Waimea win despite muddle
Any win for Waimea Old Boys this season is memorable.
They bagged only their second last night at Trafalgar Park with a 22-15 pool A victory over Accessman Stoke in round three of the Bayleys Tasman Cup interprovincial club rugby competition.
And with 15 minutes remaining, they even looked like sealing the win with a try-scoring bonus until prop Sam Prattley's final pass to centre-fullback James Lowe was ruled forward with Lowe haring for the line.
It typified a frustrating and muddling contest in many respects as Star and Garter Waimea in particular wasted a wealth of possession through indiscriminate handling lapses.
Their scrum was steady and reliable and lock Riki Hoeata won some useful lineout ball. But apart from their three well-executed tries, their own mishandling and Stoke's defensive urgency kept forcing errors at crucial moments.
Waimea's opening try was well-conceived, Lowe flicking a pass in traffic to Josh Rutledge midway through the first half to send the fullback in at the corner.
Stoke No8 Jarrod Aberhart put Stoke ahead 10-8 after 29 minutes when he barged over from a short arm penalty, leaving halfback Kaide Whiting to put Waimea ahead 15-10 at the break when he also scrambled across close to the line.
Lowe showed more of his individual attacking flair midway through the second half when he broke Stoke's line near halfway and outpaced the remaining defenders.
His missed opportunity just minutes later seemed to epitomise a night of squandered opportunities.
Waimea were still worth their win, even if Stoke No10 Chad Lowrie managed to narrow the deficit to 22-15 with five minutes remaining after flanker Tevita Koloamatangi had launched a counterattack from deep inside his own half.
Props Ropati Rimakama and Prattley and flanker Dan Hytongue were consistently busy in Waimea's forward effort, with Ray Packer, Mike Tyler and Steve Kerr assuming similar roles in Stoke's pack.
Meanwhile at Riwaka's Cooks Reserve, Galbraith Group Nelson kept their unbeaten record intact with an impressive 31-0 win over New World Huia.
Waitohi's 22-13 win over Moutere in their all-Blenheim clash at Awarua Park might have temporarily moved Waitohi to the top of pool A in the Tasman Trophy series, but Nelson's win has also now moved them a handy 12 points clear in the corresponding Nelson Bays championship race.
They ended the night with five tries, having led 12-0 at the break following first-half tries to No8 Jake Cooley and lock James Foster.
A dominant Nelson forward pack set up the win as fullback Robbie Malneek, second five-eighth Andrew Goodman and wing Mitchell Scott capitalised with second-half tries to seal a comprehensive win.
Foster was outstanding in his first full outing since returning from a lengthy injury break, cleaning out effectively at the breakdowns and adding plenty of aggression to the forward exchanges.
Flanker Shane Grieve was typically assertive and halfback Loui Harvey enjoyed the pack's consistent go-forward to keep his backs well supplied with ball.
Nelson constantly applied pressure and barely allowed Huia into the contest, Huia often struggling to clear the ball as Nelson's forwards maintained their relentless approach.
WOB 22 (Josh Rutledge, Kaide Whiting, James Lowe tries, Rutledge 2 cons, pen) Stoke 15 (Jarrod Aberhart, Chad Lowrie tries, Lowrie pen, con) Ht 15-10.
Nelson 31 (Jake Cooley, James Foster, Robbie Malneek, Andrew Goodman, Mitchell Scott tries, Goodman 2 cons, James Lash con) Huia 0. Ht 15-0.
Waitohi 22 (Tim Goodyer try, Daniel Hawkins con, 5 pen) Moutere 13 (Tom Halse try, con, 2 pen). Ht Waitohi 12-10.
The Nelson Mail