Brave Timaru Boys go down fighting
Timaru Boys' High School's brave effort against Otago in their traditional 1st XV match fell short when they beaten 17-9 yesterday.
Otago were the bigger and superior side but TBHS hung tough and almost pulled off a miracle try to tie the match with just a few minutes left at Alpine Energy Stadium.
Second five-eighth Josh Westland charged down an attempted clearance and dived on the ball.
Westland brought it under control but was unlucky to find Otago's only defender had managed to get his foot between the ball and the ground.
A try would have tied the score 14-all with the kick to come.
Otago, however, made the most of their escape and landed a late penalty to move further away.
The visitors started brightly when scoring after six minutes through first five-eighth Sam Ellis, who then converted his own try.
Otago then dominated possession and territory but TBHS led 9-7 at half time, courtesy of three Josh Dick penalties.
The visitors continued to dominate territory and possession but thanks to a solid scrum and good defence could not break TBHS down.
Otago looked like scoring after fullback Sean Connor won a 50-50 bouncing ball and went 50m but the interchange of passes near the tryline was intercepted by Timaru wing Kronfeld Latu.
The visitors went close again after charging down a clearing kick but the officials ruled the ball had gone over the dead-ball line.
Otago finally got over after some good build-up phases when lock Josh Dickson forced his way over and Ellis converted for a 14-9 lead.
Westland then almost pulled off the miracle try but it was not to be.
In the bigger Otago pack, No8 Alex Fitzgerald played well, while the backs pulled off some ferocious but fair tackles to keep TBHS at bay.
Ellis was polished at 10 while centre Sio Tomkinson also impressed.
TBHS's was a gallant effort and their defence worked tirelessly.
Upfront, Graison Dale played well while No8 Sukhwinder Singh-Bolina made some strong runs.
Blindside flanker William Todd got some good lineout ball and also defended well.
Captain and halfback Tom Shelker rallied his pack and directed play well, while understudy George Lott, who was a halftime substitute, also impressed around the fringes.
First five-eighth Josh Dick tried to direct play but often was forced to kick, while Westland and centre Cain Tweedie Cunningham defended well, as did fullback Levi McCoy.
Both McCoy and Dick also got a couple of crucial turnovers in the tackle to keep Otago at bay.
TBHS will, however, need to work on their backline attacking skills if they wish to punch above their weight.
The Timaru Herald