Heartbreaking loss for Tawa
The normally rowdy supporters of Tawa’s premier rugby team were very quiet come the final whistle at Kilbirnie Park on Saturday.
The defending Swindale Shield champions lost their grip on the shield when they went down 28-21 to Marist St Pat’s in the competition decider.
Tawa had chances, particularly in the dying moments, to snatch a draw and retain the shield. They pummelled MSP’s line, but could not cross in the face of staunch defence from the home side.
It was Tawa’s third successive loss to end their Swindale campaign.
They would lick their wounds and enter the Jubilee Cup with even more relish and enthusiasm, coach Logan Ili said.
The match, played in bright sunshine, was worthy of a decider for the first-round trophy.
MSP looked the more likely from the outset. Tawa’s backline did not fire a shot in the opening half, though the precise goalkicking of James So’oialo kept the game close.
It was 25-9 to MSP 10 minutes into the second spell, but a brilliant forwards try by Tawa and another to fullback Randall Bishop in the corner closed it to 25-21.
MSP pulled further clear with a penalty, but No 8 Pago Haini was red carded with 18 minutes left for stomping Tawa prop Tolu Fahamokioa.
There was scrambling MSP defence and crucial errors by Tawa in a frenetic last quarter. Tawa No 8 Sam Blair stretched to dot down but was adjudged to have made a double movement.
Elsewhere, there was celebration at the ParemataPlimmerton clubrooms after their 45- 10 demolition of OrientalRongotai’s second team meant they remained in fourth spot in the Harper Lock Shield standings.
They scored three converted tries and led 21-15 at halftime before skipping clear to have the match wrapped up with 15 minutes remaining. There were some outstanding tries and Blake Neve clocked up 25 points.
Paremata-Plimmerton will join Avalon, Old Boys- University seconds and MSP seconds in the Hardham Cup.
Club officials from ParemataPlimmerton said at the start of the season that was their goal as they eyed an expanded premier club competition in 2015.
Northern United will be in the Hardham Cup for the second year running. On Saturday, they went down to Upper Hutt 27- 25 at Porirua Park to remain in ninth, one spot below the Jubilee Cup qualifiers.
It was a great match to watch on Old Timers Day at Norths.
The home side led 20-12 after 50 minutes, but Upper Hutt secured the victory with late penalties.
In the first round of Jubilee Cup play this Saturday, Tawa will meet Oriental- Rongotai at Lyndhurst Park. The Hardham Cup and other second- round draws will be released this week.
Hit coming: MSP’s Sefo Setefano about to run into Tawa No 8 Sam Blair, who was enormous on defence, during their Swindale Shield match at Kilbirnie Park.