The Thames Valley Heartland rugby team missed a golden opportunity to secure a vital win away from home in round three of the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship game against Horowhenua Kapiti in Levin, losing 13-10.
Playing on a water-logged pitch for the second week in a row, Thames Valley didn’t play to the conditions and tried to move the ball far too much through the backline, leading to a regular flow of errors which helped to keep Horowhenua Kapiti in the game.
The home side never looked like breaching the visitor’s defence and had to rely on Kalim Kelemete to intercept a wayward Thames Valley pass to score their only try.
Thames Valley started well and opened the scoring with a try to George Lelenoa in the second minute which was converted by Chris Doak.
The home side scored mid way through the half and loan player James So’oialo kicked the conversion and added a penalty to put his team ahead 10-7 at half time.
A successful penalty kick by Doak levelled the scores early in the second half until So’oialo kicked the winner from about 47 metres out with around 10 minutes to play.
Thames Valley had several kickable penalties awarded to them in the last period of play but took other options rather than a shot at goal, none of which led to further points scoring.
In the end, Horowhenua Kapiti came away with a rather fortunate win while Thames Valley only had a bonus point to show for a game which they dominated but failed to capitalise on.
The Thames Valley Development Team won their top of the table clash against North Harbour at Rhodes Park, to remain unbeaten after three rounds of competition.
Thames Valley led 10-3 at the interval before North Harbour recovered to go in front by 16-10 however a second converted try to the home side was enough for the win, in spite of a late penalty to the visitors.
Eden McLean and Tumua Tiumafifi scored a try apiece while Stephen Wise converted both and kicked a penalty for the home team who have now gone five games unbeaten since losing to Auckland Under 19s in the first preseason game back in early August.
In other age grade results, Thames Valley Under 18s beat East Coast 39-10 at Ruatoria in the second of two tour games last week.
Earlier in the week Thames Valley was beaten 34-12 by Poverty Bay Under 18s in Gisborne but an improved performance saw them outscore the locals in the curtain raiser to the Heartland game between East Coast and West Coast.
Thames Valley Under 16s were in the curtain raiser to their senior team in Levin but the Horowhenua Kapiti boys came out on top 34-5. The Under 16s were on tour for a week and played Wanganui midweek, losing 25-24 after having lost to Wairarapa Bush in Masterton 12-9 on the Sunday prior.
The Roller Mills lost to Waikato 64-0 in a preseason game at Centennial Park and the Under 45s were beaten 29-5 in Tauranga by Western Bay of Plenty in the third game of their competition.