Two drawn matches out of five show the intensity of the rugby competition as the end of the season approaches.
All Waiheke teams are doing well, particularly the Under-11s and Under-9s, who are playing a grade up this season and facing bigger, more experienced boys.
Under-12s - 17 Marist St Peters 5
With only 16 players, the Waiheke side had backs playing as forwards and vice-versa and had a hard time putting away a determined Marist St Peters team.
However, the Waiheke boys pulled together well and the first half was a see-saw affair with both teams attacking and defending well.
The Waiheke forwards had a slight edge with Jackson Page and Carlos Heta making numerous inroads into the opposition half and defending superbly.
Some hard running by Tommy Beale had Waiheke hot on attack but unfortunately the Waiheke team knocked the ball on. From the ensuing scrum with good defence and pressure being put on Marist, Jackson charged down their clearing kick to score the first try and it was 5-0 at halftime.
In the second half the Waiheke forwards took more control with some great work from Harry Numans, Jack Breen, Liam Gilligan and, with his best game of the season, Oliver Jacomb.
Marist tried to get back into the game but were always on the back foot because of some great defence in the backs by Mitchell Griffith and Inez Harris who put in some very physical tackles.
After a period of good interchange of forwards and backs, Pounamu Kitto crashed over in the corner for a great team try.
From the kick-off, the boys went to sleep and some soft tackling let Marist in for a good try. From then on Waiheke had the better field position which earned them a five-metre scrum after they were held up over the try line. From the following scrum, Jackson Page, playing at No 8, went down the blind side and ran over the unfortunate wing and scored a well-deserved second try in the corner.
To put the icing on the cake, Tommy Beale converted from wide out. For the next 10 minutes both teams battled hard but there was no further score.
Tackler of the day went to Tommy Beale for some great covering tackles, coach's choice went to halfback Milo Inglis, who had a strong game. Player of the day could not be separated and it was awarded to Jackson Page and Carlos Heta for their great work rate.
Congratulations to the boys who showed a lot of pride in their jersey and came away with a hard-fought win.
- James O'Malley
Under-11 Sharks 0 University 34
This seemed like it would be the Sharks' biggest test in this grade.
The size of the opposition appeared to be an age older again compared to previous opponents. Watching University kickers practice was like looking at Dan Carter - big long kicks with great height and distance sailing over the posts. Anyway the boys still fronted up and did their best.
The kick-off was long and deep into Sharks' territory. The boys showed a bit of early nerves and turned the ball over in the ruck. This put them under enormous goal-line pressure in the first minute.
To their credit they defended stoutly and held out University for about five minutes. They eventually cracked and University scored midway between the posts and the corner. The kicker converted with ease with a kick even our best kicker would not have got anywhere near.
From the restart University made a break down the right side flank. Sharks' loose forwards were working well tackling players as the ball was spun along the line. The opposition was very adept at off-loading in the tackle. The raid ended about five metres out from the try line in the right-hand corner. The ball was knocked on and the resulting scrum saw Max Lowe try to kick out of trouble.
He didn't achieve much distance but caught University going backwards and they knocked on to give a scrum to Waiheke outside their quarter.
The backline managed to get the ball right along the line to the wing but heavy defence saw it turned over and not enough cover saw University over again.
With pure weight of possession and territory, University crossed twice more both out wide, only landing one conversion. Frustration boiled over for a University forward who came out of a ruck swinging punches at Cory. Then, unseen by the ref, lifted a knee as well. Both players were sin-binned for fighting. Halftime University 24 Sharks 0.
Sheamus McMahon left the field at halftime with a suspected AC joint injury after a heavy tackle and stomp over just before halftime.
The second half was much like last week with the Sharks enjoying a lot more possession and territory. They could not crack the University defence though. After a turnover near the Uni line the ball was spun wide past a compressed Waiheke defensive line. This led to a length of the field try down the left flank, the runner just evading two cover defenders. Then with the move about to be covered, two quick inside passes saw a try scored with three Sharks hanging off the try scorer.
Well done to all the boys for putting in and chasing the length of the field. One more try was let in at the 45-minute mark, another wide effort. This came from a missed tackle allowing Uni to cross in the corner.
Three players were awarded player of the day. The three loose forwards who dominated their bigger opponents and totally frustrated their pack with strong defence and cover defence were Cory Cormack, Jackson Karena and Chace Harris.
As stated, a much bigger opposition the boys should be hugely proud of their effort - well done boys.
- Leon Fredrichberg
Under-9 Sharks 15 Pakuranga Manuka 15
The Sharks had another vastly improved match.
Zach Judkins had a great game with the ball in hand, his passing and running coupled with his defensive attitude saw him best on field for Waiheke.
India worked hard in the forwards, ripping the ball, tackling and gaining good metres down field. Teammates Ash Cumingwood and James Merrilees also stepped up, Ash with his textbook tackling and support play and James with his ball security and numerous runs with the ball.
Rhythm Lewis was the best tackler on the field, round the boot laces is the best way to bring down the big timber and Rhythm demonstrated this with ease - good work.
Leroy Lewis and Geraint Vincent had great running games also, Geraint with a great individual try, taking the ball from the kick-off and running the length of the field to score.
Nico had a couple of attempts at the line and made a great bustling run to score a fine try, Leroy also found the line after two close encounters in the corner.
Player of the day was Zach Judkins. Coach's choices were India Bhana, Ash Cumingwood, and James Merrilees. Tackler of the day was Rhythm Lewis.
Tries scored by Geraint Vincent, Leroy Lewis and Nico Chambers.
The Sharks play Pakuranga Kauri at Lloyd Elsmore next weekend.
- Tim Callaghan
Under-7 Roosters 8 Carlton Green 8
Waiheke clashed once again with Carlton. It was another nail-biting game with balanced possession.
Both sides fought hard for their tries which showed in the low scoring game. At one point Waiheke forced a turnover metres from the Carlton try line. But Carlton stepped up the defence and we made no ground at all.
At halftime Waiheke was up by one but Carlton worked hard to pull up their try count in the second half.
Player of the day went to triple try scorer Alex Jacomb. Coach's choice was Adam Andrews for two tries and awesome tackling. Also Rory Broughton who streaked across the field for an awesome runaway try. Tackler of the day was Sam Potter. He is ready for tackle rugby next year.
- Sandra Twidle
Under-6 Pirates 8 Mt Wellington 14
It's that stage of the season when sickness takes its toll on junior rugby but even with a full complement we probably would not have beaten a much bigger and faster Mt Wellington side.
That being said it was another credible effort by Waiheke who refused to roll over and kept going right to the final whistle, once again displaying this very attractive brand of rugby which has been so praised by opposition coaches throughout the season.
In the absence of several of our strong runners, Eden Mead stepped up in style, producing a barnstorming first half display that was good enough to win him player of the day.
Luke Potter continues to run and tackle with verve and skill and was again tackler of the day, as well as crossing the line on his own account more than once.
Miles Rae is another who is making a late season dash for honours, growing into a support role for the bigger lads, and he had a fine game, as did Tom Flay who continued his remarkable run of getting on the score sheet in every game this season.
Lucas Unverricht barrelled over for a great try from close range to nab himself a coach's choice award, as did Oliver Baverstock, Leo Crawford and Tom Hickey.
Mention must also go to Rich Potter who stepped into the breach and gave another fine display after Mt Wellington forgot to provide a referee.
No-one associated with the Pirates - players, coaches or parents - enjoys defeat but it was still a spirited effort and you can't win 'em all. The boys gave it their best shot and you can't ask more than that.
- Jerry Flay
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