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Game Day - Week 7
SATURDAY 21st MAY 2011
SCORES: Sumner 30 Marist-Albion 28; Linwood 13Christchurch 11; HSOB 47 Lincoln University 14; University 17 New Brighton 15; Burnside 26 Sydenham 24; Belfast 31 Shirley 15
CHRISTCHURCH LEFT WITH `CRYING TOWEL’
Defending Metro division one champion, Christchurch, gained one award it desperately did not want – the infamous `Crying Towel’ – after the third-placed team in the Cup competition lost to Linwood by two points at Christchurch Park in the seventh round of the Metro division one competition on Saturday.
Linwood first five-eighths Josh Hall ruined Christchurch’s Club Day when he landed a sideline conversion to give the green-and-blacks an upset last-gasp victory.
Last-minute victories were the order of the day with Cup holder, second-placed New Brighton, also conceding a late try to lose by two points to University which claimed the Dick Hockley Memorial Trophy, and Sumner first five-eighths Marc Pringle nudged over a dropped goal from in front in the last act of Sumner’s match against Marist-Albion to give the seaside team a two-point win, only its second of the season.
Fifth-placed Sydenham was another team to fall by two points to a lower-placed rival, Burnside clinging to a slender lead for the last 15 minutes of that game.
Order was restored when High School Old Boys were untroubled to score their seventh straight win, falling just three points short of posting a half-century against Lincoln University, and they increased their lead from four points to eight with New Brighton going down to University.
Old Boys piled on 24 points in the first quarter, but abandoned their free-flowing game and Lincoln University clawed back before the leaders ran away in the second half. Belfast scored its fourth success, beating win-less Shirley at Burwood.
Impressive Belfast halfback Nemia Ranuku played his last game for the team before returning to Fiji in an attempt to make the national squad for the upcoming World Cup.
SUMNER v MARIST-ALBION
At St Leonard’s Square: Sumner 30 (Marc Pringle, Michael Cavanagh, Reece McAffrey, Greg Goodfellow tries; Pringle 2 conv, pen, dg) beat Marist-Albion 28 (Andrew Connors, Thomas Veitch, Sam Gifford tries; Tom Bruce conv, 3 pen; Chris Leader conv). HT: 15-25. Referee: Spencer Tait. Sinbin: Tom Bruce (Marist-Albion).
Despair turned to delight for Sumner first five-eighths Marc Pringle in the final minutes of this willing contest. Marist-Albion took the lead with a penalty goal after 10 minutes and held it until the last play when Pringle received the ball in front of the visitor’s posts and from 8m kicked the match-winning dropped goal.
Just five minutes earlier Pringle had a penalty chance from 32m to post the winning points, but that kick swung wide. However, Sumner heads never dropped and, after receiving a free kick near the 22m, the forwards led a stirring charge to the line and after several unsuccessful attempts to crash across, the ball was relayed to Pringle in the pocket and his accurate kick set his teammates and the big crowd into raptures.
Momentum swung several times in this absorbing contest, Marist-Albion doing most of the attacking, scoring the first try and taking a 10-point lead into half-time. It led, 22-8, with just two minutes remaining when Sumner fullback Michael Cavanagh scored one of the most spectacular tries of the season, jinking and fending off half a dozen tacklers on a 40m to the line.
With the sea breeze favouring it in the second half, Sumner did most of the attacking and when halfback Greg Goodfellow scampered 5m on the short side to score a bonus-point try in the 63rd minute to get his team within a point it seemed as if the home team was going to finish over the top of Marist-Albion.
But the visitor tightened its defence and desperately defended its line until the last minute when Pringle stepped up to deliver three vital points. After a bumbling start the Sumner backs raised their game with centre Chris O’Neill and left wing Reece Affrey both making some penetrating runs. Captain Mark Bacon kept close to the action and hooker Shannan Durrant had a strong first half.
Lock Thomas Veitch pulled down good lineout ball and was mobile about the field, flanker Ben Enoka ripped into the exchanges and tall loose-head propMarce Taulango set up the second try through good support of a break by captain Rowan O’Gorman. Taulango played as an extra flanker at times and even popped up at first five-eighths.
MVP: Reece McAffrey (Sumner) 3, Thomas Veitch (Marist-Albion) 2, Michael Cavanagh (Sumner) 1.
Sumner also had success in the division two curtain-raiser, winning 17-10 against Belfast after leading 14-0 at the break. A fine chase of a long kick ahead by replacement fullback Steve McCarron won a penalty which Sumner converted to take an unassailable 17-7 lead with just minutes remaining. However, Belfast earned a bonus point with a last-second penalty goal.
A newcomer to the Sumner team, known to all as Reado, played strongly at No. 8, scoring a push-over try and the front row of props, Robbie Timo and Matt Cruickshank, and hooker Ewan McQuillan set a sound scrum platform and all played their part around the field.
Belfast right wing Ben Lawrence deserved credit for his persistence and enthusiasm, while captain, Danie Trenberth, on the openside flank, maintained a high work-rate and made countless tackles.
LINWOOD v CHRISTCHURCH
At Chch Park: Linwood 13 (Zac Southen try; Josh Hall conv, 2 pen) beat Christchurch 11 (Matt Groom try; Jason Merrett 2 pen). HT: 3-6. Referee: Matt Muir. Sinbin: Mike Coom (Chch).
Christchurch would have been able to put the crying towel to good use in mopping up the tears after leading for all but the dying stages when it conceded a last-minute converted try to Linwood which pulled off an upset victory.
The red-and-blacks on their club day appeared to have the edge before the sinbinning of replacement halfback Mike Coom saw Linwood throw everything into a last-gasp attempt for the win. After trying to get over the line through its forwards, Linwood moved the ball wide with quick hands for replacement fullback Zac Southen to cross in the corner. First five-eighths Josh Hall was the hero when he calmy stepped up and slotted the winning points with his sideline conversion.
The first half was relatively uneventful with play mainly confined between the 22m lines and both sides only having penalties to show for their endeavours. Christchurch started the second half strongly and was soon rewarded with a try to prop Matt Groom from a good lineout win by Kieran Coll and an unstoppable rolling maul.
Unfortunately this resurgence was short-lived and Christchurch went off the boil as the half progressed, but Linwood’s efforts were thwarted by handling mistakes at vital times before putting it all together in that last-gasp effort. It was a valiant performance by the lower-placed Linwood and spear-headed by a solid forward effort with locks Richard Norton and Ben Rogatski to the fore. First five-eighths Hall was effective in directing play and distributing the ball, while centre Takerei Norton stood out with some strong mid-field breaks and was always hard to contain.
Lock Tim Emery secured good lineout ball for Christchurch as did No. 8 Coll, who was also effective off the back of the scrum in getting over the advantage line. First five-eighths Jason Merrett kicked his side out of trouble on several occasions and did so with some powerful punts.
MVP: Josh Hall (Linwood) 3, Kieran Coll (Chch) 2, Takerei Norton (Linwood) 1.
Christchurch did not get its club day off to a good start, the previously unbeaten division two team losing the curtain-raiser to Suburbs, 35-22. After leading 16-8 at half-time, Suburbs were in danger of losing their way clinging to a 23-22 lead with 10 minutes to play. However, they kicked back strongly with two tries for a well-deserved win.
Suburbs were led admirably by prop and captain Roy Kennealy who had solid support from lock Sio Tito. First five-eighths Daniel Hibbs directed play cleverly, keeping his side on the front foot. Christchurch’s fightback was led by loose forward Chris Mason, his experience being a valuable asset. First five-eighths Harry Fleming controlled play well and fullback Lawrence Fairley was a constant threat when he joined the line with his strong running.
HSOB v LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
At Lincoln University: High School Old Boys 47 (Chris Small 3, Vern Holden, Robbie Flynn, Gerard Osborn, Matt Holloway tries; James Lash 6 conv) beat Lincoln University 14 (Jeremy Thomas, Rowan McKenzie tries; Harry Leonard 2 conv). HT: 28-14. Referee: Chris Wratt.
Old Boys led by four converted tries to nil after 20 minutes of this match and looked like world-beaters in doing so. Sadly for fans of rugby that approaches the sublime, they looked like anything but champions for large periods of the rest of the match.
After the heady opening period, the Old Boys backs inexplicably began to kick the ball away when keeping a wealth of possession in hand had paid such handsome dividends earlier. The Lincoln University players, who must have wondered if they’d ever get a meaningful touch of the ball, struck back with two converted tries by half-time.
Lincoln’s backs clicked into gear with centre James Schrader playing a big part in the side’s purple patch. Schrader continued to pose problems for the Old Boys defence throughout.
The scoreboard suggests that Old Boys still won in a canter, but that was not really the case. The players were clearly frustrated as the penalty count mounted alarmingly against them, but that should not excuse a performance that ranged from the bumbling to the bizarre, with only a smidgen of earlier brilliance thrown in.
Robbie Flynn passed to Chris Small for the fullback – who went off the boil after dashing early play – to notch his third try when Flynn needed only a few gentle paces to reach a wide-open tryline. Soon after, lock Tim Bond, by no means the slowest player on the field, showed the lack of wisdom inherent in Flynn’s ploy by throwing a pass when he was in a similar position which was ruled forward.
Apart from that, Bond was one of Old Boys’ best players. With Clark Butcher, who was replaced in the last quarter, he was dominant in the lineouts in the first half and packed plenty of crunch – plus off-loading skill – throughout the match. All eyes opened wide when tight-head prop Paea Fa’anunu went on the rampage, which was often in the first quarter. Openside flanker Tom Stanley was also dangerous with ball in hand.
Suffice to say that first five-eighths James Lash often looked like he could step in at a moment’s notice for Dan Carter and no-one would notice the difference, except perhaps to think that Carter had sharpened his game a touch. Tall, strapping second five-eighths Andy Symons ran hard at the defensive line and burst through it on several occasions.
For Lincoln, Dominic Bird took over from Old Boys’ Bond and Butcher as lineout kingpin in the second half, while openside flanker Berny Hall was unrelenting. Khan Underwood emulated his captain, in a tighter role. Feisty halfback Jeremy Thomas did much to unsettle Old Boys – including darting over for his side’s first try – and Luke Graham impressed out wide.
MVP: James Lash (HSOB) 3, Tim Bond (HSOB) 2, James Schrader (LU) 1.
Lincoln University won the division two curtain-raiser, 33-12, after leading Lyttelton, 26-0, at half-time. The bare statistics give a strong hint of Lyttelton’s second-half resurgence as the port side showed it was full of running, both among the backs and the forwards.
But Lincoln’s up-front muscle took it to the comfortable win as No. 8 Hamish Manthell kept the pack ahead of the gain line and No. 7 Scotty Harphan chimed in with go-ahead grunt as did outstanding hooker Tony Elston. Jacob Beliski was in cool control as usual at first five-eighths while Richie Williams made his mark further out.
For Lyttelton, Emosi Dubitu charged over for the side’s first try and halfback Chris Barry took a more elusive route for the second. Loose forwards Chris Tills and Nick Howie made a big impact.
UNIVERSITY v NEW BRIGHTON
At Ilam Fields: University 17 (Rhys Llewellyn try; Jamie Verran 4 pen) beat New Brighton 15 (Aaron McCoy, Scott Beckingsale tries; David Cattermole conv, pen). HT: 9-11. Referee: Johnny Rice.
New Brighton set the tone in the opening minutes when loose forward Aaron McCoy crossed for an early try, but University hit back and challenged the Brighton defence while exerting pressure on the seasiders’ scrum.
University kept in touch in the first-half with successful penalties to fullback, Jamie Verran, back after a shoulder reconstruction. The joint efforts of Sam Lindsay, who served his backline well, and Verran, who handled his fullback’s duties with aplomb, thwarted Brighton.
The match developed into an arm-wrestle between the forward packs with University’s Player of the Day, prop Mitch Graham, a force in the scrums. The University forwards started the second half on a roll with Tom de Malmanche, Mike Allardice, Gareth Reynolds and Graham all playing their parts in the set pieces.
Brighton stand-outs were McCoy and lock Ryan Hooper, playing in the second row because of a rash of injuries to the locking stocks.
Effective player communication helped University keep Brighton under pressure in the half and the loss of captain Mitch Alcock, who had instilled composure in his team, hurt the seasiders who clung to a 15-12 lead with the clock winding down.
Then in the 78th minute University wing Rhys Llewellyn struck. He swooped on a loose ball and sprinted away to score the winning try.
MVP: Rhys Llewellyn (University) 3, Jamie Verran (University) 2, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 1.
A poised University had a resounding 34-24 win over Linwood in the division two curtain-raiser. The students dominated the scrums and lineouts, but Linwood was dangerous on the break. University’s Adam Bake scored a brace of tries and was always a danger to Linwood’s defence.
BURNSIDE v SYDENHAM
At Burnside Park: Burnside 26 (Matt Forster, George Turner, Ben Payne tries; Kieran Lindsay conv, 2 pen; Mitchell Neutze pen) beat Sydenham 24 (Tyrone Elkington, Codie Taylor, Jonny Nicholls tries; Elkington 3 conv, pen). HT: 13-17. Referee: James Munro.
This mid-table clash was very closely fought. Early penalties were exchanged and from then on the match ebbed and flowed as both teams matched each other try for try, with only the goal-kicking of Burnside fullback Mitchell Neutze preventing the home team from being level or in front at half-time
It was quite an enthralling battle as the dominance shifted back and forth, but with Burnside always looking the more likely. Sydenham was heavily penalised for its ruck and maul transgressions which allowed Burnside to escape the pressure and gain some territorial respite.
Sydenham firstfive-eighths Tyrone Elkington had posted the first try after easily stepping past his marker after a turnover from Burnside. Burnside replied soon after through lock Matt Forster, who crashed over in a tackle after a sustained build-up inside Sydenham’s 22m which involved bulky prop Nick Barrett taking the ball up several times.
The try of the match, however, came from an unlikely quarter. Another Burnside turnover was quickly cleared to Sydenham’s hooker doing a `Fitzy’ on the left wing, except unlike the former All Blacks great, Codie Taylor had to sprint 60m to the try-line and showed impressive speed for a front-rower.
Not to be outdone, Burnside hooker George Turner also scored in the corner from close range among a pile of bodies just before the break. An early second-half try to Burnside flanker Ben Payne gave Burnside the lead for the first time and it was one it did not relinquish. Territorially the second half belonged to Burnside and with Sydenham conceding kickable penalties the home team edged its lead to nine points only to see it mostly evaporate when a quick Sydenham break-out, a little against the run of play, saw replacement wing Jonny Nicholls receive an in-pass and scamper 30m to score.
With Elkington’s easy conversion, the lead was reduced to two points with 15 minutes to play. However, Burnside’s defence held sure as Sydenham’s last-ditch attacks faltered.
Burnside’s top performers were prop Barrett, flanker Jed Brown, halfback Brett Cameron and five-eighths Kieran Lindsay and Ra Parker. For Sydenham, flanker Zion Tauamiti, wing Johnny McNicholl, halfback Paul Howe and Elkington were the stand-out players.
MVP: Nick Barrett (Burnside) 3, Jed Brown (Burnside) 2, Zion Tauamiti (Sydenham) 1.
The Premier Colts curtain-raiser between Burnside and University produced another close result, the home team getting home, 19-18. The students gained an early lead and looked to have Burnside’s measure as it created gaps and over-laps that produced tries for wing Ben Meredith and halfback Guy Hobson.
Down 12-3 at the break, the Burnside coach gave his team a terse talk and it had an effect. A University fumble from the restart gave Burnside possession and Kerry Grey nipped over beside the posts to close the gap. From then the lead changed five times as goal-kickers, Andy Ireland (University) and Brad Gilbert, traded penalty goals. Gilbert had the last say four minutes from time which saw youthful exuberance dominate over basic skills.
University is rebuilding from the team that won the grade last year and has some exciting players.
BELFAST v SHIRLEY
At Burwood Park: Belfast 31 (Naibuka Tavenavo 2 Nemia Ranuku, Moses Gutuvakaca, Nick Wilson tries; Steve McKean 2 conv; Jerry Pauaraisa conv) beat Shirley 15 (Brad Manson, Philipe Trippier tries; Rob Smith conv, dg). HT: 10-5. Referee: Kane McBride. Sinbin: Moses Gutuvakaca (Belfast).
Belfast continued its climb up the division one ladder with an error-ridden, yet comfortable, win over a plucky Shirley. The home team started with passion taking Belfast on in the forwards, exchanging a kickable penalty for a lineout near Belfast’s line.
This approach was rewarded in the fifth minute when it opted for a scrum instead of a free kick and quick clearance saw Philipe Trippier get the angle right and carve through the defence for a well-taken try.
Belfast began to progress with robust forward drives, but each time a scoring opportunity was created a lack of patience, wayward passes, or unforced errors let Shirley off the hook. Two try-scoring chances were blown by wild passes with the line open and players to spare. Belfast’s forward momentum finally paid dividends with two tries midway through the second quarter.
To add to Belfast’s woes, it suffered goal-kicking blues with three relatively simple kicks going astray. Shirley, whilst competitive at the tackle and contact, regularly turned over ball because it committed too few players to the contest for possession.
Belfast adopted a more structured and cohesive approach in the second half, but Shirley stayed in with a sniff because of unforced errors and penalty offences at the tackle, ruck and maul. The home side edged closer with a Rob Smith dropped goal, but the visitors forward efforts went rewarded with two converted tries in quick succession.
Shirley hit back with a Brad Manson try which Smith converted, but Belfast had the final say when Nick Wilson burst through to score a try which Jerry Pauaraisa converted. For Belfast, centre Wilson played well defensively and on attack, Tavenavo was inspiring in the forward exchanges with ball in hand and Frank Havea was strong and committed in the forward pack.
Phil Watson led Shirley by example and was effective in disrupting Belfast’s momentum. Fullback Jake Vernall was sound on defence and first five-eighths Smith selected good options and kicked well for touch and tactically.
MVP: Nick Wilson (Belfast) 3, Naibuka Tavenavo (Belfast) 2, Phil Watson (Shirley) 1.
Sydenham was too fast and skilful for an enthusiastic Shirley in the division two curtain-raiser, winning 50-18 and scoring eight of the 11 tries. Leading 29-11 at half-time, Sydenham moved the ball wide at every opportunity and the backs and forwards linked impressively.
The territorial battle was fairly even, but some less than staunch Shirley defence allowed Sydenham to score a number of long-range tries. It was an entertaining game and played in a fine spirit with Shirley heads never dropping.
For Sydenham, No. 8 Scott Kelly was a commanding figure on attack and in defence. His linking and backing up was outstanding and he crossed for three tries. Thomas Thoms and Sampsom Karst were hard-working fowards. Halfback Liam Cadigan cleared quickly which helped his backs express their skills. Fullback Liam Marama was sound defensively and posed problems for Shirley with probing runs from the back.
In the Shirley team, blindside flanker Reuben Burke made several strong runs in open play and was effective in set pieces. Centre Jake Brittmeyer was a balanced runner who was difficult to bring down and fullback Jordan Reed was solid at fullback. He kicked well and scored a good second-half try.
Leading points-scorers: Jason Merrett (Chch) 90, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 79, Kolio Hifo (Belfast) 71, James Lash (HSOB) 62, Tyrone Elkington (Sydenham) 51.
Leading try-scorers: Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham) 8, Chris Small (HSOB) 7, Willie McGoon (University) 7, Nemia Ranuku (Belfast) 6, Koilo Hifo (Belfast) 5, Matt Thatcher (Chch) 5, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 5.
Leading MVP points: Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 9, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 9, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 8, Willie McGoon (University) 7, Kolio Hifo (Belfast) 7, Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham) 6, Gary Redmond (Christchurch) 6, James Lash (HSOB) 6.
Points Table as at 21st May 2011
METROPOLITAN CUP - DIVISION 2
DIV 4/CLASSICS - SECTION 1
WOMENS - FIRST ROUND
THE PRESS CUP - NORTHERN
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