Thames Valley Heartland team secures bonus point in ‘vital win’
The Thames Valley Heartland team put aside the disappointment of last week’s loss by beating Wairarapa Bush 44-32 at Memorial Park, Masterton in round two of the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship.
The team scored six tries and collected a bonus point for their efforts as a much-needed win was secured by the Swampfoxes.
The display was far from perfect but it was a big improvement from the previous outing and although there are plenty of areas to work on, the team will be all the better for the win as will the Thames Valley supporters that made the long trek to Masterton.
Wairarapa Bush made the best possible start to the game by scoring a converted try in the third minute but Thames Valley remained composed and cashed in on Wairarapa Bush’s ill-discipline as first five Reece Boughton kicked successive penalties to reduce the deficit to one point before centre Sam McCahon scored the first of his two tries.
Boughton converted and fullback Jesse Dodunski was next to score only a few minutes later.
The conversion attempt missed and the home team closed the gap to 18-13 with two penalties but Thames Valley was dominating and was rewarded for keeping the pressure on, with tries to loosie, Christian Kelleher and winger Kieran Lee.
Boughton converted the first to give Thames Valley a deserved 30-13 lead at half time.
More good work after the resumption in play allowed half back Ben Bonnar to score under the posts.
The successful conversion pushed the score up to 37-13.
Wairarapa Bush were next to score but the visitors were still in control and McCahon scored his second try with 10 minutes to go.
Boughton added the extras to make the score 44-18.
The home side stepped up and made a late attempt to save the game, scoring two more converted tries but Thames Valley was too far in front at full time, recording a vital 44-32 win on the road.
The bonus point win has moved Thames Valley up to sixth place in the 12 team competition while Wairarapa Bush now sits one off the bottom following consecutive defeats.
King Country leads the way, picking up two bonus points to be alone on 10 points atop the table with perennial favourites Wanganui and North Otago, one point back.
The Thames Valley Development team played Counties Manukau Under 85s at Rugby Park, Waihi and were almost undone by the feisty visitors in their second round game of the Northern Region competition.
An untidy display, marked by handling errors and poor options left the hosts trailing by two points with time almost up until Cobras first five Nathan Emery kicked a penalty to save the day.
Tries to Ford Ainsley, Tim Maamaloa, Ethan Seymour and Charles Pipe gave Thames Valley a bonus win to see them sitting in second place on the points table after two weeks.
The Under 18s form that saw them record a win over NZ Vikings, deserted them this week as they lost to the Waikato Secondary Schools XV, 15-13 in their second round game at the Leamington Rugby Club grounds in Cambridge.
They picked up a bonus point for losing by less than seven but the missed opportunity leaves them in second place trailing neighbours King Country by four points.
The Under 14s continued their good form by upstaging Western Bay of Plenty at the Tauranga Domain with a 29-26 victory. The game was part of the curtain raiser programme for the Mitre 10 Cup game between Bay of Plenty and Canterbury and the team and the team was invited to stay and watch the game.
The Under 45kg team took part in the opening round of the annual Under 45kg Invitation Tournament at Memorial Park, Cambridge on Sunday.
The tournament is played over three weekends with the traditional Finals Day to be held at Boyd Park, Te Aroha on September 16.
Thames Valley had two games on Sunday, losing 15-10 against Hamilton Black and beating Te Awamutu 15-7.
The final round of the Under 13 Girls competition was held at Rugby Park, Waihi on Friday night with teams from Waihi, Hauraki Plains and Mercury Bay taking part in a seven a side round robin competition followed by a 15 a side with players from all three teams making up composite teams.
Following the success and level of interest in this competition plans are underway for more girls rugby next term.