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.