Medal to skip­per as East tri­umph

Hawke's Bay Today - - Sport - Wakely Shield Rugby

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

PHOTO / DUN­CAN BROWN

Un­beaten Hast­ings East cel­e­brate their Wakely Shield win at Taradale yes­ter­day — then it was pizza for all.

shane.hurn­dell@hbto­day.co.nz

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