Napier Old Boys Marist claim Spillane Cup title with win over Marist St Pat's
Napier's Old Boys Marist claimed the Spillane Cup title for the first time since 2007 after beating Wellington's Marist St Pat's 22-3 in the final in Palmerston North on Sunday.
Napier proved too clinical in the wet at the Arena as they ran out comfortable winners to pick up the title in the 86th running of the annual national Marist tournament.
Napier's Tom Bywater was awarded the Frank Oliver Hardman Trophy for player of the final as selected by family members of the late coach.
Earlier in the tournament, Napier edged hosts Palmerston North Old Boys Marist 30-24 in damp and muggy conditions to qualify for the final, while Marist St Pat's had a narrow 27-24 win over Hutt Old Boys Marist.
Sunday was not a day to remember for the Palmerston North sides.
The premier side lost 51-24 to Hutt Old Boys Marist to lose their spot in the top division of the tournament.
They will have to battle back from the Ham Cumming Cup next year.
While in the third division final, Palmerston North were hammered 54-8 by Hastings.
Christchurch's Marist Albion beat Hamilton Marist 29-5 in the final of this year's Ham Cumming Cup which means they will be promoted to the top flight of the tournament in 2018 and get to battle for the Spillane Cup.
Auckland Marist colts beat Hutt Old Boys Marist colts 48-17 to claim the Moran Cup.
Palmerston North Old Boys Marist's Phil Metcalf was pleased with the way the community came together to run the event.
"It shows that we have the infrastructure to host tournaments at the Arena Manawatu area," he said. "I think it is such a brilliant area that probably isn't properly utilised by other institutions around New Zealand."
He said there was a high quality of rugby on the fields, despite the wet conditions.
"The whole top eight teams were all close games on the Saturday which just shows the level of people wanting to climb the ladder to win the top trophy."
Metcalf said the growth of the women's game was also on show at the tournament.
"Marist's future is trying to promote women's rugby," he said. "The Palmerston North club doesn't have a women's team, but it shows that just because you don't have a team doesn't mean you can't help the situation."