Putaruru pushed by Matamata but win
The Putaruru side coming off a huge win last weekend against Leamington knew that Matamata away from home was going to be a tough ask.
Putaruru had the early momentum in the game and managed to convert early pressure into points when a wellworked backline move from set phase came off, leaving GaryJack Gibb one-on-one.
It was a no-contest as he strolled under the uprights for the first points of the game.
Matamata got back possession after an infringement by a Putaruru player, Putaruru were hard on defence only for a ball to be turned over.
Putaruru pride themselves on counterattack play and this quick ball led to a break-out down the left touch line by Stephen Mulholland. Beautiful inter-passing to Mark Watkins then to ranging lock Ricki Baigent saw Wiki Double dot down in the corner, an amazing try which went the full length and width of the paddock. This stretched the Putaruru lead to 14-0.
Mark Watkins, usually present in the mid- field of the Putaruru backline, was shifted one spot out to the wing. This change was to be inspired as his high work rate, searching runs and linking play with fullback Jimmy Ensore were second to none, as comments from the sideline indicated it was the best some had seen him play.
A penalty close on halftime saw Putaruru go to the break 17-0 ahead. The second half saw a reinvigorated Matamata side whose possession and physical ball- carrying took its toll on Putaruru. A lapse in defence saw Matamata get in for a wellearned try.
The Putaruru game plan was to gain field position and turn that into points. Super boot Brad Karl stepped up numerous times in the heat of the moment (in a man-of-the-match performance) and land pressure kick after pressure kick. Special mention must go to Tom White, the Senior A captain, who had the presence of mind to take the points when they were on offer and had full faith in his young charge at first five to land them.
Leading 20-7, the Putaruru side wanted to put the game to bed, but Matamata, who fielded recent Waikato and Chiefs player Alex Bradley, had other ideas.
Matamata regrouped and got their hands on the pill after a sloppy kick receive, and marched up the field through their big men. The Matamata game plan was to use their superior size in the forwards, and it worked after a good forward effort close to the line saw the Putaruru tryline breached. The last 15 minutes was going to be a cliffhanger, at 20-14.
Jimmy Ensore was again ever dangerous with ball in hand, and almost singlehandedly put the game out of Matamata’s reach with a beautiful run down the right hand touchline, only for the off-load to be dropped over the line by a forward who will remain nameless!
Heading into the last 10 minutes, defence was the hallmark of both sides. The Putaruru Side had tackling machines GJ Gibb and Alex Graham whose hits literally took the air out of the opposition, and Tomo Scheres.
A good steal late in the game turned the possession to Putaruru, and an ensuing penalty saw the last points deservedly go to a Putaruru side whose superior fitness, passion and game plan undid a good Matamata side.
The Putaruru side of 2013 are a young squad with a good amount of experience mixed in. Get down to the club to watch your boys represent your town when you can.
Putaruru are extremely proud of two boys in their senior A team, Gary-Jack Gibb and Hamish Neil, in making Waikato under-20s.