Medal to skipper as East triumph
Hastings East captain and halfback Conor Gallagher was on a mission at the Wakely Shield rugby tournament which finished in Taradale yesterday.
“After finishing second last year I wanted to help the team win the shield this year,” the Hastings Intermediate School Year 8 student said.
Gallagher not only ticked that goal off at the 15th edition of the annual under-50kg tournament, which is played to honour Taradale matriarch Adele Wakely’s 50-plus years contribution to the code, he also won the Josh Kronfeld Medal for the player-of-the-tournament.
“I was proud of myself and the team. I knew we had a chance in the final if we played like we did in our semifinal when we beat Napier West 41-10. We managed to do that.”
A first-year Tamatea 12th grader, Gallagher has played rugby since the fifth grade and played at the Havelock North club before linking with Tamatea. He will begin secondary school studies at St John’s College next year.
He was one of six Hastings East players named in the tournament team.
“I think the whole team deserves a celebration dinner now,” Gallagher added before they headed off to the Havelock North club for a barbecue-pizza meal.
Unbeaten favourites Progressive Meats Hastings East pipped NZ Home Loans Napier East 20-17 in the final. Jubilant winning coach Dan Gallagher described the match as “a great final, full of typical finals rugby”.
His troops led 10-5 at halftime and lost lock Jonah Cooper 20 minutes into the second half with a suspected broken foot.
“We had no real superstars today . . . it was just a really good team effort, particularly on defence,” Gallagher said.
Hastings East led for the entire match. Second five-eighth David Herd scored two tries and winger Tiongo Itintarawa the other. Gallagher kicked a conversion and penalty.
The match had to be transferred to another field when in-form Napier East winger Preston Watson collected a double fracture of the wrist while making a trysaving tackle five minutes before halftime. He was taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospital by ambulance.
Napier East captain and openside flanker Cramer Hannen
Unbeaten Hastings East celebrate their Wakely Shield win at Taradale yesterday — then it was pizza for all.