Long wait ends for Renwick rugby side
Renwick are officially winners of the first round of Marlborough sub union division one rugby.
However, the Green Machine were forced to wait for several days after the final round of games for confirmation that they had got their hands on the Pat Hannan Shield.
The situation became complicated when Harlequins were unable to field a team to play Renwick on Monday. The match was initially defaulted by the Quins, handing Renwick five competition points and a 50-0 scoreline, which considerably boosted their position on the table.
When Moutere overturned the unbeaten Waitohi side at Awarua Park on Monday that left them tied at the top of the Marlborough points standings with Renwick, on 19 competition points each.
* Final round
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As Renwick had won the match between the two sides, 19-15 the previous Thursday, and had a superior points differential, they were entitled to claim the first round title.
However, there was provision in the Tasman Rugby Union rules, agreed to be all clubs last year, that a game defaulted over Easter could be played on Anzac Day if both parties agreed, meaning the result of the battle for the first round trophy could be decided on the paddock.
After discussion with both Harlequins and Renwick, the Tasman RU decided on Wednesday that "there was no possibility of re-scheduling the defaulted game ... therefore the first round trophy, based on the points table and the Tasman Union rule book, is won by Renwick".
Their early-season success overturns a long period without any senior grade silverware for the Renwick Domain-based club who celebrated their centenary in May, 2015.
Their premiers went winless throughout the 2014 and 2015 seasons but showed signs of a mini-revival in 2016 with several notable results, including wins over highly-rated Nelson side Waimea Old Boys and Central, who went on to win the Marlborough title.
This season they have upped the ante and have been beaten only once, by Waitohi. They will head into this weekend's first round of cross-over matches against Nelson opposition with plenty of well-earned confidence, but well aware that this is only the start of a long, testing campaign.
Club stalwart Robert Harrison-Jones, the side's forwards coach, said winning the trophy had provided a massive boost.
"It's huge for the club. The boys have put a lot of effort in over the last couple of years building towards this.
"It's a result of all the effort the committee has put in, the sponsors, the supporters and everyone who has stayed with us.
"Three years ago the club embarked on a three-year plan to get us back to a competitive team and the boys have done it. There has been a big change in the club's culture."