Young play­ers do town proud

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By VICKY MOR­RIS­SEY

Mata­mata rugby play­ers showed a lot of heart in this year’s Bow­ers Cup to come away with a place in the top three.

Bow­ers Cup is a tour­na­ment held each year for rep­re­sen­ta­tive play­ers aged 10 to 12 years that are un­der 45kgs.

It is played be­tween Mata­mata, Mor­rinsville, Cam­bridge, Hamil­ton (two teams), Te Awa­mutu and Toko­roa/Pu­taruru.

Af­ter a cou­ple of train­ing runs and a suc­cess­ful trial game against Mor­rinsville, which Mata­mata won 76-0, a squad of 22 was se­lected.

The first week­end saw Mata­mata host­ing the seven teams at Bed­ford Park.

Af­ter a bye in the morn­ing, the Mata­mata boys were ea­ger to get out on the field and get play­ing.

It was ev­i­dent from the start that the light­est team in the tour­na­ment had big hearts and showed some true grit against the big­ger Tri­tons team to win 26-7.

Then it was on to a mid-week game away un­der lights against Cam­bridge.

The coaches had cer­tainly done their home­work, opt­ing to play the game up front, putting the Mata­mata for­ward pack to work and keep­ing the larger Cam­bridge back­line from any chance to domi- nate.

A mighty ef­fort from the for­wards and some gutsy tack­ling from the some­what smaller back­line saw Mata­mata win the game 27-0.

Back to Cam­bridge on a Sun­day, with the two tough­est teams to play, Hamil­ton Gold in the morn­ing and Hamil­ton Black in the af­ter­noon.

The Mata­mata boys had to dig deep know­ing th­ese teams had been putting 50 to 90 points be­tween them and their pre­vi­ous op­po­nents.

An ab­so­lute high­light of the tour­na­ment was the de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­silience Mata­mata showed for the full 50 min­utes of both games.

The backs tack­led all day and the for­wards con­tested the ball re­lent­lessly.

Ev­ery player that took the field played with 100 per cent ef­fort.

Un­for­tu­nately Mata­mata recorded two losses, but the scores of 26-15 and 22-10 were cer­tainly the clos­est any team got to th­ese two sides in the whole tour­na­ment. The fi­nal Sun­day in Mor­rinsville saw Mata­mata play­ing Mor­rinsville, who were back for re­venge.

A much-im­proved side re­ally took it to Mata­mata and had ob­vi­ously done their home­work, shut­ting down the strong run­ners and spread­ing the ball from one side of the field to the other, along with some very tac­ti­cal kick­ing.

A nail-bit­ing 7-0 win to Mata­mata meant the next game against Te Awa­mutu was a play­off for third place.

A very phys­i­cal bat­tle, with a bit of off the ball treat­ment, fired the boys up but had them a lit­tle rat­tled.

But once again the go-for­ward ball the Mata­mata for­ward pack pro­vided their backs, and the per­sis­tent tack­ling from the whole team re­sulted in a well de­served 12-5 win. Over­all, a very pleas­ing third place – a re­mark­able achieve­ment for this small team with great spirit and big hearts.

All of this was made pos­si­ble by the en­thu­si­as­tic, ef­fi­cient and very pas­sion­ate coach­ing team of Neil Tyler and Mal­colm Sankey, along with their equally pas­sion­ate man­ager Bob Dal­ley.

The boys rep­re­sented mata with pride.

Mata-

Team with heart: Back from left: Man­ager B Dal­ley, coach N Tyler, J Che­vis, R Pratt, R Black­stock, C Stoner, G Sa­muels, O Assen, K John­ston and coach MSankey. Mid­dle from left: J Re­ich­muth, O Mor­ris­sey, R Con­ning, F Hunt, S Sankey, D O’Sul­li­van and C Shaul­ders. Front from left: K Pertab, L Web­ber, J Ruck, C Mor­gan, cap­tain Cam Cress­well, Cody Cress­well, L Herewini and T Muri­wai.

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