Mo­erewa UK one step closer to pro­mo­tion

The Northland Age - - Sport -


That first goal he was re­fer­ring to was win­ning the North Zone fi­nal in or­der to be able to chal­lenge for a seat at the ta­ble of Whanga¯rei rugby.

Af­ter the Bay fi­nals on July 7, Mo­erewa United Kawakawa will play the win­ner of the South Zone cham­pi­onship (still TBCd). The win­ner and loser of that af­fair re­spec­tively then progress to face the bot­tom and sec­ond-to­bot­tom teams from the Bay­leys Premier­ship in a pro­mo­tion/ rel­e­ga­tion round on July 14.

Awanui gaffer Jor­dan Ju­jnovich was un­able to be at Satur­day’s game but from what he’d been told, said it sounded like an­other frus­trat­ing ef­fort. “Based on yes­ter­day’s per­for­mance, they are not play­ing too good. We have lost to UK twice [both times be­cause of our] own mis­takes. Just mak­ing silly mis­takes, UK are a good enough side to make us pay.”

The truth of the mat­ter is that Awanui didn’t really de­serve to win. Last year’s Bell Shield fi­nal­ists didn’t want this any­where near as much as the home side be­cause they’ve never been se­ri­ous about re­turn­ing to Whanga¯rei (and es­pe­cially since those con­tentious days of be­ing in the North­land wide around the turn of the cen­tury).

Ju­jnovich was adamant that ap­proach had not been an is­sue go­ing into the game; the im­por­tant thing was for the Awanui play­ers test them­selves — the ul­ti­mate goal ac­tu­ally be­ing to claim bag­ging rights — against their Bay of Is­lands coun­ter­parts. He also noted Awanui would have liked to have made the sub­se­quent se­ries of play-off games: “The boys are pretty keen to see how they go against a Whanga¯rei side.”

On be­half of the team, he thanked fa­ther Ray­mond’s busi­ness for spon­sor­ing a bus to take the team and its sup­port­ers to Satur­day’s clash.

Bot­tom four

Kaitaia 50 Otiria 26: Kaitaia scup­per­ing their Bay of Is­lands coun­ter­parts in the bot­tom four fi­nal of the 2018 North Zone Cham­pi­onship at Sim­son Park [not Arnold Rae Park as ini­tially pro­moted] on Satur­day. Kaitaia man­ager Clay­ton Mur­ray said it was a great game, and noted the big, wide and re­mark­ably dry pitch al­lowed the Man­gonui team’s backs to shine.

“We trav­elled a bit light on num­bers in the end but got the job done so that’s the main thing. Really en­joyed our time with the boys from Otiria and they must be com­mended on their new strip and staunch haka they opened the game with. With 14s, 16s, 18s and the two se­nior games played at Mo­erewa on Satur­day, it was a great day of rugby!”

Oth­er­wise, it must be said the North Zone com­pe­ti­tion ended with whim­per not a bang; two de­faults ev­i­dence of the lack of in­ter­est some teams held to­wards the the third/ fourth play­offs: Kaikohe de­fault­ing to Eastern in the top four, Pan­guru to Ohaeawai/ Okai­hau in the bot­tom four. Both de­fault­ing teams were the trav­el­ling ones.

■ DRAW for this Satur­day’s fixtures is, Man­gonui: Kaitaia vs Te Rarawa (pos­si­bly to be played at Ahipara on Fri­day night) and Pan­guru vs Awanui; Bay of Is­lands draw was still to be ad­vised at edi­tion time.

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