Tough lessons for Pare Plim
Paremata Plimmerton’s first season of premier rugby finished as it started – with a heavy loss – but coach Dave Birnie says the difference between round 1 and round 11 was there for all to see.
‘‘ A loss hurts. It always does,’’ he said of the 62- 6 scoreline against Johnsonville at Helston Park on Saturday. ‘‘ But our guys have been exposed to premier rugby and have improved out of sight. They’re thinking like rugby players and this team is not out of place at premier level.
‘‘ Talking to guys at Wainuiomata and Tawa, years ago they started like we have, and look at them now.’’
The loss to Johnsonville meant Paremata Plimmerton finished bottom of the Swindale Shield standings, with one point from 11 matches.
They scored 126 points and conceded 599, but Birnie said there were bright moments, especially for long periods against Marist St Pat’s and Wainuiomata, when his charges footed it with the big boys.
He said the support from the community had been amazing.
‘‘ You could not wish for better supporters.
‘‘ They’ve been happy we have used the same players from last year and promoted guys from the reserves.
‘‘ We have an incredibly strong junior club. How good has it been for them to see this level of rugby at Ngatitoa Domain? We were never going to get better unless we took that step up, and we’re better for it.’’
Kewa and Tane McMillanParata, Blake Neve and Ryan McLean had been the stalwarts, Birnie said, and
colts and had helped bring in the new blood.
His team would push hard in the Hardham Cup, he said, now knowing what it took.
Tawa, meanwhile, dropped from second to fourth in the Swindale Shield standings after a 45- 14 thrashing by Petone. Norths edged Avalon 33-31 at Fraser Park, but will join Paremata Plimmerton in the Hardham Cup after finishing 11th.
Tawa’s second team were presented with the premier reserve Harper Lock Shield after beating Petone 25-12, and they will join Petone’s second team in the Hardham Cup.
Tawa’s James So’oialo topped the Swindale Shield points scoring with 148 points.
Northern United’s women’s side beat Avalon 39-0 to stay top of the heap, and Tawa thrashed Johnsonville 104-5.
Paremata Plimmerton halfback Kaitiaki Toi prepares to spin the ball against Johnsonville.