Swindale Shield: May 24, 2014

Old Boys storm ahead in Swindale Shield

Last updated 23:30 24/05/2014
Swindale Shield OBU
KENT BLECHYNDEN/FAIRFAX NZ
FIST PUMP: Wes Goosen, Tewehi Wright and Teariki Ben-Nicholas celebrate the Old Boys University win over Tawa.

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OLD BOYS UNIVERSITY 18 TAWA 16

Old Boys University 18 (Wes Goosen, Tim Smith, Greg Mullany tries; Mullany penalty) beat Tawa 16 (Lotu Nuku try; James So'oialo 3 pen, con). HT: Tawa 13-5

Best and Fairest:  3 points: No. 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas (OBU No. 8), 2 points: Greg Mullany (OBU replacement first five-eighth), 1 point: Lotu Nuku (Tawa hooker)

What happened: On Old Boys University's Old Timers' Day, replacement first five-eighth Greg Mullany was his side's hero at the end in a committed team performance. With OBU trailing 10-16, he scored a try out wide to cut the deficit to a point. He then slotted the winning penalty with the final play of the match to inflict a second successive loss on Tawa and put their Swindale Shield defence on shaky ground.

For Tawa, they were left to rue lapses in both handling and concentration, and poor discipline, which ultimately cost them the match.

Playing into the stiff wind in the second half, Tawa had seemingly done enough to hold the fired up OBU at bay. First five-eighth James S'oialo had kicked his third penalty with 15 minutes to play and their hard running direct forwards were hitting their straps.

So'oialo had kicked Tawa's previous points on the stroke of halftime, but OBU had scored two classy tries either side of this, both off set-piece ball. Wing Tim Smith latched on to a long Seminar Manu pass for the first of these tries and centre Wes Goosen darted over for the second. With the wind, Tawa had scored their only try, through hooker Lotu Nuku.

Who stood out: Old Boys University No 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas made several rampaging runs and backed those up with a strong game in close quarters. The Kennedy brothers, former Hurricane Ross and Ian, playing in his 100th game, were both massive for OBU in the trenches. Light on his feet, centre Wes Goosen plays like Conrad Smith circa 2002. The battle between hookers Lotu Nuku (Tawa) and Zeke Sopoaga (OBU) was a highlight, as was that between prop Jonathon Fuimaono (OBU) and his opposite Tolu Fahamokioa (Tawa).

The upshot: Tawa to play MSP next week in a 'virtual' Swindale Shield final and OBU to Wainuiomata at William Jones Park in what could yet transpire to be a battle for survival to make the top eight.

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- Steven White

HUTT OLD BOYS MARIST 13 WAINUIOMATA 16

HOBM 13 (Tomasi Alosio try. Sheridan Rangihuna 1 con 2 pens) Wainuiomata 16 (Greg Lealofi, Ben Tupuola tries. Tyler Tane 1 pen, Josh Robertson-Weepu 1 pen). HT: 0-8. Yellow card: Bevan Clarke (Wainui lock) 43rd.

Best and fairest: 3 points: Ben Tupuola (Wainui number 8), 2 points: Marvin Karawana (Wainui 2nd); 1 point: Greg Lealofi (Wainui flanker)

Venue: Hutt Recreation Ground 

What happened: With time up on the clock, Wainui's final kick to touch was nearly their downfall. Just inside their 22 the ball went straight up, fell to the ground and bounced into the in-goal, ending with players from both teams diving and claiming the touch-down. After discussions with visiting Canterbury touch judge Chelsea Gurr, referee Richard Gordon ruled Wainui grounded first and blew fulltime, giving them the win. 

With a northerly hammering down the pristine Hutt Rec, both teams attempted and struggled to get the ball wide early. However, as the match wore on they resorted to a confrontational ball-in-hand battle. Wainui, with the wind at their backs, took an 8-0 lead into the break through a try to openside flanker Greg Lealofi and a Tyler Tane penalty.

Hutt made better use of the wind early in the second half but only capitalised through two Sheridan Rangihuna penalties and a try after a beautiful Parataiso Silafai-Leaana chip kick into the in-goal which was pounced on by fullback Tomasi Alosio centimetres from the dead ball line. Wainui's powerhouse number 8 Ben Tupuola was outstanding and powered over off the back of a five-metre scrum to register their second try of the match. 

With the scores tied for the last 15 minutes and both sides hammering each other, the cool head of Wainui's young outside back Josh Robertson-Weepu stepped up to kick a tricky penalty into, and across the northerly, for the win.

Who stood out: Everyone. Apart from the few wind-affected errors it was a good old fashioned battle. Both teams would take a lot of positives from the game. Special mention must go the unknown midnight raider that painted the Hutt Rec cross bars with Green and Black stripes to get the HOBM supporters fired up for the game.

The upshot: Wainui stay in third place and will be pushing hard against OBU to secure a Top 4 placing. HOBM are just outside the bottom four and will be hoping for other results to go their way as they battle Johnsonville next week.

- Shane Kempson

MARIST ST PATS 32 WELLINGTON 5

Marist St Pats 32 (Isaia Petelo 2, Nick Harrison, Cardiff Vaega tries; Fa'atonu Fili 3 cons, 2 pen) Wellington 5 (Tony Smith try). HT 10-5. Yellow card: Tevita Falekakala (50').

Best and Fairest: 3 points: Isaac O'Connor (MSP flanker), 2 points: Nick Butterworth (Wellington halfback), Fa'atonu Fili (MSP first five-eighth).

Venue: Hataitai Park.

What happened: Marist St Pats did what they needed to in beating the Wellington Axeman in tough conditions. Their 
bonus-point victory sets up a virtual Swindale Shield grand final next weekend versus Tawa. 

The Axemen, with the wind in the first half, were sharp early and when Tony Smith picked up a loose ball and scampered 60 metres to score after 20 minutes, the Old Timers' Day crowd sniffed a boilover. But MSP composed themselves, got some territory, and a try just before halftime had them narrowly ahead.

In the second half, MSP used the wind cleverly, and two quick tries within 10 minutes put the result beyond doubt. Cardiff Vaega's try after 65 minutes secured maximum points and finished the scoring.

Who stood out: MSP flanker Isaac O'Connor was all over the field and thrived in the difficult conditions. Fa'atonu Fili showed his experience in the second half, pinning the Axemen in their own 22, while early replacement Isaia Petelo took his two tries well. For the Axemen, halfback Nick Butterworth stood out behind a beaten pack and try scorer Smith looked dangerous whenever he touched the ball.

The upshot: It's all set up for MSP with their match versus Tawa destined to be a winner-takes-all classic. The Axemen will rue not converting chances in the first half but showed they have some line breaking ability if they get better playing conditions. 

Next up: MSP v Tawa at Kilbirnie Park and Wellington v Hutt Old Boys Marist at Hutt Rec. 

- Warwick Small

NORTHS 32 PONEKE FC 30

Norths 32 (Api Naikatini 2, Rolagi Lalaga, Clint Dysart, Luka Gibb tries; Perry Hayman 2 con 1 pen) Poneke FC 30 (Aresmin Schaumkell, Joe Fiu, Faresa Tasele tries; Pakai Turia 3 con 3 pen). HT: 24-20 to Norths. Yellow card: Api Naikatini (Norths lock) 64'.

Best and Fairest: 3 pts: Api Naikatini (Norths lock), 2 pts: Nathan Iro (Poneke no 8), 1 pt: Perry Hayman (Norths centre), Pakai Turia (Poneke 1st five-eighth).

What happened: Northern United earned maximum points in their two-point win against Poneke. However, the win doesn't yet enable them to leapfrog OBU and stay in the hunt for a Jubilee Cup berth.

Norths took 35 minutes to earn their bonus-point try; however, it took the full 80 minutes to secure the win.  The boys from Porirua can credit their success to their returning representative player Api Naikatini - whose first appearance in this years competition didn't disappoint. Scoring a brace of tries and causing defensive headaches as he ran amok across the park; he lost momentum only after being sin-binned for a professional foul 16 minutes from full time.  

The boys in red and black will feel hard done by with the winning try being awarded under a sea of bodies. However, Poneke will need to focus on the positives in that their newcomers Pakai Turia, Aresmin Schaumkell and Faresa Tasele, who all qualify to play in the Colts division, held their own at Premier level. 

Who stood out: Api Naikatini was reminiscent of a former Norths alumni, inspiring his team to rise another level. Nathan Iro for Poneke stood out in defence against his former club and denied a most certain try before half time to keep Poneke in the chase.  

The upshot: Norths must win with maximum points against the Rams, need Wainuiomata to win against OBU and deny them a bonus point to earn a spot in the top 8. Poneke will travel out to Porirua Park to face Oriental-Rongotai and will be hoping that Ories' Canes players won't be released to supplement their already strong squad. 

- Florence Masoe

UPPER HUTT RAMS 41 JOHNSONVILLE 10

Upper Hutt Rams 41 (Tries: Liam Berry, Jamie Norman, Max Pearson 2, Mathew Luamanu, Joyner Key Conversions: Liam Berry 4/6, Penalties: Liam Berry 1/1) Johnsonville 10 (Tries: Ryan Selkirk, Josh McIntyre). HT: 20-5 Upper Hutt Rams.

Best and Fairest: Liam Berry (UH first five) 3 points, Jamie Norman (UH lock) 2 points, Jack Taulapapa (J'ville halfback) 1 point

Venue: Maidstone Park

What happened: Upper Hutt stood strong in the blustery wind and rain to come away with a 41-10 win over Johnsonville. The Rams took control of the game as soon as the first try was scored by their first five. They played to the conditions, keeping the ball among the forwards and when they did go wide, they showed great handling of the wet ball.

Johnsonville, with the wind at their backs, didn't use this to their advantage, kicking the ball dead twice. J'ville finally showed some patience, keeping the ball in the forwards, which led to their first try.

The home side hit back straight away scoring one more try just before halftime.

Upper Hutt got straight back into their work in the second half, scoring 3 more tries. Jordan Simpson-Heft used the wind well for the Rams, gaining massive metres with some of his kicks into touch. Johnsonville seemed to do the hard yards and get down to the 22 but then crucial mistakes kept them from getting themselves back into the game.

J'ville fans finally got something to cheer about when they got another try five minutes before the end of play.

Who stood out: Liam Berry (Upper Hutt) made some great runs, scoring and setting up tries, and his kicking was good in the conditions. Jamie Norman (Upper Hutt) made strong runs, worked tirelessly off the ball and was strong in defence. Jack Taulapapa (J'ville) played to the final whistle, making quick darts off the back of the ruck and fed his backs good ball, and led his forward pack well. Max Pearsons (Upper Hutt) scored two tries, showing great handling and finishing skills.

The upshot: Upper Hutt come away with a thumping win and stay mid table, Johnsonville remain in the bottom 3 with only one win for the season.

- Zac Ringrose

PETONE 23 ORIENTAL-RONGOTAI 12

PETONE 23 (Ta'amilo Vaa, Adrian Barone tries, Carne Green 1 con, 3 pen, Jared Kahu 1 con) ORIENTAL RONGOTAI 12 (Johnny Gbender-Charles, Tripoli Ofisa tries, James Proctor con). HT 16-5 Petone.

Best and fairest: 3 points: Jacob Gooch  (PETONE flanker), 2 points: Josh Hrstich  (Petone No8), 1 point: James Proctor (Ories 1st five).

Venue: Petone Recreation Ground, Petone.

What happened: Better use of the conditions saw Petone take out this mid-table match-up. The home side applied all the pressure in the early stages of the match for Carne Green to kick two penalties.

Ories eventually fired into action in the 14th minute when James Proctor made a break, which led to a Johnny Gbender-Charles try. Petone extended their lead shortly after with Green kicking a penalty then converting a Ta'amilo Vaa try.

The visitors never made use of the strong wind in a second half that was played almost entirely between both twenty two's. The Villagers' defensive line was tenacious and very solid.

The scoring in the second half was limited to a converted try apiece both coming late in the day. 

Who stood out: The Petone loose forward trio of Jacob Gooch, Josh Hrstich and Mateaki Kafatolu were outstanding, complementing their tight five that played to the conditions perfectly.

Halfback Carn Green's goal kicking was faultless in the first half, while his halftime replacement Jared Kahu added real spark to the Petone effort.

James Proctor and Paulo Akuso always looked dangerous for the visitors while Hunter Prescott and Steve Fa'atau toiled in the tight.

The up-shot: Petone have secured a Jubilee Cup spot and retained the Bill Brien Challenge Cup, Mathematically Ories still need to win next week to make certain of a top eight spot but it is unlikely they will miss out. Next up: Petone v Johnsonville-Helston Park, Ories v Poneke-Polo Grounds.

- Doug Smith

- The Dominion Post

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