handy leads at halftime over Norths and Wainuiomata respectively. Petone kept the foot down in the second half before Norths scored a couple to make the final score 46-20, while it was an even second 40 at the Polo Ground with Ories winning out 31-7. They had the services for three recent Black Ferns in Jonah Ngan-Woo, Ayesha Leti-L’iga and Victoria Subritsy-Nafatoli.

Petone break away for a long-range try against Norths. Photo: Andy McArthur.

In the only game in the Izzy Ford Cup Paremata-Plimmerton repeated last week’s win over Avalon, this time by 33-12 at Fraser Park with Shakira Baker scoring another two tries.

Scrum action from the Paremata-Plimmerton – Avalon Women’s match. Photo: Hugh Pretorius.


HOBM remain unbeaten and with a big lead at the head of the Colts Paris Memorial after beating Wainuiomata 34-10.

As in the Premier game that followed, this was by means a one-sided affair, between the top of the table Eagles and lower ranked Wainuiomata. With some wind and rain about throughout much of the game, conditions were tricky and the grass was greasy. Wainuiomata had first use of the elements and scored early to go 5-0 up. The Eagles soon replied with a try off a penalty and lineout to make it 5-5 and there was no further scoring in the first half.

There was a heavy rain shower around halftime, and the handling mistakes mounted in into the second half. The Eagles assumed territorial dominance and scored two consecutive tries to go 17-5 up. Wainuiomata replied to 17-10 when openside flanker Misa charged down a kick and sailed through to score.

Following yellow cards to players on both teams, the Eagles then lost their No. 8 Sam Morgan to a red card (two yellow card offences for him). The 14-man Junior Eagles regrouped and scored their bonus point try to go 22-10 up after 62 minutes. They scored twice more to round out a hard-fought win.

MSP kept hold of second with a 34-21 win over Pare-Plim, and Petone are third after winning 39-29 over Wellington. Tawa raised the ton in eviscerating Avalon 106-5, Upper Hutt hit 60 for none over Johnsonville, OBU beat Poneke 30-15, and defending champions Ories were 34-21 winners over Norths.


After a week off last Saturday owing to a default, JC Bowl leaders the Tawa Ducks were back in action in today’s seventh round and beat the Avalon Wolves 36-7. The Ducks are on a maximum 35 competition points.

Unlike most other grades, the rest of the U85kg field is evenly spread below them. The defending champions OBU Scallywags are second on 30 points, having beaten Eastbourne 44-7 at Prince of Wales Park.

Poneke and Avalon are both on 20, Avalon missing out in that match to Tawa at Redwood Park and Poneke beating the Johnsonville Terrahawks 40-15 at Newlands Park.

The Axemen are next on 17, beating 29-13 in an 11.30am match at home at Hataitai Park on their Old Timers’ Day.

The Paremata-Plimmerton Piranhas are a point back on 16, having beaten MSP 35-12 at Kilbirnie Park 3 this afternoon.


Scots and Silverstream were quickly into their stride in the opening round of the 1st XV Premiership.

Scots held Paraparaumu scoreless, winning 46-0, while Silverstream scored the same number of points in beating Wairarapa College 46-7 in Martinborough. St Bernards beat Hutt International 27-10, and Rongotai found some form in beating Tawa 27-17. The fifth match was on Wednesday with Wellington College beating St Pat’s Town 43-10,

Big wins were the order of the day in Premier 2. HVHS beat the Town 2nds 49-0, the Silverstream 2nds beat Aotea 38-12, Rongotai’s 2nds were 38-7 winners over Naenae, and Bishop Viard beat Taita 33-10. The contrasting game was at Porirua Park as the Wellington College 2nds won a very low scoring contest 7-5 over Porirua.


Kia Toa came out on top in the battle of the unbeatens in the Manawatu Senior A competition, closing out the first round Jubilee Trophy with a 30-12 win over College Old Boys.

The remaining results saw Massey get home 31-28 over Te Kawau, Old Boys Marist beat Linton Army 45-10, and Feilding Yellows crushed Freyberg 71-15. Feilding Old Boys-Oroua had the bye.

Rahui continued on their dominant ways in Horowhenua-Kapiti, thumping Paraparaumu 71-3. Levin College Old Boys won a high-scoring affair down at Waikanae 50-33, while at the Levin Domain Shannon defeated Levin Wanderers 30-3. Foxton was on the bye.

Defending champions Carterton flexed their muscles in the opening round of the championship part of the Wairarapa-Bush season, beating first-round winners Martinborough 45-19. Marist were too good for Pioneer in a Masterton derby 57-12, with Eketahuna beating East Coast 30-15.

The Wairarapa-based arm was at Greytown, one of the country’s oldest clubs (formed 1876) and a foundation member of both the Wellington and Wairarapa unions. But it was visitors Masterton Red Star who came away with the spoils, finally getting their first win of the year with a well-deserved 32-19 triumph. Greytown opened the scoring early, before a long period where the two battered each other without addition. The last 15 minutes saw plenty of scoring though; Greytown found space out wide to stretch their lead, before Red Star rightly figured out their big front rowers were their best source of profit and scored from close range, before a hopeful chip and chase led to a second shortly afterwards. The hosts had the last say before the interval with their third and a 19-12 lead.

The second half however was all Red Star. Their scrum was utterly dominant and if their lineout was anywhere near competent, they could have run away with matters. As it was two converted tries put them ahead, and two penalties saw them comfortably home 32-19.

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