Trophy winners rejoice
It’s history in the making – literally. Porirua College’s first XV have won the prestigious Beard Trophy for the first time in 31 years after defeating Mana College 15-5.
Mana was the temporary holder of the trophy, having beaten 2010 champions Bishop Viard College in the round’s first game in April.
Winners of the trophy write a match report in a book contained in the box-like trophy, which has become a historical document, detailing winning games back to 1968.
The trophy, contested between the Porirua basin’s high schools every year, began in 1964 as an annual match between Tawa and Mana colleges.
Porirua held it for much of the 1970s and 1980s, but since then only for a single week in 2005, when old boy and Crusaders’ Robbie Fruean led the Porirua side.
Winning it is the local equivalent to bringing home the Ranfurly Shield, says Porirua College sports co-ordinator Rachel Falemaka.
‘‘It’s a big deal here in Porirua,’’ she says. ‘‘Some parents were crying over it.’’
The Porirua Park grandstand was packed with supporters from both sides at the June 8 match.
The first try was scored early by Porirua vice-captain and second-five eighth Aukuso Tuitama, but most of the action was in the second half, with Porirua scoring a further converted try and a penalty.
Mana had opportunities to score, but Porirua’s defence was just too strong, Mrs Falemaka says.
They played with passion and mana according to their motto – ‘‘mind, heart, hand’’, says left wing Jotham Etimani. ‘‘It was a tough game. It was a good fight.’’ Working as a team was the magic ingredi- ent for Porirua, having bonded on an away game in Taupo. Next year’s first XV are already being coached by their elders to ensure the trophy stays at Porirua.
‘‘We’ve got to pass on what we learned to the next generation,’’ Mr Etimani says.
Captain and flanker Nucolm Baker is still buzzing from the win.
‘‘The feeling is like winning the Lotto,’’ he says.
Dream team: Teamwork brought the Beard Trophy back to Porirua College after 31 years, say first XV players Aukuso Tuitama, Nucolm Baker, Jotham Etimani, and Vonijiasi Danicaucau.