Tro­phy eludes Waihi

Waihi Leader - - News - By GRAEME CULTON

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.

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