Hard-fought win for roaring Lions
Tense is one way of describing Mt Albert Lions coach Brent Gemmell’s mood during the dying moments of the Fox Memorial league final.
With just four minutes left on the clock the Lions needed a converted try to overcome a larger Otahuhu side on Saturday.
But a try to halfback Angus Cameron and conversion from Steve Buckingham secured a hardfought 24-22 victory at Mt Smart.
“It was incredibly close. Otahuhu didn’t fade as much as I thought they would, but as long as we got field position I was confident we could get the points,” Gemmell says.
“Cameron did the majority of it by himself by bursting through the line. It made everyone pretty happy,”
Gemmell says his smaller players, including hooker Regan Wigg, utility Kelvin Wright, left wing Patrick Hunt and Cameron took the pressure off the tiring forward pack.
“It was one of those games where Otahuhu are quite big and strong and we had to tough it out.
“Our little guys got into it and grabbed some easy metres.”
He says winning the competition, which they last claimed in 2006, fulfils the major goal they set at the start of the season.
“Right at the start of the year we put it on the line at a pre-season camp in Hamilton that the only way we would be successful was to win the Fox Memorial,” Gemmell says.
Club chairman Bill Werry says a victory in the premier reserve grade on top of the Fox win is an outstanding achievement for the club.
The Richmond Bulldogs also had a successful weekend, winning the second-tier Sharman Cup against Manurewa 44-22.
“It could have been a lot more to be honest. We played our best game of the season,” Richmond cocoach John Teina says.
Richmond led 26-0 at halftime, but let in several tries in the final minutes.
Teina describes the win as a “step in the right direction” and hopes his side can replicate the form in the Fox competition next season.
Winning ways: Mt Albert captain Kelvin Wright, left, and Paul Fisiiahi celebrate their win in the Fox Memorial over Otahuhu on Saturday.