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Valley wins pre-season game in Waihi

Thames Valley beat Ngati Porou East Coast 59-14 last Saturday in a pre-season game at Rugby Park, Waihi.

The fixture was part of the build-up for both teams as they continue preparations for the upcoming Mitre 10 Heartland Championship which begins on August 25.

Played in ideal conditions, Thames Valley made much the better start and by half time they led 28-0.

An improved display from the visitors in the second half was rewarded with tries to second-five Sailosi Vatubua and loosehead prop Hakarangi Tichborne with halfback Sam Parkes converting both.

Thames Valley, led by experienced co captains Brett Ranga and Shaun Hill, scored another five tries after half time as they game loosened up in the last 20 minutes.

With both teams  trying out new players and new combinations the final score was only academic.

East Coast played well in patches but having opted to drive up from Ruatoria to Waihi on the day of the game, travel weariness certainly may have taken its toll.

For Thames Valley coach Matt Bartleet, it was pleasing to be able to play all the squad members who missed out on the first game and to also come through relatively unscathed, injury wise was a bonus.

Alex Bradley picked up a hat trick of tries while the others were scored by co-captain and blindside flanker Brett Ranga, hooker Glen McIntyre, openside flanker Matt Hart, halfback Matty Fisher, centre Sam McCahon and blindside flanker Ben Vincent.

The Thames Valley Development Team played Te Marawhero in the 1.30pm curtain raiser at Waihi as part of its preseason programme leading up to the Northern Regions Under 85kg competition which starts on August 25 against Auckland at Pakuranga.

With a full squad to pick from, the coaches, Colin Walker and Mike Bellamy, were looking forward to a tough workout but the visiting team didn’t have enough front rowers so the whole game was played under Golden Oldies rules, meaning uncontested scrums all game long.

Apart from that, the game was well contested by both sides with the home team having a slight advantage for most of the game, eventually winning 36-29.

The Thames Valley Secondary Schools Finals were held at the Paeroa Domain this weekend. Paeroa and Waihi College started proceedings in the Fourth Grade Final for the Bob Passey Cup.

Paeroa made the better start and led 12-0 at the turn around but Waihi fought back well with three second half tries but it wasn’t enough to stop Paeroa winning 26-15.

The Development Grade Final was a close game in the first half with Hauraki Plains College holding a 14-12 advantage over Thames High going into the break but it was one way traffic in the second spell as Hauraki Plains cleared out to win by 50-12.

Waihi and Te Aroha College drew 24-24 in the 1st XV 1B final for the Allen Fisher Cup while Paeroa College scored seven tries to one as they defeated Thames High School 43-7 to win the Coulter Cup for the second year in a row.

The Shaw Cup and Fleming Shield tournaments final day was held at Boyd Park, Te Aroha on Sunday. Waihi and Thames were the top two sides in the Shaw Cup going into the final day and they were drawn to play each other in the first round on Sunday.

It was a fairly even game but Thames had the edge and won 31-22.

This brought Thames within one point of Waihi who had the bye in the last round.

Thames had to win their last game to take out the competition and they did so by beating Te Aroha 38-17.

Te Aroha/Paeroa fought off a determined Central Coast team to win the Fleming Shield much to the delight of the large home crowd.

Leading the points table prior to Sunday, Te Aroha/Paeroa recorded two comfortable wins to go through the competition unbeaten for 2018.

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