Nail-biter elim­i­nates Thames Val­ley

Hauraki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT -

Poverty Bay claimed a nail bit­ing one-point vic­tory over Thames Val­ley at Boyd Park, to deny the hosts a place in the Lo­chore Cup semi fi­nals for 2017.

In the fi­nal round robin game of the Mitre 10 Heart­land Cham­pi­onship, the vis­i­tors threw cau­tion to the wind af­ter find­ing them­selves 17 points to nil, down af­ter quar­ter of an hour, against a ram­pant Thames Val­ley des­per­ate to reach the semi fi­nals for the first time in four years.

Thames Val­ley needed to win to clinch a play­off spot and made the per­fect start to a must-win game. Thames Val­ley five eighth, Chris Doak, kicked a penalty af­ter five min­utes and winger, Harry Lafi­tu­a­nai scored the open­ing try three min­utes later.

Doak con­verted and the home side poured on the pres­sure, lead­ing to a try by Josh Law af­ter quar­ter of an hour. Doak con­verted to in­crease the lead but Poverty Bay took the ini­tia­tive from the restart and clawed their way back into the game with some breath-tak­ing rugby that led to three con­verted tries and a 21-17 lead just be­fore the break.

The Val­ley for­wards stepped up and put lock Aaron Car­roll over for a con­verted try right on 40 min­utes and took a 24-21 lead into the sheds at half time.

Val­ley dom­i­nated the third quar­ter but wasted a two on one over­lap with dan­ger man Lafi­tu­a­nai un­marked and a short run to the try line beg­ging to be taken.

This let off seem to in­spire the vis­i­tors and they scored two con­verted tries in quick suc­ces­sion to build a com­mand­ing 35-24 lead. Car­roll replied for Thames Val­ley with his sec­ond try for the day but the con­ver­sion was astray.

With the clock wind­ing down Poverty Bay were flag­ging and co cap­tain Shaun Hill led by ex­am­ple to score a try and get the home side within a point of the vis­i­tors.

The con­ver­sion at­tempt missed and in spite of their ef­forts the Thames Val­ley team could not add to their points tally in the re­main­ing min­utes and Poverty Bay won an epic en­counter 35-34.

Both teams fin­ished on the same num­ber of points and un­der the com­pe­ti­tion rules in this sit­u­a­tion the team that won the round robin game is deemed to fin­ish higher on the points table thus en­abling Poverty Bay to qual­ify for the Lo­chore Cup semi fi­nals and elim­i­nat­ing Thames Val­ley from the com­pe­ti­tion for 2017.

The Thames Val­ley Roller Mills team com­peted in the an­nual tour­na­ment that was held at St Peters Col­lege in Cam­bridge last week with one pool game played a week prior to the Cam­bridge event. Re­sults: Lost to Bay of Plenty 132-0, lost to Taranaki 47-10, lost to Auck­land West 107-0, lost North Har­bour 67-0, lost to King Country 19-15.

This brings an end to the rep­re­sen­ta­tive sea­son for all grades in Thames Val­ley rugby for 2017 with prize giv­ing held last night and next week.

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