Town buzzing after Cromwell vic­tory


Cromwell is abuzz with ex­cite­ment after its premier rugby team pulled of an his­toric, come-frombe­hind vic­tory over Man­iototo in the fi­nal in Alexan­dra on Satur­day.

It was the first time since 1981 that Cromwell fin­ished as the best team in Cen­tral Otago.

Club pres­i­dent Ja­son Clark said the con­grat­u­la­tions from Cromwellians had not stopped since the fi­nal whis­tle.

‘‘It’s one of those un­real things,’’ Clark said.

‘‘Ev­ery­body’s talk­ing about it. It’s been amaz­ing.’’

Clark said it had been ‘‘a long time be­tween drinks’’ and felt the team had been build­ing well since its 125th an­niver­sary sea­son in 2013 when it fin­ished third.

Coaches Paul Tait and Matthew Lude­mann had the team fit and it paid div­i­dends in the fi­nal 10 min­utes of the game, he said.

Thoughts of win­ning back-to- back ti­tles next year had al­ready started.

‘‘We don’t lose many [play­ers from this sea­son],’’ Clark said. ‘‘They’re all young guys.’’ Lude­mann said the mood after the 21-18 win was ‘‘out­stand­ing’’ and his phone had not stopped ring­ing with peo­ple con­grat­u­lat­ing the team.

‘‘I’ve prob­a­bly never been more proud in my en­tire life,’’ he said.

Lude­mann felt it was a com­plete team per­for­mance, but the halves pair­ing of cap­tain Ben Maxwell and An­drew Grubb was key.

He also felt prop Kieran O’Sul­li­van and lock­ing broth­ers Cody and Travis Mitchell had stand­out per­for­mances.

Grubb scored the de­ci­sive try with five min­utes left to play when he found him­self in space and bumped off the cov­er­ing tackle on a 20m run to the line.

Re­place­ment prop Kelly Sadal scored Cromwell’s other try, while Maxwell added 11 points with the boot.

Man­iototo made most of the play in the first half and took an 11-6 lead into half­time.

Points for the Man­iototo side came by way of two Char­lie Hore tries and from the boot of full­back Quintin Smith.

Man­iototo has now lost two finals in two years, los­ing to Alex- an­dra last sea­son.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Man­iototo, how­ever, with the White Horse Cup locked safely away for an­other sea­son.

Cromwell plays Clutha in the coun­try­wide fi­nal at Bal­clutha on Satur­day, fol­low­ing Clutha’s 24-20 win over Lawrence in the South­ern re­gion fi­nal.

Cromwell Rugby Club pres­i­dent Ja­son Clark Cromwell play­ers cel­e­brate fol­low­ing their 21-18 win over Man­iototo in the Cen­tral Otago fi­nal on Satur­day.

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