Trophy eludes Waihi
Waihi’s senior rugby sides performed creditably again in the latest round of Thames Valley Rugby.
The Senior B side travelled to Whangamata¯ to defend the coveted Ainsley Shield, a trophy which always brings out the best in both clubs.
Saturday’s game was no exception, Waihi coming up just short 27-29. Trailing 22-5 at the halftime break the Waihi boys made a spirited comeback in the second half, but Whangamata¯ was good enough to hold onto their narrow lead and lock the trophy away for the summer months.
The premier side travelled through the gorge to take on the new formed Paeroa Combined side, the team which had inflicted Waihi’s only loss of the season just two weeks ago. Waihi went into the game severely depleted with injuries, fielding only three fit front rowers and only thee players to come on off the bench. This only proved to spur the team on with their under fire forward pack taking control early.
This ball gave the fleet-footed backline much more time than in previous weeks, with winger Jerome Hill benefiting, scoring for a hat trick of tries before halftime. Loose forward David Carey also scored, giving Waihi a handy 26-0 lead at the break
To coin a phrase from longterm supporter Ross Cooper, the forward pack was “simply exquisite,” a fitting compliment from the ex All Black coach. The defining moment in the match was probably the five minutes before the half time break, where Waihi was under the pump on its goal line. They repeatedly denied everything that Paeroa threw at them, keeping the line intact.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first. Front rowers Karl Douglas, Joel Street and Konrad Williams laying the platform up front. With plenty of chat between forwards and backs Waihi were on top of their game, running in a further five tries, two to fleet-footed fullback Jesse Dodunski and one each to replacement midfielder Jethro Meares, Prop Konrad Williams and lock Dylan Horne. A final score line of 53-0 showed Waihi’s total dominance.
This was probably the best 80 minutes the team has put together this year. Another tough road trip to Tairua. A win would go a long way to ensuring Waihi of a semi-final berth.