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HG LEACH Senior Rugby Round Up 27/04/2019

HG LEACH Senior Rugby ROUND UP 27/04/2019:

Feature Team – Paeroa Rugby & Sports

Paeroa v  Tairua

This game live was streamed live to give the families and friends of players from overseas an opportunity to watch them play NZ Rugby.

Taking on Paeroa was always going to be a tough battle with Paeroa on a winning streak of three games which included an impressive win against defending champs Waihi Athletic.

Paeroa started well, keeping possession for most of the first quarter and were the first to score. Tairua started to find a rhythm, getting the ball through the hands. A sharp attack that saw Tairua move the ball wide and then back in front of the posts had the home team scrambling and a penalty try resulted.

Tairua then started to string passages of play together, fielding a ball deep in their own half, swift transfers of the ball wide out set the impressive Robbie Orr free to scorch over from 30 meters out. 7 -12 at the half to Tairua.

Paeroa dominated possession and territory from the restart, asking questions of the Tairua defence. Tireless work from the Tairua midfield kept the line intact. With a rare sortie into Paeroa territory, Tairua struck, Tom Smith breaking the line with Swan converting. 7-19. Never a team to give up, Paeroa with concerted forward pressure, created phase after phase to send the winger in out wide with a superb conversion making it 14-19.

Tairua emptied the bench bringing on plenty of experience and go forward, evening up proceedings. Quick turnover ball on the half way line, released Johnny Hale to go over from just inside the half way, Swan converting. 14-26 with Tairua seeing out the game for a valuable away win.

Final Score: Tairua 26 – Paeroa 14

Mercury Bay V Waihou

Mercury Bay travelled down to Te Aroha to face the Waihou Senior A side at Boyd Park on Saturday. Both teams were on level points for the season and the Paul Herbert Memorial Trophy was up for grabs so this was always going to be a tough game.

Hayden Mulgrew opened the scoring by touching down for a fantastic backs try after 7 minutes and the conversion by Brendon McAskie gave Waihou a quick 7-0 lead. This was doubled a few minutes later when the seemingly ageless Craig Bedford capped off some brilliant linking play by scoring under the posts, the conversion made it 14-0 to Waihou and the home crowd was in full voice. 

Mercury Bay then closed the gap with a try in the corner to their fullback, which was converted to make it 14-7 to Waihou. Soon after the game was all tied up when the Bay fullback crossed for a double after a lovely, jinking run, which was duly converted. The game then lost a bit of structure for the next 10 minutes or so, with an increase in dropped ball and turnovers until the halftime whistle blew.

Mercury Bay started strongly after halftime and scored the next two tries to take a 14-26 lead after 50 minutes. Waihou then had a resurgence and played some enterprising rugby before the warrior Bedford capitalised on a period of sustained forward pressure to score his second try of the match. McAskie’s third conversion made it 21-26 to the visitors. The Waihou team had regained their self-belief and an entertaining 15 minutes of rugby followed. 

With 15 minutes remaining Mercury Bay put one hand on the Paul Herbert Trophy when they scored a converted try and even though the home side never gave up, a penalty kick 5 minutes later was enough to see Mercury Bay head back up north with a 36-21 victory.

Hauraki North V Cobras

It was a tale of two teams at Waitakaruru on Saturday in what looked like a role reversal game. Hauraki North came out and played like a team at the top of the table where as COBRAS looked like a team in the wrong league.

COBRAS playing with a reduced squad had the strong wind at their backs in the first half but with a number of injury replacements in the first 15 minutes of the game they couldn’t get any momentum going. North on the other hand stuck to their game plan, running hard and straight with lots of support play and lead deservingly at the break.

Going into the second half and only two points down COBRAS were still in the game but two more injuries meant they were down on frontline players with several players playing 150 minutes of rugby. Hauraki North completely dominated the second half using the wind well and capitalising on COBRAS mistakes. Matty Fisher controlled the game well for a 32 – 13 win. North look good and will be dangerous in the second round.

Final Score: Hauraki North 32 – COBRAS 13 

Waihi V Whangamata

Playing at home the Waihi Senior A’s took the field against a confident Whangamata side who were after their first win for the season and to also get hold of the coveted Ainsley Shield. Whangamata started the game strongly, quickly setting a strong platform up front, allowing their backs to take the early advantage. They scored three quick tries in the opening quarter to race out to a commanding 15-0 lead. To compound Waihi’s early troubles they lost two key forwards with both Jordan Crawford and debutant Mitchell Wilson carried off with bad knee injuries.

This seemed to put a steely resolve into the team with the Waihi team dominating the later stages of the half. They were rewarded for their efforts with half back Carlos Roberts dotting down to keep Waihi in touch at half time. The home team needed to start the second half well and did so with captain Reuben Meares leading the way scoring early to narrow the lead. Two further tries to centre Jerome Hill and fullback Brad Wilson pushed Waihi out to a 26-15 lead. Ill-discipline and a couple of yellow cards cost Waihi their momentum allowing Whangamata back into the game. 

With fifteen minutes left on the clock Whangamata took advantage of the extra man to score and close the gap to just four points and set up an exciting last quarter. Waihi held their nerve with try scoring machine Jerome Hill finishing the scoring with the try of the match beating several would be tacklers in a forty metre dash to the try line and give Waihi a deserved victory. 

Final Score: Waihi Athletic 33 – Whangamata 22

Thames V Coromandel

Coromandel travelled down the Thames Coast Road to take on Thames at Rhodes Park. From the kick off Thames started strong with a try to Ben Vincent in the opening minute of the game. The Home team then piled on the points in the 1st half with most of the try’s coming from the big Thames forward pack. The Coromandel defence improved throughout and hung in there, in a tough first half welcoming the break.

Coromandel came out strong in the second half and their big pack got going in a very rugged and physical encounter. The Coromandel side outscored Thames 19-10 in the second half, in a very gritty and determined second half performance. Thames had laid the platform for an impressive win in a first half scoring blitz that caught the visitors by surprise.

Final Score: Thames 41 Coromandel 17