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OBU clear leaders but chasing pack locked in tight race in the Swindale Shield

Upper Hutt Rams centre Daniel Schrijvers scores in the desperate tackle of Hutt Old Boys Marist fullback Zane Ainslie this afternoon. The Rams won their ninth round Swindale Shield match 23-21. Photo: Andy McArthur. 

  • By Steven White, Scott MacLean and Adam Julian

For results & Scoring (as received) visit: https://www.clubrugby.co.nz/wellington/games-results.php?competition=1&season=21&round=9

Another tight set of matches in the Premier Swindale Shield in the ninth round this afternoon, played in windy and gloomy conditions.

Old Boys University, predictably based on their standings, beat the Wellington Axemen 58-5 in their Dean Gifford Memorial Cup match at Nainville Park, to hold a 6-point lead at the top of the standings.

But it is the chasing pack where all the action is with four weekends of the first round to play.

Meanwhile, in the second round of the First XV Premiership, Wellington College had a 21-17 win over Scots College in a thriller. Full report on that game follows the club reports further down. 

In two close results today, it was heartbreak for their third consecutive week for the Johnsonville Hawks, losing at the very end. Today they were leading Paremata-Plimmerton 28-22 but the home team at Ngati Toa Domain scored a very late converted try out wide to replacement back Dale Sabbagh, converted by first five Sam Clarke – from the sideline –  to give them the win 29-28.

At Maidstone Park, the home side the Upper Hutt Rams won the inaugural Gillies-Melville Cup with a determined 23-21 win over the Hutt Old Boys Eagles.

In other less tight but nevertheless highly competitive matches, Tawa beat Oriental-Rongotai 26-17 at Lyndhurst Park and Marist St Pat’s defeated Poneke 25-12 for the Horan-Millar Cup.

Petone beat winless Avalon 36-5 for the Morgan Family Trophy at Fraser Park, whilst Wainuiomata had a positive 34-14 win over Northern United for the Alf Keating Cup on Old Timer’s Day at Porirua Park.

Belgium Tuatagaloa bursting up the touchline for Petone against Avalon today. Photo: Hugh Pretorius.

The points table below frontrunners OBU on 41 points sees Petone on 35, Paremata-Plimmerton on 33, HOBM on 32, Ories on 31, the Upper Hutt Rams and MSP on 30 and Tawa rounding out the ‘top 8’ on 27.

Johnsonville and Wainuiomata are both on 23, Poneke 21, Norths 9, Avalon 2 and Wellington yet to get off the mark. Avalon and Wellington have also officially bowed out of Jubilee Cup contention this year, both being more than 20 points behind eighth placed Tawa with four rounds to play.

In some expanded content from the Swindale Shield, MSP beat Poneke by scoring four tries for a bonus point win. Try scorers were first-five Rique Miln, wing Viliame Saukuru, lock Nick Harrison and fullback Tomasi Connor.

For OBU, wing Reece Plumtree scored two tries, as did replacement back Jackson Wright and left wing Jan Lammers. Other try-scorers were spread around amongst several Goats.

It was an energetic and passionate, if rather inaccurate clash at Maidstone Park as the Upper Hutt Rams edged out Hutt Old Boys Marist 23-21, with a 71st minute penalty from Rams first-five Potene Rolls-Paewai the decisive score.

HOBM could not have had a better start, scoring after just 55 seconds when skipper Waylon Tuhoro-Robinson spied space in the Rams backfield and his deft box kick was gathered by winger Kobe-Joe Vulu. With the wind behind them HOBM dominated possession and had their way at set piece, but the Rams had their opportunities with Eli Hunt, celebrating his 150th “First Team” game, to the fore. HOBM extended their lead from close range, before the Rams turned the game on its head.

Veteran Daniel Schrijvers crossed before the break to leave it 14-5, and then just as the Eagles started fast in the first, the Rams did in the second as they barged over from short range barely 90 seconds from the resumption. When replacement Vaini Halafihi did similar the Rams had the lead.

Needing a response, HOBM got it from the bench in the form of Mike Alaifatu and winger-turned-loosie Nash Fiso-Vaelai who along with Fritz Rayasi – a first-half replacement for an injured Zane Ainslie – gave them much-needed go-forward. Rolls-Paewai kicked a penalty before HOBM finally scored again when they were able to manipulate space on the left and give Sapati Tagoai enough room to score, with Brandyn Laursen’s conversion putting them back in front with 15 minutes to play. Rolls-Paewai, the game’s dominant figure despite being the smallest man on the park, would have the final say.

Both sides would likely be unhappy when they review the tape, as accuracy was lacking at times. HOBM might also want a mulligan on the decision to take off loosehead prop Jason Hoffman, as his departure and decision to move Harry Press to prop saw them loose the dominance they had enjoyed at scrum-time.

It would be easy to write of Ories’ poor performance as a bad day at the office. Which it was. The Magpies misfired throughout most of the match, showed poor execution and even looked lethargic and ponderous at times.

But Tawa played extremely well in this one, coming out firing and leaping to a three tries to nil 17-0 lead almost inside the first quarter – which ultimately won them the game. They then defended with grit and determination throughout much of the rest of the match.

Playing into the gusty wind towards their clubrooms, Tawa launched on to attack with ball in hand almost from the opening whistle. After a long sequence up towards the 22, openside Hemi Fermanis took a tap  penalty that led to Akira Ieremia scoring in the northwest corner.

Tawa’s second try was the result of an intercept from a mis-directed pass off an Ories scrum on halfway and centre Connor Sharrock showed good pace to race through to score.

Tawa then could have scored twice more in quick succession, a Kemara Hauiti-Parapara chip-kick reeled in by left wing Hunter Sao only for him to be bundled into touch and then a penalty and lineout in the corner that was kept out by desperate Ories defence.

Try number three was nevertheless soon scored by openside flanker Hemi Fermanis in front of the clubrooms, after another attacking lineout near the corner and a concerted attacking sequence inside the 22 across the face of the posts.

Tawa had already lost starting first five Mika Finau, replaced early by Luke Walmsley, but then when lock Chris Middleton went off injured after about 25 minutes it created a small momentum shift.

Enough of one anyway for Ories to regroup and launch with a period of possession and territory and to finally score their first try after a multi-phase build-up that almost caused the reporters’ camera to meltdown. First five Declan Hay followed this up by kicking a penalty to see them go into halftime trailing 20-10.

The second half was a gritty arm-wrestle in increasingly gloomy conditions, but Tawa put their heads down and remained on top of the Magpies. They turned their earlier attack into steadfast defence and disrupted and defended well around the breakdowns and Ories were lacking penetration out wide. Then when one player who could have got them back in the game, Dom Ropeti, was sin-binned for a high tackle (not malicious) Tawa extended their lead to 23-10 through a Walmsley penalty.

Walmsley kicked a second penalty of the half to make it 26-10 and they pressed for a bonus point try, but it wasn’t to be in the windy, darkening conditions.

Ropeti returned and Ories finally got some spark, but it was all too little too late. They scored a consolation converted try through halfback Isaac Bracewell on fulltime which flattered them at the end.

For Tawa, our player of the match was lock Lipa Saveatama, who was into everything from disrupting lineouts to climbing into the breakdowns, more so after Middleton went off. Not far behind him was starting blindside-turned lock Akira Ieremia, openside Hemi Fermanis and No. 8 Matolu Petaia who made several blockbusting bursts with ball in hand.

For Ories, this was a day to forget, they will want to park this one and get back into gear over the last month of the competition.

Some players and supporters of the Tawa Premiers after their win this afternoon.

Premier 2

Results went to script in the Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield. OBU maintained their lead with a 44-17 win over Wellington, with Petone keeping up the pressure with a 36-7 over Avalon with Tawa in third after beating Ories 48-15.

Tawa outscored Ories eight tries to two and won comfortably in the second half after leading 26-12 at halftime. Ories had scored the game’s first try from a scrum move in the clubrooms corner, but Tawa, with the wind in the first half, scored three more tries to lead 19-5 approaching halftime. They crossed for their bonus point try right on the halftime break. Ories opened the second half scoring with a pen to cut the deficit to 26-15, but it was Tawa from then on – back-to-back tries in the 55th and 58th minutes sealing their win.

HOBM are fourth with a 41-29 win over Upper Hutt. Pare-Plim beat Johnsonville 22-12, Norths beat Wainuiomata 31-19, and Poneke crushed MSP 62-10.

At Maidstone Park, Upper Hutt had the first use of the strong breeze, but struggled to break through with just a sole try after 15 minutes of solid endeavour. The Eagles shrugged that off to run in four unanswered tries to secure their bonus point, but the Rams regrouped to score either side of halftime to narrow the score to 19-24. From that point the honours were evenly shared as the game lost shape and discipline, but HOBM scored three more tries against Upper Hutt’s two to prevail 41-29 and stay in the title hunt.

Women’s

The shape of the semifinals in the Women’s Tia Paasi Memorial will go down to next week after results today. Petone are top after rolling over Wainuiomata 44-7, while Norths overturned the result from their first meeting with Ories winning 33-19 at Porirua Park.

The Petone Women maintained their unbeaten streak with a big win over Wainuiomata today.

The sole match in the Izzy Ford Cup went the way of home side Paremata-Plimmerton, but they were made to work by a plucky Poneke-OBU side to prevail 24-15.

A solid win for Paremata-Plimmerton Women over Poneke Women in the Izzy Ford Cup today.

College

College Rugby Pemiership Draws & Results at: http://www.collegerugby.co.nz/national/games-results.php?competition=22&season=21&round=2

St Pat’s Silverstream and Rongotai College lead the First XV Premiership on a maximum 10 competition points after the first two rounds.

Silverstream beat Tawa College 38-19, while Rongotai defeated Hutt International Boys’ School 29-27. In other results today, Paraparaumu College beat St Bernard’s College 46-8, St Pat’s Town defeated Wairarapa College 32-10 and in the feature match, Wellington College beat Scots College 21-17.

Wellington College rallied from a 14-0 deficit to stun defending champions Scots College 21-17 in the second round of the Premiership.

The wind was so fierce the goalposts wobbled like a Pigeon Park drunk, and the volatile conditions influenced an outrageous winning moment.

With three minutes remaining Wellington was down 14-17 when Lorenz-Markel Strickland-Rere jabbed a kick from halfway into space and towards the visitors 22.

Two Scots defenders converged to cover. The ball refused to sit idle—accidental entanglement. Teina Kingston-Hill dribbled the temperamental oval ahead and chased earnestly. A dead ball line is forthcoming, Scots are hurriedly retreating, expectant reserves are on the field, and Kingston-Hill is charging. diving, right hand fully extended, could it be, referee consultation, try! Delirium.

Archie Sims sideline conversion, aided by the pinky hold of a teammate in a prone position, was almost as noteworthy as his illustrious ‘quad’ penalty.

Wellington opened with vigour and enthusiasm, but speedy Scots fullback James Favel snuffed out the best of their early attack with a 90m intercept.

Halfback Jake Lawson was immense for Scots with his swift and calculated option-taking. His quickness around the ruck produced Scots second try after eight minutes following muscle from the forwards.

Wellington built promising attacks but they often ended in panic. Scots captain Reweti Ngarimu and hooker Charlie Barton were a menace on defence.

Crucially Wellington scored first after the interval. Blindside flanker Lazarus Webster piggybacked half a dozen of his own and Scots over the line in a stubborn burst. Earlier winger Finn Leighton had scampered 40m.

Leighton’s surge was a forerunner to the most memorable moment of the match in the 50th minute. The son of former Wellington College and Wests legend Scott showed his pedigree with a 75m gallop that even had responsible adults fist pumping in front of the cordoned-off rope area.

Brandon Lo (Scots) and Z’Kdeus Schwalger are two loose forwards to add to the stockpile of exceptional back-row forwards in the capital.

Lawson kicked a penalty with about ten minutes to spare to make it 17-14. Referee Hamish Mexted pulled a calf but shouldered on manfully. Thank goodness he did. It was a cracking match that showcased the best of grassroots rugby in an otherwise rotten week for the code.

Elsewhere

Two contrasting results in the only two Manawatu Senior 1 matches played this weekend, both in the “Top 5” section. Old Boys Marist and College Old Boys couldn’t be separated last night under lights on Thursday night at the Arena in a 39-all draw, while unbeaten Kia Toa added to their title favouritism with a comfortable 41-10 away over Feilding Yellows this afternoon.

The only match this weekend in Horowhenua-Kapiti saw Foxton put a dampener on Shannon’s 125th anniversary celebrations with a 24-16 win. The remaining two matches in this round will be played in three week’s time.

And in the Wairarapa-Bush Moose Kapene Cup all four matches were played over the past two nights. On Thursday Marist kicked a late penalty to beat Carterton 31-29 and East Coast beat Red Star 24-10. Last night Pioneer had a profitable trip to Eketahuna winning 32-25, while Martinborough came from behind to beat Greytown 24-15.

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