Hard-fought win for roar­ing Lions

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

Photo: FIONA GOODALL

Winning ways: Mt Al­bert cap­tain Kelvin Wright, left, and Paul Fisi­iahi cel­e­brate their win in the Fox Memo­rial over Otahuhu on Satur­day.

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