PNBHS run old foes ragged
Armageddon could take place and the Palmerston North Boys' High School 1st XV would still rejoice after their Polson Banner win yesterday.
In the 111th playing of the fixture, Boys' High decisively beat Napier Boys' High School 27-11 at Napier, scoring four tries to one. They also went close to three more.
It also put Boys' High into the Super 8 final against Hamilton Boys' High School on Saturday, August 9.
The Polson Banner is a blue-and-white banner presented by Napier principal AS Polson in 1907. Results are sewn on and go back to the first clash in 1904. Boys' High have now won 64, lost 42 (including the past two years) and drawn five.
Boys' High shot to 20-0 after 18 minutes, then to 27-6, capitalising on territory, patience and Taare Ferris and Shadyn Osgood finding holes out wide. The forwards dominated, strong at the breakdowns and securing turnovers, notably Sky TV's man of the match, No 8 Hayden Spencer, Brayden Iose in the lineouts and flanker James Kellow.
Big man Fabien Kiri came on and had a blinder with massive runs, one of which in the 51st minute set up the fourth and bonus-point try, enough to deny Gisborne BHS a Super 8 final berth. It was length-of-the-field stuff, Napier scoring off a turnover; they missed 22 tackles and made 22 handling errors.
"It's everything for us," said coach Blair van Stipriaan. "It's something we have built up for all year, and there is so much history and tradition behind us. It was season-defining."
Things got tough, though, after losing Spencer with a shoulder injury and halfback Lee Thomson after 10 minutes with a knee injury. Second XV halfback Ben Kenny came on and excelled.
Next Tuesday they host Francis Douglas Memorial College in a round 2 national knockout game.
PNBHS 27 (Josh Greer, James Kellow, Ben Werthmuller, Taare Ferris, tries; Taylor Transom 2 con, pen) Napier BHS 11 (Caleb Makene try, 2 pen) HT 20-3. Seconds XVs: PNBHS 43 Napier 15.