Meads Cup fi­nal proves a bridge too far

Kapiti Observer - - SPORT - STU PIDDINGTON

‘‘For Horowhen­u­aKa¯piti, cap­tain Ryan Shelford im­pressed along with No 8 Tyson Maki.’’

The Butcher Boys’ leg­endary sta­tus in the Meads Cup con­tin­ued on Satur­day when they lifted their third ti­tle in suc­ces­sion.

Wan­ganui were too com­posed for first-time fi­nal­ists Horowhenua-Ka¯piti, win­ning 30-14 at the Levin Do­main.

Horowhenua-Ka¯piti just made too many mis­takes un­der pres­sure, while Wan­ganui de­served their vic­tory, scor­ing three tries to one.

Wan­ganui left wing Cameron Crow­ley, the 2008 Heart­land player of the year, turned back the clock with an out­stand­ing per­for­mance, de­liv­er­ing two tries and scor­ing one him­self.

Wan­ganui’s de­lighted cap­tain Cole Bald­win re­ceived the Meads Cup, named in hon­our of Sir Colin, from the leg­end’s brother Stan.

It was the sixth time Wan­ganui has lifted the Meads Cup since the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship was cre­ated in 2006, and they have only missed the grand fi­nal twice.

Wan­ganui had he­roes across the field from Bald­win up front to Nick Harding at the back.

For Horowhenua-Ka¯piti, cap­tain Ryan Shelford im­pressed along with No 8 Tyson Maki.

Af­ter a sloppy open­ing from both sides Wan­ganui were first on the board with a try to cen­tre Kaveni Dabenaise fol­low­ing a set move from a scrum.

First five James So’oialo gave Horowhenua-Ka¯piti a cou­ple of half chances through clever kicks, but the home side could not fin­ish off their op­por­tu­ni­ties as the er­rors mounted against them.

How­ever, a great run from Horowhenua-Ka¯piti full­back An­drew McDougall sparked his side, and shortly af­ter­wards So’oialo landed a penalty to close the gap to 7-3 af­ter 34 min­utes.

The teams traded penal­ties, with So’oialo adding his third to make it 13-9 in the sec­ond half, but that was as close as Horowhen­u­aKa¯piti got.

Wan­ganui struck straight back as sub­sti­tute wing Samu Kubuna­vanua scored with his first touch of the ball. Harding’s side­line con­ver­sion gave the vis­i­tors a 20-9 ad­van­tage, with 20 min­utes re­main­ing.

Crow­ley then sealed it for Wan­ganui when he scored af­ter some ex­cel­lent play from first five Dane Whale and Dabenaise sent him away.

Horowhenua-Ka¯piti sup­port­ers had some­thing to cheer about when big sec­ond five Kalim Kelemete found some space and sent McDougall away to score.

But Whale had the last word for Wan­ganui with a well taken drop goal with three min­utes left.

Wan­ganui 30

At a glance:

(Kaveni Dabenaise, Samu Kubuna­vanua, Cameron Crow­ley tries, Craig Clare 2 pen, con, Nick Harding 2 con, Dane Whale drop goal) Horowhenua Kapiti 14 (An­drew Mc Dougall try, James So’oialo 3 pen) 10-3

HT: More pho­tos, page 15

HA­GEN HOP­KINS

Wan­ganui skip­per Cole Bald­win lifts the Meads Cup af­ter beat­ing Horowhenua-Ka¯piti 30-14 in the fi­nal.

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