Swamp­foxes kick off 2017 with win

Piako Post - - SPORT - HEART­LAND RUGBY

The Thames Val­ley rugby team be­gan their Heart­land Cham­pi­onship cam­paign with a com­fort­able 42-13 vic­tory over East Coast at Ru­a­to­ria on Satur­day.

In scor­ing six tries to one, the Swamp­foxes were re­warded with a bonus point but their over­all per­for­mance showed that there is plenty of room for im­prove­ment.

A stop-start game suited East Coast and their spoil­ing tac­tics pre­vented the Val­ley from de­vel­op­ing a co­he­sive pat­tern of play.

How­ever man-for-man, Thames Val­ley was su­pe­rior to their op­po­nents. In par­tic­u­lar Co­bras winger, Ty­rone Keith scored an ex­cel­lent try and al­ways looked dan­ger­ous with the ball in hand.

Co-captain, Shaun Hill from Hau­raki North, fea­tured strongly in the mid­field and he too scored a try.

Boosted by the in­clu­sion of Alex Bradley at No.8, the for­ward pack looked far stronger than in re­cent years and will be­come an even more ef­fec­tive unit as com­bi­na­tions de­velop.

Bradley was well sup­ported in the loose by Ir­ish im­port, Rory Moloney and ori­gin player Brett Ranga while Aaron Car­roll from the Bay of Plenty was the stand out tight for­ward.

Be­sides Keith and Hill, Hay­den Wis­newski, Alex Bradley, Jar­rod Bayliss and Mat Hart scored tries.

Chris Doak kicked two penal­ties and two con­ver­sions with Jar­rod Goodall adding one con­ver­sion. The half time score was 30-13. Thames Val­ley now play Wan­ganui at Paeroa this Satur­day.

This will be a ma­jor test for the Swamp­foxes as Wan­ganui has won the Meads Cup on six oc­ca­sions.

How­ever the team will not be lack­ing sup­port as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all play­ers’ fam­i­lies have been es­pe­cially in­vited.

Also in at­ten­dance will be mem­bers of the 1962 Thames Val- ley team which de­feated Aus­tralia.

They will be cel­e­brat­ing the 55th An­niver­sary of this ma­jor achievement.

Sadly Kevin Barry and Ron Kerby have passed away since the 50th an­niver­sary but there are 11 sur­viv­ing play­ers who will be in at­ten­dance with mem­bers of their fam­i­lies.

They are: Terry Shaw, Ray Wells, Trevor Kilpin, Bill Walsh, Alan Wi­likin­son, Maru Rangi, Doug Mold, Jim Dar­rah, Gary Hig­gins, Jim Maxwell and Andy Townsend. Their coach Norm McMil­lan, now aged 93 will also be present.

KERRY MAR­SHALL/GETTY IMAGES

Thames Val­ley player Shaun Hill passes dur­ing the match.

KERRY MAR­SHALL/GETTY IMAGES

Thames Val­ley play­ers cel­e­brate a try.

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