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Game Day - Week 16
SATURDAY 23rd July 2011
SCORES – TROPHY: HSOB 25 University 21; Christchurch 18 New Brighton 13; Burnside 38 Sydenham 15. PLATE: Belfast 22 Linwood 18; Marist-Albion 18 Lincoln University 15; Sumner 29 Shirley 13.
CUP CHAMPIONS HSOB TOP QUALIFIERS
High School Old Boys upped the ante in the second half to overcome a five-point deficit and beat University, 25-21, in an enthralling top-of-the-table clash at Ilam on Saturday in the final series of the top six round-robin.
The win elevated HSOB over the students to the top of the Metropolitan Trophy division one standings and the Cup holders will play New Brighton – their conquerors in the previous round – in one semi-final while Christchurch, which is trying for three successive championship will tackle University in the other.
Last year’s beaten finalist, Burnside, had to score the bonus-point try against Sydenham and hope New Brighton failed to score a point against Christchurch for it to stay in the reckoning for the title, but while Burnside bagged six tries, Brighton picked up a bonus point for finishing five points behind Christchurch in a match which was stopped for half an hour when Brighton locks, Daniel Karena and Aaron Williams, had a sickening clash of heads which left Williams concussed and Karena taken to hospital.
Belfast scored a last-gasp try to pip Linwood and qualify top of the Plate section, while Marist-Albion’s outstanding captain Rowan O’Gorman scored two tries in the third quarter to help his team to a three-point win over Lincoln University. Sumner comfortably won the bottom-of-the-table clash against win-less Shirley.
HSOB first five-eighths Stephan van Gruting became the sixth member of this season’s 100 points club, joining teammate James Lash in that elite group, while New Brighton flanker Kieran Black racked up his 50th senior appearance.
HSOB v UNIVERSITY
At Ilam: High School Old Boys 25 (Josh Taylor, Robbie Flynn, Matt Holloway tries; Stephan van Gruting 2 conv, pen; James Lash pen) beat University 21 (Lei’ataua Limuloa, Rhys Llewellyn tries; Jamie Verran conv, 3 pen). HT: 8-13. Referee: Ross Barnett.
High School Old Boys gained second-half ascendancy to squeeze home over University in a thrilling encounter which may be a forerunner to a more important re-match in the final on August 7. It is hoped that as a fitting finale to the club season both teams can be as close as possible to full strength.
University was only allowed to play New Zealand Under 20 captain Luke Whitelock in the first half as he may be required for Canterbury next week. He had made an invaluable contribution to his team which led, 13-8, at the break.
University had the better of the first half, choosing to run the ball from all parts of the field and not being drawn into tight situations where HSOB held the advantage. The Old Boys inside backs defended strongly to keep the opposition’s scoring options in check. Old Boys’ second-half effort underlined the importance of ball possession with their heavier forward pack taking control with quick recycled ball pick-and-go tactics and their backs finding gaps in the defence.
University was quickly on the board with a Jamie Verran penalty, the opening try coming after 20m when lock Lei’ataua Limuloa crossed after wing Rhys Llewellyn ran the ball out of defence, kicked ahead and regained the ball which was slickly passed through a number of hands. Just before half-time, Old Boys wing Josh Taylor took advantage of a narrow pathway down the touch-line to scoot 20m to score.
The Old Boys forwards stepped up their effort after the break with some strong ball-carrying and after a series of pick-and-go the ball was released to centre Robbie Flynn who strolled over untouched. University went close to scoring, but usually reliable fullback Jamie Verran spilt the ball.
Hooker Matt Holloway scored after some slick Old Boys passing following a clever cross-kick by first five-eighths Stephan van Gruting and that preceded a try by Llewellyn after 70min when the New Zealand Under 20 representative finished a sweeping move by bumping through several hopeful tackles.
That try had University trailing 25-18 and it chose to kick for goal (successfully) when it received a penalty with four minutes to play. The students were not given another chance with the strong Old Boys pack winding down the clock with good ball retention.
Locks Tim Bond and Andy Scarlett provided grunt to a strong Old Boys pack and loose forwards Tom Stanley and Hendrix Tui were to the fore on attack and defence. Halfback Ellery Wilson had a fine game, disrupting his opposite and placing the defence under pressure with his sniping runs. Centre Robbie Flynn displayed his class when receiving the ball with space to move.
Whitelock was strong for the students in his limited game time and was an effective link off the back of the scrum. Limuloa stood out with some strong bursts and ball-handling skills. Hamish Catherwood, at second five-eighths, tackled strongly and Llewellyn was constantly looking for work and appealed as a wing destined for higher honours.
MVP: Ellery Wilson (HSOB) 3, Rhys Llewellyn (University) 2, Robbie Flynn (HSOB) 1.
CHRISTCHURCH v NEW BRIGHTON
At Rawhiti Domain: Christchurch 18 (Kieran Coll 2 tries; Matt Thatcher conv, 2 pen) beat New Brighton 13 (Dayne Wipou try; David Cattermole conv, 2 pen). HT: 8-6. Referee: Johnny Rice.
New Brighton came within a whisker of crashing out of semi-final contention in an ugly game against DCL Shield holder Christchurch. Early penalties were traded by David Cattermole and Matt Thatcher, but in the set pieces, especially in the scrums, Christchurch was totally dominant, shoving the seasiders around at every put-in while its hard driving at the rucks and mauls upset Brighton’s rhythm.
Big Christchurch fullback, Thatcher, kept his team going forward with some huge touch-finders. In the 12th minute Christchurch No. 8 Kieran Coll finished off a sustained period on attack by crashing over in the corner in a tackle.
Ten minutes later after a collapsed scrum and the ensuing ruck had been cleared, both Brighton locks, Aaron Williams and Daniel Karena, were left prostrate and unconscious after clashing heads with each other. Play stopped immediately as concerned staff rushed on the field and the match was delayed for 30min while two ambulances arrived, Williams being helped to the sideline and Karena taken to hospital.
The enforced break fired Brighton up briefly and it had a period on attack, but the only reward was another Cattermole penalty. Christchurch hit back on attack through a Kieran Kite intercept, but he was cut down from behind by wing Misi Selave. Brighton withstood 10min of intense pressure until half-time.
Aware at half-time that Burnside had taken maximum points from Sydenham, Brighton knew it must get at least one bonus point, but its defence was found wanting 2min after the restart when Coll, in a similar move to his first try, was driven over wide out. Thatcher converted and kicked a penalty which looked to have condemned Brighton to an early exit from the semi-finals race.
However, as many other visiting teams to Rawhiti Domain have found in the past, the home team never gives up lightly. The seasiders found new heart and worked into Christhchurch territory with the visitor conceding three consecutive penalties for silly misdemeanours.
Given a rare chance to attack with the ball, Brighton did with relish and while the forwards were unable to force their way over, right wing Dayne `Chunky’ Wipou outflanked the flailing arms of the last defender to score and Cattermole’s conversion closed the gap to five points with 17min to play.
Encouraged by loud support from their sideline faithful, Brighton lifted and finished the stronger, keeping Christchurch scoreless and gaining the valuable bonus point it needed to make the semi-finals.
For Christchurch, Coll, openside flanker Gary Redmond and prop Matt Groom were prominent, while young first five-eighths James Owens was elusive. Centre Scott Alfeld was a hard runner and Thatcher’s kicking was crucial.
Brighton’s loose forwards, Aaron McCoy, Ryan Hooper and Kieran Black were kept very busy, the revamped pack settled with the introduction of veteran prop Nick McMullan after the injury break and again the Meafou brothers, Fia and Jerry, proved hard to control in the midfield,.
MVP: Kieran Coll (Chch) 3, Matt Thatcher (Chch) 2, Ryan Hooper (New Brighton) 1.
In the Premier Colts game, grade winner Lincoln University easily accounted for New Brighton, scoring seven tries to one in its 48-5 victory.
BURNSIDE v SYDENHAM
At Sydenham Park: Burnside 38 (Jed Brown, Brett Cameron, Fred Burke, Pete Stanley, Ben Payne, Kieran Lindsay tries; Mitch Neutze 4 conv) beat Sydenham 15 (Codie Taylor, Jonny Nicholls tries; Tyrone Elkington conv, pen). HT: 21-3. Referee: Blair York.
Burnside was hungry for the win, knowing it needed the try bonus-point to have any chance of making the top four. Consequently, it applied pressure from the start and never let up, scoring six tries and getting a bonus-point which did not matter in the end with both Christchurch and Brighton taking points from their match.
Despite Burnside’s big win it should have scored more points in the second half. The loss of big lock Pablo Huete to representative rugby left a hole in the lineout and area where Sydenham was most competitive.
Sydenham, too, squandered point-scoring opportunities through fumbles and sloppy scrums. Centre Nick Thomson showed pace and tried to exploit gaps in the defence, but the midfield too often became cluttered and chances to clear the ball were lost.
Burnside prop Fred Burke scored the try of the match. After a series of botched scrums only metres from the Sydenham line, he took a pass from a tap-kick and barged through Sydenham’s defensive wall. No. 8 Tom Lindsay proved his worth, keeping pace with more experienced players and finding holes in the opposing defence. While unable to score himself, he was instrumental in setting up several tries for his teammates.
After Burnside dominated possession and territory in the first half, Sydenham fought back after the break and its determination was rewarded on the hour with a try to hooker Codie Taylor which lifted morale for the final push. Jonny Nicholls and Thomson combined for a break out try soon after. Although well behind at half-time, Sydenham’s second half display could only be applauded.
MVP: Mitch Neutze (Burnside) 3, Tom Lindsay (Burnside) 2, Fred Burke (Burnside) 1
BELFAST v LINWOOD
At Linfield Park: Belfast 22 (Ray McKay 2, Frank Havea tries; Steve McKean conv, pen; Havea conv) beat Linwood 18 (Jason Wright, Karl Uilelea tries; Zac Southen conv, 2 pen). HT: 10-5. Referee: Carl Johnson.
Already assured of a Plate semi-finals spot, Belfast snatched the win right on the whistle with a flamboyant dive for a try under the posts from centre turned first five-eighths Ray McKay, who had cut through after taking a pass from front-rower Moses Gutuvakaca.
Belfast’s joy was immediately evident with McKay flinging the ball skyward, but the Linwood camp could only talk of another ``heart-breaking’’ result after also conceding the winning points in the last 5min when the teams met in the round-robin six weeks ago, co-incidentally under the same referee.
Linwood had taken the lead for the second time, at 18-15, when Zac Southen kicked a penalty from about 38m out and with only 4min left of normal time. It was another hard-fought and absorbing clash between two rivals, but not a good day for the first five-eighths with Linwood losing Josh Hall early on, and injury befalling his opposite, Nick Wilson. Belfast second five-eighths Steve McKean moved in a place only to be sidelined himself early in the second half.
Belfast had some excellent phases with pick-and-gos, along with one impressive rolling maul, but Linwood also enjoyed plenty of possession, including one lineout steal which ultimately led to a fine second-half try by wing Karl Uilelea.
No. 8 Naibuku Tavenavo produced much of the go-forward in the Belfast pack, showing plenty of speed off the mark and a decidedly useful fend, while Gutuvakaca made his customary charges and some big tackles. McKean made a strong contribution with his running and punting in his half.
For Linwood, Southen ran cleverly from fullback and then as the pivot, while Uilelea showed a ton of pace. Lock Jeff Lepa was powerful and elusive in racking up many running metres and No. 8 Silonga Letoa launched himself through, and sometimes into, numerous tackles.
MVP: Naibuku Tavenavo (Belfast) 3, Jeff Lepa (Linwood) 2, Zac Southen (Linwood) 1.
For the first time this season Belfast’s two senior teams both had a win to celebrate with the division two side downing Linwood, 30-14, on the No. 2 ground after leading 14-0 at half-time. While the Belfast win came from a good team effort, individuals earning mentions were wing Andrew Deeds, who scored a cracker of a try in the first half, and halfback Anthony Hose for a strong over-all game.
MARIST ALBION v LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
At Lincoln University: Marist-Albion 18 (Rowan O’Gorman 2 tries; Ben Tyler conv, 2 pen) beat Lincoln University 15 (Codey Atkinson, Tyrone Davies tries; Harry Leonard conv, pen). HT: 6-8. Referee: Bevan Ralfe.
Two third-quarter tries, the first from out of the blue, by veteran captain Rowan O’Gorman propelled Marist Albion to its win. It was a match the home side seemed to have under control until O’Gorman struck 10min after the break.
The canny blindside flanker anticipated a long, looping pass as the Lincoln backs attacked with gusto. He timed the intercept to perfection and had the legs to hold off his pursuers in a 70m run to the line to give Marist Albion the lead.
Lincoln heads were still a little bowed, especially after Luke Graham just failed to reply in kind with an intercept, when the Marist-Albion forwards mounted a stirring 20m surge which was finished by O’Gorman. To its credit, Lincoln scored a converted try almost on full-time for a bonus point but has cause yet again to regret its inability to sustain commanding form.
Arch-opportunist O’Gorman aside, Marist Albion was well served by No. 8 Mike Stewart, who added lineout skills to his portfolio, prop Marce Taulango, and openside flanker Ben Enoka. Ben Tyler fulfilled his standard fullback duties with aplomb, and was also the side’s most dangerous runner. Combative halfback Tim Smith impressed with his control and clearances.
Smith’s opposite number for 50min, Codey Atkinson, scored Lincoln’s first try, in the first minute, in partnership with No. 8 Jordan Taufua, and split the defence on other occasions, over-eagerness on his part spoiling the try-scoring chances he created.
Lock Grant Gilchrist marked his last match before heading back to Edinburgh with a tower of strength performance, winning quality lineout ball, some against the throw, taking kick-offs in convincing fashion, and putting himself about the field to good effect.
Taufua set up both Lincoln’s tries, the first with perception, the second with power and prescience. Harry Leonard converted the second try from close to the left touch-line, but was also astray from the right side of the field and uncharacteristically missed four chances.
MVP: Rowan O’Gorman (Marist Albion) 3, Ben Tyler (Marist Albion) 2, Grant Gilchrist (LU) 1.
SUMNER v SHIRLEY
At St Leonard’s Square: Sumner 29 (Reid Bradford 2, Matt Whittleston, Shannon Durrant tries; Chris Burnett 3 conv, pen) beat Shirley 13 (Phillippe Trippier try; Rob Smith conv, 2 pen). HT: 10-10. Referee: David Ogilvie. Sinbin: Matt McLachlan (Shirley), Ewan McQuillin (Sumner).
Nothing but pride was on the line in this bottom-of-the-table clash. Shirley was out to avoid its scoreless performance last week and was clearly keen for early points. In the first 10min, the boys in blue turned down repeated kickable penalties and opted to kick for touch or for scrums. Jake Breitmeyer and Anaru White tested Sumner’s defence before fullback Rob Smith opened the scoring with a penalty from handy range.
Sumner was not about to be walked over on its own turf, however, and from the restart Connor Bertrand and Kevin Marriner took the ball to Shirley’s line for No. 8 Reid Bradford to score a try converted by Chris Burnett.
Back on attack came Shirley and what should have been an easy clearance from a defensive Sumner ruck went horribly wrong when a pass went to ground instead of the player. Sumner watched dumbstruck as Shirley midfielder Phillippe Trippier scooped up the loose ball and scored. Burnett equalised with a penalty for Sumner before the break and Shirley hooker Matt McLachlan was sinbinned for a late charge.
Sumner came back from the first half stalemate in fine form and eliminated many of its costly mistakes in the first 40min. It attacked from the front, the forwards showing their superiority in the scrums and mauls. A Matt Whittleston try caused Shirley supporters to question the grounding and whether he was in play, and it was followed minutes later with a try in the same corner to prop Shannon Durrant, who showed good pace to make the line.
In copy-cat fashion, Sumner’s hooker, Ewan McQuillin, was also sinbinned for an off-the-ball confrontation midway through the spell. Shirley was unable to capitalise on it, though, and a stunning solo effort by halfback Mavae Tomasi failed to reap points for Shirley. While Sumner won comfortably, it was a respectable send-off for Shirley.
MVP: Reid Bradford (Sumner) 3, Chris Burnett (Sumner) 2, Shannon Durrant (Sumner) 1.
Leading points-scorers: Jason Merrett (Chch) 162, Jamie Verran (University) 127, Tyrone Elkington (Sydenham) 124, Harry Leonard (Lincoln University) 106, James Lash (HSOB) 103, Stephan van Gruting (HSOB) 101, David Cattermole (New Brighton) 96, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 95, Kolio Hifo (Belfast) 94, Chris Burnett (Sumner) 86, Josh Hall (Linwood) 80, Matt Thatcher (Chch) 70.
Leading try-scorers: Willie McGoon (University) 11, Johnny McNicholl (Sydenham) 10, Chris Small (HSOB) 10, Matt Thatcher (Chch) 10, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 8, Kieran Coll (Chch) 8, Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 8, Codey Atkinson (Lincoln University) 7, Chris Crichton (Marist-Albion) 7, Dayne Wipou (New Brighton) 7, Patrick Osborne (University) 7.
Leading MVP points: Rowan O’Gorman (Marist-Albion) 19, Aaron McCoy (New Brighton) 16, Gary Redmond (Chch) 13, Jamie Verran (University) 13, Kieran Coll (Chch) 12, Ryan Hooper (New Brighton) 12, Harry Leonard (Lincoln University) 10, Phil Watson (Shirley) 10, Ben Tyler (Marist-Albion) 10, Chris Burnett (Sumner) 10, Tom Taylor (Burnside) 9, Stephan van Gruting (HSOB) 9, James Lash (HSOB) 9, Takerei Norton (Linwood) 9.
Points Tables as at 23rd July 2011
METROPOLITAN DIVISION 2 - TROPHY - SECTION 1
DIVISION 4/CLASSICS - CHAMPIONSHIP - SECTION 1
WOMENS - PLATE - SEMI FINALS
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