Thames Valley returns to Boyd Park, Te Aroha for its last game of the season against Poverty Bay. Neither team has had a lot to cheer about in 2016 although Poverty Bay can ensure a play off place by beating Thames Valley in this game. Boyd Park has been a happy hunting ground for the home team in recent years with the most recent result being a draw against King Country on Centurions Cup Day. Thames Valley Coach Hayden Roe will have his team well fired up for this game as the side looks to avoid a winless season. Injuries and unavailability have not been kind to the Swampfoxes and a win would be some consolation for a season of disappointments.
Poverty Bay first played Thames Valley in Te Aroha in 1934, winning 9-8 at Herries Memorial Park. The last time they played in Te Aroha was back in 1973 and Thames Valley triumphed 7-6 that day. All Black legend, Ian Kirkpatrick, was in the visiting team that day along with fellow All Black Mike Parkinson, who played second five eight. Since then most games between these two sides have been played in Paeroa.
The teams have met ten times since the Heartland Competition began in 2006, with Thames Valley only winning twice. Thames Valley had a convincing win in a high scoring game at Gisborne last year by 43-37. The last time Poverty Bay came to Paeroa, in 2014, they won 17-9, with Moss Doran, playing in their team. Thames Valley’s only other win was in 2013 in Gisborne when they upset the hosts 27-18.
This week game will be refereed by Hugh Reed from Hawkes Bay.
The Curtain raiser, which starts at 12.15pm, will a challenge game between Silver Fern Farms Te Aroha and Silver Fern Farms Dargaville.