Heavy rain and a water logged pitch did little to deter the Thames Valley Heartland Rugby team from putting on a memorable display of controlled wet weather rugby against Whanganui at the Paeroa Domain on the weekend.
Outscoring the 2016 Meads Cup holders by three tries to two, Thames Valley dominated the game for long periods with the forward pack playing some grand rugby however it’s points on the board that matter and Wanganui can be very grateful that former Highlanders midfielder, Craig Clare, kept his composure to slot a late penalty to help maintain his side’s unbeaten start to the season.
Man for man, Wanganui appeared to have a much bigger forward than Thames Valley but come scrum time the home side shoved the visiting pack around the park at will.
It came as no surprise that all three Thames Valley tries were scored by forwards while Wanganui had to look out wide for opportunities with second five Seruwalu getting them on the board just before the break and Debenaise scoring from a charge down early in the second half.
Clare’s late penalty put his team two points ahead but Thames Valley had a chance to take the win with a last gasp penalty attempt. The kick missed and the ref blew for full time and a final score of 21-19 to Wanganui.
Better news from the Thames Valley Development Team who entered uncharted territory by winning their fourth game in a row and their second in the Under 85s competition by beating Counties Manukau by 45-13 at Patumahoe.
Scoring seven tries to Counties Manukau’s two, Thames Valley led 26-8 at half time. Zane Heath and Jarrod Baker scored two each with Stephen Wise, Jerome Hill and Logan Matai getting the others. Wise kicked four conversions and Baker also kicked one. The result leaves Thames Valley second on the table, one point behind the other unbeaten side North Harbour.
The Thames Valley Under 18s put on a strong first half showing against the visiting Taranaki team in the curtain raiser at Paeroa to take a handy lead at the interval in their Under 18B competition game but a stern talk from the Taranaki coach saw his charges come out firing for the second half to put on a much better display. It wasn’t enough to claw back the lead and Thames Valley took the win by 26-24. The Roller Mills had a warm up game at Boyd Park in Te Aroha against Matamata and Districts and won 31-22
The Under 16s are on tour in the lower half of the North Island and played Wairarapa Bush at Masterton on Sunday. Having led for most of the game, Thames Valley conceded a late try to lose 12-9.
The Under 45kg competition started on Sunday in Cambridge and the Thames Valley team won both games, beating Hamilton Black 43-26 and Te Awamutu 47-7.