Waikanae end Para­pa­raumu’s run

Kapiti Observer - - SPORT - ADAM POULOPOULOS

‘‘They re­ally wanted it, and they got it.’’

Para­pa­raumu’s stran­gle­hold on Horowhenua-Kapiti rugby is over, af­ter their ri­vals from up the road wres­tled the sil­ver­ware off them.

Waikanae took their first Horowhenua-Kapiti premier rugby ti­tle since 2009 with an 11-6 win over Para­pa­raumu in Satur­day’s fi­nal.

It ended Para­pa­raumu’s 1820-day grip on the Rams­bot­tom Cup. A win would have given them a sixth straight ti­tle.

In a con­test dom­i­nated by two ex­cel­lent de­fences, Waikanae re­place­ment winger Lin­coln Ti­mo­teo scored the only try of the match to gave his side their first lead, 8-6, with about 10 min­utes left.

First-five-eighth Ethan Reti kicked a penalty to put Waikanae up by five, and they held off a late Para­pa­raumu salvo to take the ti­tle.

Coach Simon Fi­field said cel­e­bra­tions started af­ter the match in the Waikanae clu­b­rooms.

‘‘It went pretty late into the night. We started cel­e­brat­ing again about 11 the next morn­ing. We haven’t had mas­sive num­bers af­ter games, but ev­ery­one was there on Satur­day night.’’

The first half passed ‘‘re­ally quickly’’ for Fi­field, with nei­ther side look­ing like scor­ing a try.

Ti­mo­teo’s try sparked ex­cited cel­e­bra­tions on the Waikanae bench, and they held on.

‘‘I think it meant so much to the guys to dom­i­nate the last 10 min­utes,’’ Fi­field said. ’’They re­ally wanted it, and they got it.’’

Some in the club were re­lieved the eight-year drought had been bro­ken.

‘‘They won­dered if we were go­ing to get there. I’m still very stoked and proud of what the boys achieved. It’s been a long time be­tween drinks ... to knock the Para­pa­raumu boys off is fan­tas­tic for the club.’’

Para­pa­raumu player-coach Garry Phelps said los­ing a fi­nal was al­ways a bit­ter pill to swal­low, but there was ‘‘bug­ger all in it’’.

‘‘The boys re­sponded well to the un­for­tu­nate way it hap­pened. It was tight, and the game could’ve gone ei­ther way.

‘‘The game was in the bal­ance right un­til the end ... we just left our run too late.

‘‘It’s never good to lose one but we need to cel­e­brate the ef­fort the boys made to get there.’’

The fo­cus now shifts to the H-K rep sea­son. Three Para­pa­raumu play­ers and seven Waikanae play­ers have been picked in coach Chris Wil­ton’s ini­tial Heart­land Cham­pi­onship squad.

Para­pa­raumu lock Ryan Shelford has been named cap­tain.

The sea­son proper be­gins when H-K face North Otago at home on Au­gust 26.

PHOTO: WAL’S RUGBY PHO­TOS

Waikanae’s Gavin Le­vave surges up­field dur­ing his side’s 11-6 grand fi­nal win over Para­pa­raumu.

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