Boys' High triumph against Christ's

Supporters brave snow, sleet, wind

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 18:32 28/05/2013
Daniel Tobin

Christchurch Boys' High School and Christ's College battled the elements and each other during their annual rugby match.

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JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON Zoom
MAUL: The on-field action continues as the sleet blows through.

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Bitter winds battered the stands and chilling downpours of rain soaked the grounds, but the crowd kept on cheering.

Christ's College and Christchurch Boys' High School (CBHS) met in wintry conditions for their annual rugby clash this afternoon.

Hundreds of people crowded into Rugby Park to see the traditional inter-school match despite the miserable weather.

Proud parents, ex-pupils wrapped in their former school's colours, and school girls cheering on their boyfriends were among those who braved the weather to see the match.

The annual game has in the past been the site of numerous arrests, with inter school rivalries getting out of hand.

This year, a team of 15 police officers was taking no chances - breath-testing everyone on their way into the match.

One policeman, a former school teacher, quizzed the younger members of the crowd as he took their breath alcohol level.

Many looked startled by the puzzling questions, but no-one was over the limit.

As the game kicked off at 2.45pm, students from each side gave a roar.

The boys were kept in separate areas from their rivals but chanted songs and hurled taunts at each other through-out the match.

Christ's College student Charlie Dyer, 13, said CBHS had been trying to distract their goal kicker with chants.

''They're pretty noisy but we don't care. They can chant but it's all about the score at the end of the day.''

Christ's started strong, scoring two penalty kicks, but CBHS soon took back the lead with a converted try.

The rain turned to hail and the wind picked up, creating a passionate but very cold crowd.

People huddled under blankets, blowing on their hands while others hugged pottles of hot chips in futile attempts to keep warm. The players on the bench, were soaked and shivering for most of the 80 minutes.

Simon MacFarlane, 47, cheered on his son Tom MacFarlane ferociously from the side-line.

''It's a fantastic match despite cold. We'd come out and support in any weather.''

Teenagers Tessa Prentis, Kerry Marshall and Lucy McPherson were at the game to support their boyfriends and friends in the Christ's College team.

''It's pretty chilly but not as bad as we thought it would be. It's worth being cold to see them play,'' Prentis said.

The heavy rain and hail eased off in the second half, with a hint of sunshine making an attempt to peak through the clouds.

But the bitter cold and the close score kept most people shifting restlessly in their seats until the very end of the match.

There were cries of despair as the Christ's College goal kicker missed two late penalty goal attempts that could have secured the win.

CBHS won the game for the 13th year in a row, with 7 points to Christ's 6.

CBHS students Harry Ewing, 13, Ben Smith, 14, and Tom Noonan, 13, said it had been an ''amazing game''.

''They played really well despite the cold conditions and they took some big hits,'' Noonan said.

Ewing said it was ''pretty cool'' to win for the 13th year in a row.

As the match ended, the students were shepherded out different gates and onto waiting buses.

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Police senior sergeant Gordon Spite, who headed the operation, said it was a good natured, well-behaved crowd. ''From a police point of view the match went off without a hitch.'

Result: CBHS 7 (Steven Misa try, Myles Thoroughgood conv), Christ's College 6 (Damian McKenzie 2 pen). HT: 7-6.

- The Press

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