Young players do town proud
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.
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.