Wanganui claim hat-trick of Meads Cup titles
Wanganui’s legendary status in the Meads Cup continued yesterday when they lifted their third title in succession.
They were too composed for first-time finalists Horowhenua Kapiti, winning 30-14 at Levin.
Horowhenua Kapiti made too many mistakes under pressure, while Wanganui deserved their victory, scoring three tries to one.
Wanganui left wing Cameron Crowley, the 2008 Heartland player of the year, turned back the clock with an outstanding performance, delivering two tries and scoring one himself.
Wanganui captain Cole Baldwin received the Meads Cup, named in honour of Sir Colin, from the legend’s brother Stan.
It is the sixth time Wanganui have lifted the Meads Cup since the Heartland Championship was created in 2006.
Wanganui had heroes across the field from Baldwin up front to Nick Harding at the back.
No 8 Bryn Hudson had a strong game, halfback Lindsay Horrocks was all class, while first-five Dane Whale and second-five Craig Clare combined superbly. For Horowhenua Kapiti, captain Ryan Shelford impressed along with No 8 Tyson Maki.
After a sloppy opening from both sides Wanganui were first on the board with a set move from a scrum. An inside pass from Clare found Crowley who bust open Horowhenua Kapiti and centre Kaveni Dabenaise scored, with Clare adding the extras.
Clare then missed penalty shots as the errors mounted against the home side. Another penalty saw Wanganui switch kickers but fullback Harding also missed from 45m.
Horowhenua Kapiti fullback Andrew McDougall then made a great run from the back sparking his side, and shortly afterwards James So’oialo landed a penalty to close the gap to 7-3.
Almost immediately Wanganui restored their advantage with Clare landing a handy offside penalty.
Clare then extended the Butcher Boys’ lead immediately after the break to 13-3 with his second penalty.
So’oialo then closed the gap again with a penalty as Horowhenua Kapiti started to show some more intensity.
The hosts then packed down an excellent scrum and won a penalty against the feed, and So’oialo added his third penalty to make it 13-9.
Wanganui struck straight back with Crowley busting Horowhenua Kapiti open and substitute wing Samu Kubunavanua scoring with his first touch of the ball.
Harding’s sideline conversion gave them a 20-9 advantage, with 20 minutes remaining.
Crowley sealed it for Wanganui when he scored after some excellent play from Whale and Dabenaise sent him away.
Horowhenua Kapiti supporters then had something to cheer about when second-five Kalim Kelemete found some space and sent McDougall away to score.
Wanganui are all smiles after winning the Meads Cup final.