Topsy-turvy sea­son for Porirua clubs


So close, yet so far, for two of the pre­mier rugby sides in the Porirua basin this club rugby sea­son.

Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton and North­ern United’s top sides had con­trast­ing for­tunes in the Swin­dale Shield.

The for­mer reg­is­tered one win and 12 losses in its sec­ond tilt at the top flight - al­though the win, over John­sonville, was its first in the Swin­dale Shield since 1987 - while Norths had a seven-win, sixloss record that saw them miss out on a Jubilee Cup spot by an ag­o­nis­ing two points.

Norths en­dured an in­cred­i­ble start, win­ning five of their first six games, but then lost five of seven to drop to the Hardham Cup.

The last day of the Swin­dale Shield, June 4, saw them lose 26-13 to Tawa, al­low­ing their neigh­bours to sneak into the Jubilee Cup, which they went on to win.

Norths coach Ger­rard Fasavalu said his first sea­son in charge had more highs than lows, es­pe­cially as the club made big in­roads to re­con­nect with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It de­pends whether you mea­sure suc­cess as win­ning on the field, or whether it’s about de­vel­op­ing young men and en­gag­ing more with our Porirua base,’’ he said. ‘‘We got pride and the sup­port­ers back to Norths. Yes, we got into the wrong mind­set and the mid­dle and back end of our sea­son wasn’t flash [on the field], but there’s a good foun­da­tion we’ll build on for 2017.’’

Fasavalu was hope­ful the sec­ond year of his three-year plan would see more con­sis­tent re­sults and a place in the Jubilee Cup next sea­son.

Down the road at Ngati­toa Do­main, fel­low first-year head coach Ja­van Brown was philo­soph­i­cal about Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton’s sea­son.

His team joined Norths in the Hardham Cup semi­fi­nals, dip­ping out to even­tual win­ners Hutt Old Boys Marist.

Along with the first Swin­dale win, Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton beat Avalon, OBU sec­onds, John­sonville and Marist St Pat’s sec­onds in the Hardham Cup.

Brown said it was a ‘‘step­ping stone’’ year for his side.

‘‘We can’t be too up­set with how we ended the sea­son,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a launch­ing pad for next year and we want to have play­ers re­al­is­ing their po­ten­tial.’’

North­ern United hooker Ethan Robin­son-Mate in ac­tion for North­ern United, who had an up-and-down sea­son.

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