Heartland Championship Round 6
Thames Valley v, Horowhenua Kapiti
Thames Valley overcame a pesky Horowhenua Kapiti team to record a 28-11 victory in their Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship match played at Levin. A superbly prepared pitch looked perfect for running rugby but a tight tussle ensued and there were few opportunities for Valley’s speedy outside backs. Both forward packs were evenly matched and defended with vigour and determination. Te Huia Kutia was right in the thick of things for Thames Valley and he was named as the Swamp Foxes player of the day.
Each side opened the scoring with two penalty goals apiece and the scores were deadlocked until the thirty fifth minute. At this stage Thames Valley were camped on the Horowhenua-Kapiti line. First Todd Doolan and then Ben Bonnar nearly touched down before a third phase saw Sam van de Valk score in a handy position. Doolin converted and half time followed with the score at Thames Valley 13 Horowhenua -Kapiti 6.
Six minutes into the second half Sione Vakapuna Etoni crashed through and set Doolin up for a crucial try which he failed to convert. At 18-6 the situation was looking more comfortable for the Swamp Foxes. However, with their “never say die” attitude, the local boys fought back and had a long period with a territorial advantage. They were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Darren Falaniko scored for Horowhenua in the corner. Doolin’s defending tackle was ruled high – he received a yellow card and had to sit out the next ten minutes in the sin bin. Falaniko’s try was not converted but with a man down and the score closing up to 18-11 the pressure was on Thames Valley.
The team rallied and more than held their own for the rest of the game. Telly Hemopo took over the goal kicking and gained three points from a long range penalty goal which bounced over after hitting one of the uprights. Then in the final minute Valley strung several phases together and Cameron Dromgool finished the movement with his second try in two weeks. Doolin was back on hand to convert the try and make the final score, Thames Valley 28 Horowhenua- Kapiti 11.
Thames Valley can now look forward to two home games at Te Aroha – King Country next Saturday and then Whanganui.
Thames Valley 28 (Sam van der Valk, Todd Doolan, Cameron Dromgood tries; Doolan 2 con, 2 pen; Telly Hemopo pen ). HT: 6-13