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Game Day - Week 8
SATURDAY 28th May 2011
SCORES: Sydenham 16 HSOB 11; University 16 Linwood 6; Burnside 31 Sumner 14; New Brighton 32 Belfast 7; Marist-Albion 29 Shirley 7; Christchurch 38 Lincoln University 18.
SYDENHAM MAKES A STATEMENT
Sydenham, perhaps the most enigmatic of the Metro division one teams, threw the race for the Cup wide open by toppling previously unbeaten High School Old Boys, 16-11, on Old Boys’ home ground in the eighth round on Saturday.
The closest teams in the chasing bunch – New Brighton, Christchurch, and University – all would have extended their congratulations to Sydenham as Old Boys, eight points clear after round seven, are now only four ahead of Brighton with Christchurch just five points adrift.
In the three weeks of round-robin play remaining, HSOB meet Brighton in round 10 and University in round 11, while Brighton and Christchurch square off in the final round.
Sydenham won the DCL Shield for its efforts and maintained determination and concentration in a tough, enthralling game. Brighton, with All Blacks lock Isaac Ross scoring the fifth and final try, over-powered in-form Belfast and Christchurch had too much firepower for Lincoln University, also getting the bonus-point try.
Linwood could not repeat its previous week’s heroics against Christchurch when losing at home to University, while Marist-Albion picked up its third win of the season against win-less Shirley and a late Burnside try gave it an inflated winning margin against a gutsy Sumner.
Marist-Albion captain, Rowan O’Gorman, celebrated his 150th senior game with a try. Christchurch first five-eighths Jason Merrett kicked 18 points against Lincoln University and during the game became the first player to post a century of points for the season.
SYDENHAM v HSOB
Sydenham 16 (Toby Hammond, Tyrone Elkington tries; Elkington 2 pen) beat High School Old Boys 11 (Hendrix Tui try; James Lash pen; Stephan van Gruting pen). Referee: Spencer Tait.
A determined and focused Sydenham ended Old Boys’ unbeaten run, grabbed the DCL Shield, and got its season back on track with a worthy win in a vigorous and absorbing game.
From the kick-off, the visitors took the game to the home team with driving forward play, expansive backs movements, and a linking between the backs and forwards that had Old Boys scrambling for the first 30min. It was only the home team’s defensive resolve that restricted Sydenham to a penalty and a try. Old Boys replied with a close-range penalty.
Sydenham’s try was a beauty. An attack down the right side of the field got snuffed out, but play switched to the left and prop Toby Hammond went over in the corner. Just before half-time, Old Boys had their best moment with a series of forward assaults on the Sydenham line. One drive was only repulsed a metre out when Zion Tauamiti cleverly intercepted a short pass.
Tyrone Elkington could have had the cardinals comfortably ahead at half-time, but his kicks at goal were pushed wide, or held narrow, by a strong variable easterly wind.
Five minutes after half-time, Elkington scored the try of the day. Rapid inter-change of passing by backs and forwards starting from inside Sydenham’s territory ended with Elkington diving over in the left corner. Sydenham supporters’ hearts were in their mouth as referee Spencer Tait consulted his assistant before awarding the try.
The Old Boys backs had been disappointing to this stage with a lack of penetration and indecisive running brought upon by Sydenham’s pressure. But the injection of Sam Ananie from the bench provided extra spark to the forward effort in the second half and Old Boys changed tack and took on the battle up front.
Sydenham repulsed the assaults, but Ananie made several storming runs in close, one ending with a smart in-pass that sent Hendrix Tui crashing over for a try that narrowed the gap to five points. In the final 10 minutes, the teams exchanged penalties with the closeness of the score ensuring interest remained until the final whistle.
Sydenham produced a great team effort. Hammond and Tauamiti stood out in the forward exchanges and in the backs, Tyler Bleyendaal, the former Under 20 World Cup captain, was outstanding tactically. Nic Thomson, Elkington and Johnny McNicholl were solid on defence and difficult to contain on attack.
Old Boys’ forwards deserve praise for keeping their team in the game with Ananie, Tui and veteran prop the most prominent contributors.
MVP: Toby Hammond (Sydenham) 3, Tyler Bleyendaal (Sydenham) 2, Peter Chaplin (HSOB) 1.
The Premier Colts curtain-raiser was won by HSOB, 24-5, with three tries to one. The game had two notable features; firstly Old Boys had a mortgage on Marist-Albion’s end of the ground, spending three-quarters of the match there. This forced the visitors to play rugby from their end and the home team pounced on any mistakes with glee,
That there was no score for the first 30min bore testament to the forward power and defensive qualities of Marist-Albion. Secondly, the visitors’ apparent reluctance to kick for field position had them taking the ball in hand back to the forward areas which played to Old Boys’ strength.
Old Boys players to impress were hooker Seb Siatoga with some powerful runs, No. 8 Levi Dwan, who linked and led effectively, and centre Martin Swart, who scored a good try from broken play and who distributed the ball intelligently.
Stuart Marr was the outstanding Marist-Albion forward and he was rewarded with the team’s only try. Captain Brett Anderson kept his team focused and led by example.
UNIVERSITY v LINWOOD
At Linfield Park: University 16 (Jimmy Lentjes try; Jamie Verran conv, 2 pen; Kurt Davis pen) beat Linwood 6 (Josh Hall 2 pen). HT: 13-3. Referee: Bevan Ralfe. Sinbin: Jamie Verran (University).
There were two defining moments in this match – one in the first quarter, the other in the last – which showed how much University deserved to win it. The proverbial blanket could have been thrown over the student eight as they sprinted together 15m to produce the game’s only try after 15min. Then near the end, the Linwood forwards threw everything at the University line and almost uprooted the goal-posts in their effort to score.
Not only did the University forwards regroup and repel the onslaught, they turned over the ball and the backs cleared the line. It was stirring stuff. But while the student forwards were collectively heroic in many of their exploits, it was fullback Jamie Verran who, in several ways, steered the side to victory.
Verran kept turning the Linwood backs around with astute tactical kicking, caused some damage to Linwood with ball in hand, and banged over three goals from wide out. He could not take a last-second penalty goal chance, which was converted by Kurt Davis, because he was sinbinned a couple of minutes from the end, victim of a general warning against lying on the ball in a ruck.
The other back to stand out was midfielder Hamish Catherwood, whose thrustful running was important to the student cause until he was subbed off in the last quarter. It seems unfair to pick out individuals from the pack, but line-out leaper Mike Allardice, blindside flanker Sam Toulmin, a penetrating runner, and No. 8 Jimmy Lentjes caught the eye often with their enterprise.
Linwood looked promisingly early, once their backs got into stride. Zac Southen lent a telling hand from fullback as Josh Hall looked to spark the men outside him. Right wing Timoteo Aokuso seemed set to turn early promise into points, Then the side went off the boil, although Southen and others kept probing when attacking chances arose.
In the forwards, Casey Fransen got through a lot of good line-out work, Jeff Lepa impressed on defence and attack, and Richard Norton – who came on for the second half – tried hard to lift the side. Fransen shifted to the blindside flank to accommodate Norton in the second row and faded later, hampered by injury but forced to play on. There-in lay a problem for the home side, which could not finalise its full line-up until after the match had started.
MVP: Jamie Verran (University) 3, Sam Toulmin (University) 2, Mike Allardice (University) 1.
In the Colts curtain-raiser, University had a 19-3 win over Linwood, but it was a minor mystery why the home side could not add to its meagre tally in the second half. Linwood showed attacking talents as the clock wound down, but lacked continuity. University appreciated the let-offs.
For the students, openside flanker Andrew Jones and No. 8 Jonno Neary excelled, while in the backs midfielder Rod Sullivan and fullback Sam Lawson stretched the Linwood defence on many occasions, showing intelligence as they explored their options.
For Linwood, Josh Harper played his first full game in the front row and went the distance with his reputation enhanced. Jason Wright, who switched backline positions during the match, was the side’s most potent attacker.
BURNSIDE v SUMNER
At St Leonard’s Square: Burnside 31 (Pete Stanley 2, Tom Roy tries; Tom Taylor 2 conv, 4 pen) beat Sumner 14 (Kevin Marriner, Greg Goodfellow tries; Marc Pringle 2 conv). HT: 18-14. Referee: Johnny Rice. Sinbin: Reid Bradford.
After an action-packed start with three tries, two by Burnside, and 19 points in the first 12 minutes, the game lost some of its tempo as Sumner tightened its defence and the kick-and-chase was used by both teams to gain territory.
In fact, Burnside had to wait until the penultimate minute before getting its third try after a clearing kick 3m from Sumner’s line was charged down and Burnside flanker Tom Roy was the recipient of a favourable bounce.
Burnside had its first try after six minutes when Burnside No. 8 Brett Cameron seized upon a sloppy Sumner pass to put wing Pete Stanley in the clear. Almost from the restart, Sumner equalised when second five-eighths Kevin Marriner timed an interception to perfection, but in the 12th minute Stanley managed to touch down with two tacklers clinging to him.
Tom Taylor, who slotted six of his seven kicks at goal, extended the lead to 18-7 with two penalty goals late in the second quarter, but Sumner halfback Greg Goodfellow had his side back in the match at half-time by selling a dummy and darting 15m to score by the post from a ruck.
Sumner’s improved scrum and better first-up tackling in the second half frustrated Burnside which spent most of the spell inside Sumner’s half without crossing the line until the dying stages. A stream of penalties against Sumner also earned the match officials the wrath of the home supporters and some calls were harsh.
Burnside, with Crusaders Nick Barrett and Andrew Olorenshaw as props, had the dominant scrum early, but Sumner bounced back and put some good hits on in the second spell. The Burnside backs were dangerous early, running hard and linking well, but the confidence went as Sumner moved up quickly on defence and made the tackles count.
Flanker Ben Payne won good lineout ball at the back and scavenged well for Burnside, while No. 8 Brett Cameron made several rampaging runs. Midfielders Taylor and Sam Beard were effective both on attack and in defence.
Raw-boned Sumner lock Luke Katene was a key figure, aggressive on the burst and forcing turnovers in the mauls, while captain and No. 8 Lawrence Babe tidied up well around the fringes. The backs defended strongly after a shaky start with Marriner and Chris O’Neill to the fore.
MVP: Luke Katene (Belfast) 3, Ben Payne (Burnside) 2, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 1
Sumner won the division three curtain-raiser, 22-5, after leading University, 17-0, at half-time. Sumner’s strong scrum proved a concern for University which conceded several tight-heads, but the students sharpened their defence as the match progressed and were not afraid to take penalties and run at Sumner.
Sumner No. 7 Darren Rogers had an outstanding game, winning many turnovers and maintaining a high work-rate, while halfback Cam Stevens chose his options wisely and tackled fiercely. University halfback Nick Mourtzakis also cleared the ball cleanly and kicked astutely, while lock Tim Newman had a busy game and competed well in the line-outs, and prop Hayden Lawless provided plenty of go-forward.
NEW BRIGHTON v BELFAST
At Sheldon Park: New Brighton 32 (Ryan Hooper, Aaron McCoy, Dayne Wipou, Jerry Meafou, Isaac Ross tries; David Cattermole 2 conv, pen) beat Belfast 7 (Jerry Pauaraisa try; Kolio Hifo conv). HT: 17-0. Referee: James Munro.
New Brighton dominated territory and possession and had the better of the penalty count to be a clear-cut winner of this Leinster Challenge Trophy match against a slow-starting Belfast. The visitors scored three of their five tries in the last 15min to extend the margin, having been denied others earlier by good defence with some heavy Belfast hits leading to spilled ball.
Long-striding New Brighton lock Ryan Hooper had a top game and must have headed the running-metres count with a succession of slashing breaks as well as making several good line-out takes. His captain and blindside flanker Aaron McCoy embellished his reputation with a strong all-round performance and prop Nick McMullan smashed the ball up a few times.
New Brighton made good use of two left-foot kickers in the backline, first five-eighths Scott Beckingsale and centre Matt Ball, while little wing Misi Selave displayed both speed off the mark and tricky footwork. Halfback Rhys Keith made a few sniping runs too.
Belfast pivot, Kolio Hifo had relatively limited opportunities, but showed ability to spark a backline and delivered some nice cut-out passes. Hooker Moses Gutuvakaca and prop Peter Tapp both used their size to advantage.
Trailing 22-0 Belfast finally got on the board well into the final quarter when replacement halfback Jerry Pauaraisa scored a good build-up, but then it had its line crossed twice more.
The last of those was right on the final whistle when 2.01m replacement lock Isaac Ross went over in the corner. Former All Black Ross made an impact in the line-outs and in the loose in his 30min cameo, and also drew some cheers for a respectable touch-finder.
All Blacks assistant coach and former Belfast man, Wayne Smith, was among the interested spectators at Sheldon Park.
MVP: Ryan Hooper (New Brighton) 3, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 2, Misi Selave (New Brighton) 1
Lyttelton’s senior team downed Belfast, 20-9, with four tries against three penalties in the division two curtain-raiser after the port side had led, 10-6, at half-time. Lyttelton won all its own ball in the line-outs and a change of game plan to take it wide paid off for points in the second half.
Halfback Chris Barry and five-eighths Tama Collins and Brendan Nolan operated smoothly. One try was set up, whether by design or accident, after fullback Tim Kerry’s `cross-kick’ initially found the arms of a loose forward down the right flank.
MARIST-ALBION v SHIRLEY
At Burwood Park: Marist-Albion 29 (Chris Crichton, Faimalo Magele, Rowan O’Gorman, Tim Smith tries; Tom Bruce 3 conv, pen) beat Shirley 7 (Ryan Bombay try; Rob Smith conv). HT: 14-0. Referee: Chris Wratt.
Bottom-of-the-table Shirley had everything to play for in this physical contest against fellow battler Marist-Albion. The boys in blue showed determination in their endeavour to shake off the prospect of an eighth successive loss, but 10th placed Marist-Albion was clearly out to honour captain Rowan O’Gorman’s 150th senior club game with a win.
Marist-Albion drew first blood with a well-earned try by wing Chris Crichton, who pushed over the line inside the first 10min to put Shirley on the back foot. Shirley soon got into attack mode and a co-ordinated move featuring smooth passing and excellent running by wing Chris Fuller took the home team close to the line before frantic Marist-Albion defence stymied the effort.
This became the pattern of the first half as Shirley missed a number of opportunities or were denied by the defence. Late in the half, Marist-Albion hooker Faimalo Magele linked up with fullback Ben Tyler to dot down bear the post for a superb try which had the visitors ahead by 14 points at the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first. While the possession was almost even, Marist-Albion’s ability to capitalise better on its possession kept the points ticking over. A rolling maul from a 5m line-out drive saw O’Gorman peel off and score to make his 150th game even more memorable.
Shirley showed its potential when lock Ryan Bombay scored a well-worked try which came about through Jake Breitmeyer’s attacking tenacity. But it was too little, too late. Shirley’s front row of Daniel Parks, Matt McLachlan, and Brad Manson were consistently reliable in stabilising the scrums which was a strength of Shirley’s game. The trio were ever present at the breakdown and contested the ball with admirable physicality.
Outstanding for Marist-Albion was flanker O’Gorman, who demonstrated why he deserves to be playing first division rugby 11 years after his debut as an 18-year-old. First five-eighths Tom Bruce provided clear-headed leadership in the backline and slotted all his goal attempts except one that rebounded off an upright.
MVP: Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 3, Tom Bruce (Marist-Albion) 2, Jake Breitmeyer (Shirley) 1.
Shirley started the division two curtain-raiser against High School Old Boys strongly, but was unable to hold on. Outstanding performances by hard-running No. 8 Richard Jack and second five-eighths Adam Bayliss helped Shirley to a 12-0 lead at half-time, but the tables turned in the second half and Old Boys piled on 26 unanswered points for a 26-12 win.
CHRISTCHURCH v LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
At Chch Park: Christchurch 38 (Matt Thatcher 2, Kieran Coll, Richard McLaughlin tries; Jason Merrett 3 conv, 4 pen) beat Lincoln University 18 (James Schrader, Cody Atkinson tries; Harry Leonard conv, 2 pen). HT: 6-6. Referee: Matt Muir.
Christchurch would be well pleased to get its season back on track with a comprehensive win and the manner in which it built into the game and the flourish with which it ended. Lincoln was competitive for most of the game and started the last quarter trailing 23-18. But it was unable to withstand the withering finish by the red-and-blacks who added 15 points, including two excellent tries, which shifted the game’s momentum.
Both teams traded two penalty goals in the first half and both were denied tries when the final pass went to ground with the line in sight. The impetus lifted in the second half and Christchurch was immediately on the front foot when centre Matt Thatcher snapped up a loose ball and ran 20m to score. Christchurch’s forwards were rewarded when lock Kieran Coll scored after the students’ scrum was demolished.
To its credit, Lincoln fought back and fullback Rowan McKenzie, after a fine solo run, lost the ball with the line beckoning. But Lincoln was not to be denied and centre James Schrader and wing Cody Atkinson both crossed to put their team back into the game.
However, Christchurch lifted the intensity of its game and finished with two spectacular tries. Wing Richard McLaughlin scored the first after a wayward Lincoln line-out throw fell to flanker Gary Redmond, who carved off a slice of ground before setting up his wing. The second gave Thatcher his second touchdown, the try coming after an incisive run by first five-eighths Jason Merrett which split the defence open.
The Christchurch loose forward trio of Mark Abbott, Redmond and Sam Bindon was a constant threat both on attack and in defence. Merrett directed his backline ably and centre Thatcher made the most of his opportunities.
The Lincoln University scrum came under considerable pressure, but lock Tom Parsons and flanker Berny Hall played well in difficult circumstances. Wing Cody Atkinson was a constant threat with his speed and determination.
MVP: Mark Abbott (Chch) 3, Gary Redmond (Chch) 2, Cody Atkinson (LU) 1.
In the curtain-raiser, Christchurch used its get-out-of-jail card for replacement Tom Angus to kick a field goal in the last act of the game to give his team a 9-6 win over Burnside. It was 3-3 at half-time and both teams battled solidly in the second half without either gaining ascendancy until Angus struck in the final minute.
Christchurch flanker Andy Hamilton had an industrious game and replacement prop Dylan Crawford was strong in a solid forward pack. Brad Ineson showed his versatility moving between first five-eighths and halfback with equal ability.
Burnside was brave in defeat and probably deserved a draw. Nobody toiled harder than lock Sean Tainui, while halfback Blair Willmont kept his side on the front foot and second five-eighths Cameron Hugill was a threat with his determined running.
Leading points-scorers: Jason Merrett (Chch) 108, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 95, Kolio Hifo (Belfast) 73, James Lash (HSOB) 65, Tyrone Elkington (Sydenham) 62.
Leading try-scorers: Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham) 8, Willie McGoon (University) 7, Chris Small (HSOB) 7, Matt Thatcher (Chch) 7, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 6, Nemia Ranuku (Belfast) 6, Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 5, Koilo Hifo (Belfast) 5.
Leading MVP points: Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 12, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 11, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 9, Gary Redmond (Chch) 8, Willie McGoon (University) 7, Kolio Hifo (Belfast) 7, Ryan Hooper (New Brighton) 7, Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham) 6, James Lash (HSOB) 6, Mark Abbott (Chch) 6.
Points Table as at 28th May 2011
METROPOLITAN CUP - DIVISION 2
DIV 4/CLASSICS - SECTION 1
WOMENS - FIRST ROUND
THE PRESS CUP - NORTHERN
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