Swindale Shield: Poneke facing relegation
A late Brandyn Laursen penalty enabled Hutt Old Boys Marist to beat Poneke 18-15 and cement their position at the top of the Swindale Shield standings.
Poneke now sit 10th after eight rounds, and are staring down the barrel of having to play Hardham Cup rugby for the first time in many years. Elsewhere, there were wins for Oriental-Rongotai, Tawa, Upper Hutt and Marist St Pats, while Petone and Old Boys-University drew 18-18.
ORIES 22 NORTHS 16
Oriental-Rongotai 22 (Simon Tevita 2, Afa Fa'atau tries; Sean Hay 2 con, pen) Northern United 16 (Alapati Leiua, Kose Tuimavave tries; Perry Hayman 2 pen). HT: 6-3.
Best and fairest: 3 points: Alapati Leiua, Northern centre; 2 points: Simon Tevita, Ories fullback; 1 point: Sean Hay, Ories halfback.
What happened: This game started slowly for both sides, with Northern dominating territory in the first half. Norths pushed hard for a try but couldn't crack the defence of a determined Ories forward pack. Ories picked up steam in the second half, scoring two tries in the first 10 minutes, before Norths replied with a spectacular try from halfway by Alapati Leiua. Ories' Simon Tevita then scored his second try of the half to give his side some breathing room.
The big play: In the 42nd minute Ories' spry halfback, Sean Hay, whipped the ball out from a messy breakdown on the halfway line and ran it up the paddock towards Norths' tryline. The ball was shifted wide, where a waiting Tevita scored the first of his tries.
Star turn: Northern centre Alapati Leiua dominated the backline with spectacular speed, scoring a try of his own and setting up a second for Kose Tuimavave. His own try was a 60-metre dash, in which he easily outpaced the Ories' backs. Julian Lee
TAWA 56 RIMUTAKA 0
Tawa 56 (Steven So'oialo 3, Luke Harvey 2, Taniela Koroi, Tolu Fahamokioa, Etulae Togia tries; Randall Bishop 8 con) Rimutaka 0. HT: 35-0
Best and fairest: 3 points: Steven So'oialo, Tawa halfback; 2 points: Stephen Sasagi, Tawa No8; 1 point: Randall Bishop, Tawa fullback.
What happened: Tawa's resurgence continued at Lyndhurst Park at the expense of hapless Rimutaka. Playing with a strong breeze at their backs, Tawa camped in Rimutaka's 22 and scored five tries before the break. Fullback Randall Bishop ensured a blow-out, kicking eight from eight with the boot.
The big play: A two-try burst just before halftime closed out any Rimutaka hopes. The second of these had Tawa supporters on their feet. Centre Jeff Makapelu nabbed a turnover at the breakdown and held his feet through three tackle attempts to deliver a ball to wing Luke Harvey, who also showed great strength to dot down in the corner.
Star turn: Tawa welcomed back halfback Steven So'oialo and he delivered for the hosts, controlling the game and grabbing a hat-trick to boot. Two of the halfback's tries were scythes from the scrum base. His third was a stroll under the posts, putting the finishing touch on a length-of-the-field attack. Chris Hyde
MSP 21 WAINUI 16
Marist St Pats 21 (Peter Sciascia, Tevita Ah Wong tries; Andrew Wells con, 2 pen, Peter Sciascia dg) Wainuiomata 16 (Teru Time, Shahn Eru tries; Frae Wilson 2 con). HT: 3-11.
Best and fairest: 3 points: Peter Sciascia, MSP halfback; 2 points: Shahn Eru, Wainui lock; 1 point: Isaia Petelo, MSP second five-eighth.
What happened: MSP kept the ball in the forwards to dominate the opening 10 minutes. Wainuiomata, however, looked to play a more expansive game and were rewarded with the opening try to wing Teru Time. Two penalties to Wainui and one to MSP were the only other points of the first half. Wainui lock Shahn Eru was outstanding, stealing a number of MSP lineouts and started the second-half scoring with a 50-metre solo try. Wing Falelima Siinei also stood out for Wainui. MSP halfback Peter Sciascia was impressive with an elusive run to score, which was followed by No8 Tevita Ah Wong breaking off a scrum to score. Both tries were converted by fullback Andrew Wells.
The big play: In the 65th minute, Frae Wilson had a brain explosion, taking a quick tap directly in front, which MSP turned over. Sciascia then kicked a drop goal to take a 16-18 lead.
Star turn: Sciascia was outstanding; his distribution was sharp and he made a lot of ground running from the breakdown and in support. Shane Kempson
OBU 18 PETONE 18
Old Boys University 18 (Te Wehi Wright, Beau Brown tries; Seminar Manu 2 pen, con) Petone 18 (Nick Grigg, Mateaki Kafatolu tries; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2 pen, con). HT: 8-13
Best and fairest: 3 points: Nick Grigg, Petone wing; 2 points: Thomas Fleming, OBU lock; 1 point: Mateaki Kafatolu, Petone flanker.
What happened: Petone led 13-8 at the break, after a fairly even first half. OBU then scored two tries in quick succession, to Te Wehi Wright and Beau Brown, but a try for Petone in the dying minutes ensured the match finished in a draw.
The big play: The last five minutes saw Petone fight to get back in the lead. A huge pass from Daniel Kirkpatrick put Nick Grigg in the clear, before he offloaded to tryscorer Mateaki Kafatolu.
Star turn: Nick Grigg was the stand-out player of the game. He made several line breaks and fought off a string of defenders to score Petone's first try and set up their second. Ashleigh Stewart
UPPER HUTT 32 WESTS 13
Upper Hutt 32 (George Faingaa, Nick Pearson, Apa Heemi, Chris Gorrie tries; Jason Woodward 3 con, 2 pen) Wests 13 (Mika Rabukatoka try; Andrew Newson con, 2 pen). HT: 25-3
Best and fairest: 3 points: Brook Cowan, Upper Hutt blindside; 2 points: George Faingaa, Upper Hutt centre; 1 point: Kouichi Sugimoto, Wests lock.
What happened: The game started well for Upper Hutt when wing Nick Pearson's grubber kick popped up to centre George Faingaa, who dived over to score. Discipline cost Wests and when No8 Nemani Waja was sin-binned after a high tackle, they were trailing 25-0. The game's fourth yellow card, to Upper Hutt hooker Anaru Rangi, saw Wests score through wing Mika Rabukatoka, but Upper Hutt put the game beyond doubt with a try to No8 Chris Gorrie.
The big play: After Waja's yellow card, Upper Hutt scored a good forward's try, through prop Apa Heemi.
Star turn: Upper Hutt centre George Faingaa ran hard at the Wests defence, breaking tackles and providing momentum. Hamish McNicol
HOBM 18 PONEKE 15
Hutt Old Boys Marist 18 (Parataiso Silafai-Leaanaa, Taleta Tupuola, Glen Walters tries; Brandyn Laursen pen) Poneke 15 (Brad Faulkner, Galu Taufale tries; Chris Thomson con, pen). HT: 15-10.
Best and fairest: 3 points: Nick Risdon, HOBM halfback; 2 Points: Brad Faulkner, Poneke halfback; 1 point: Deon Carney, HOBM flanker.
What happened: Hutt Old Boys Marist took the opportunities handed to them by Poneke to win a game which was decided by a last-minute penalty. The first try, by Taleta Tupuola, was a glimpse of the potential of the HOBM back three, as they scored from a Poneke turnover inside their own half. Poneke halfback Brad Faulkner relieved the pressure on his team by charging down a clearing kick, grubbering the ball through to score in the corner. The game was locked up at 15-all when Galu Taufale scored in the corner for Poneke. But Poneke conceded a penalty 40 metres out, which Brandyn Laursen kicked to win the match.
The big play: The second-half kicking of Nick Risdon, Glen Walters and Kahu Tamatea was a big reason why HOBM won.
Star turn: Special mention to flanker Deon Carney, who was always close to the action and a key member of HOBM's strong pack. Florence Masoe
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