Meads Cup final proves a bridge too far
‘‘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.
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
Wanganui skipper Cole Baldwin lifts the Meads Cup after beating Horowhenua-Ka¯piti 30-14 in the final.