Marist dominate but UMS surprise at times
United Matamata Sports (Reid and Harrison/Waikato Stud) 20 Hamilton Marist 61
The penultimate round of the Waikato premier rugby competition saw UMS play away to Hamilton Marist at Marist Park in this round 17 fixture.
All week the coaches and captain Alex Bradley have focused on moving forward into the playoffs.
However, this particular game was about getting some pride back after the corresponding match in the first round.
With patterns and game plans being adhered to over past weeks, UMS had prepared well for this fixture.
With great underfoot conditions the game was played at speed. This took Marist by surprise initially and UMS had the better of the exchanges over the first 15 minutes and were rewarded with a penalty goal to first five Joey Ramsey in the early minutes.
This was stymied by the sin binning of outstanding lock Rupeni Vakacegu, who was one of the UMS players to make inroads regularly in to the Marist defence.
This allowed Marist an advantage and they took that advantage and put points on the board.
UMS on the 16th minute mark broke out from their own 22 and with skilful backing up and good hands, prop Sailosi Baleisolomone scored a great try which was converted by Ramsey.
Marist then lifted their game and began to secure more possession, resulting in points being scored. The halftime score was 10-26.
The halftime break advice from the coaches was for UMS to continue to have a go at the Marist team and put together scoring opportunities.
However, the issue that has hindered UMS all season was the inconsistencies of the official’s calls.
This was no more evident when two Marist players at different times were guilty of foul play in the tackle and rucks, which were worse transgressions than the UMS offence, but they were overlooked.
Marist were held to task by the UMS pack in the early stages of the second half but they weathered the hard hitting defence of UMS and scored two further tries.
On the 61st minute, lock Vakacegu had revenge on the Marist side and scored a great try, taking the score to 15-40.
Marist scored almost straight after, but UMS replied back with a well worked try to Ramsey.
The final stages of the match were a bit messy but UMS can take some pride in the way they played the game.
They took it to the Marist pack on occasions, which wasn’t enjoyed by the Marist supporters.
In the backs Sharman Emery played well and Bradley Stevens played his best game in the UMS jersey and was full of confidence. Ramsey was efficient at first five and Ryan Tuhakaraina had a solid game to back up his previous weeks performances at half back.
However, winger Luke Arnold was the pick of the backs and his toughness for someone in his first year out of college is exciting.
In the forwards all the pack played well. This was highlighted again by flanker Cawker and the Fijian pair of Baleisolomone and Vakacegu.
What the UMS team acknowledge is the positive support of the families, supporters and sponsors of this club. This has had a positive effect on the players and management through a trying season.
Each week they have been treated to some good rugby by UMS and this week’s fixture was certainly exciting.
Next week sees the last game of the round at home against Morrinsville Sports.
Tries: Baleisolomone, Vakacegu and Ramsey; Conversion/penalty: Ramsey