After celebrating making 4 semi-finals last week, we had to take it on the chin when losing all of them last Saturday.
Despite the losses we are proud of our teams efforts and in 3 of the games we could have had the result go the other way with a bit of luck.
The Premiers went down to University in a close battle 24-22. In the end their goal kicking proved the difference with us out scoring them 4 tries to 3. We were hard on attack, right on the University try-line, as the clock ticked over 80 minutes…could we get a penalty awarded or bash over the line for the winning try? Unfortunately not – a low percentage play resulted in a knock on and the game ended.
The Seniors were ahead for most of their game against Kaikorai but conceded 2 late scores to lose 25-18. The players can be very satisfied with their season only losing 2 games in round robin play and being right in the hunt in the semi. This from a team that was formed from scratch at the start of the season.
The Premier Magpie Colts took on long term rival Dunedin Makos at Bathgate Park. After a slow start – conceding 3 unconverted tries to be down 15-0 they rallied and took the lead 16-15 at halftime with Jack Leslie kicking goals from all angles. However the wind proved more influential than expected with the Magpies stuck in their own half for long periods of play. Not able to get any field position they were forced to take risks in their own half, and turned the ball over too regularly. This gave the Makos opportunities to score and they finished the stronger team winning 26-16.
The Ravens Colts completed our semi-finalists and took on top qualifier Kaikorai Cobras at Bishopscourt. They showed great heart but couldn’t contain the strong Cobras team going down 45-7. Again this was a great effort from a new team in the Club – many players from hostels at the University.
To add to our semi-final losses our talented U13s were upset by Zingari 27-26 at Bathgate Park.
It was a different story on the netball courts as the Southern Magpies won their semi final over Phys Ed A to make their way to this Sundays Final at the Edgar Centre.
ODT REPORT – PREMS V UNIVERSITY
After all the drama in recent weeks, University and Taieri have made it through to the final again.
Taieri made use of its extra life earlier in the playoffs and defeated Harbour, while University needed a last-minute fumble to hold out Southern.
University 24 Southern 22
Both teams’ fate rested on a thin strip of territory about half a metre from University’s line.
The joust only lasted about a minute but it was decisive.
Southern bashed away an inch at a time, hoping to find the smallest crack in the defence to seal what would have been a wonderful come-from-behind win in the final moments of the semifinal at Logan Park on Saturday.
It had slipped behind 24-15 with about 25 minutes remaining.
University had scored a tremendous try.
Right winger Kieran McClea had fumbled a high kick. He perhaps had one eye on the gaps in front of him when he came up with the error.
Fortunately for him it dribbled backwards.
By the time he had regathered the defence had closed, but he thrust out a fend and poked his opponent out of the way.
The field opened and he set off down the touch line. Fullback Jermaine Pepe positioned himself perfectly for the inside pass and then got the ball to halfback Graham Urquhart who ran in to score.
Moments later impressive No8 Sean Withy was scampering down the same touchline. He found support on the inside but the try went begging when the final pass was not made.
Had University scored then, it was curtains for Southern.
Falling behind had a liberating impact on Southern, though. It was forced into playing a bit more rugby.
The big boys got their hands on the ball. Skipper Jermayne Maike was immense.
He hit the ball up with purpose several times during a phase which also featured strong runs by the other large men in the pack.
Veteran No8 Mika Mafi banged it up. Tofatiumoana Solia made a burst.
Eventually Mafi was close enough that he could not be stopped.
Mackenzie Haugh, who scored two first-half tries, the second of which was an acrobatic effort in the corner, knocked over the conversion to close the gap to 24-22.
Southern then had an opportunity to go ahead. University centre Giovanni Leituala got himself binned with 15 minutes remaining.
But Haugh missed from about 35m out. It proved very costly.
University did an amazing job of slowing down the game and holding on to the ball. The students really did not give Southern a decent opportunity to run at their backline which was down a man.
The time drifted away until both teams were locked in a desperate battle over that thin strip of grass with a minute to go.
Southern seemed destined to score but ran out of patience. Replacement halfback Tala Fagasoaia inexplicably tried to leap over the ruck to score.
He lost it forward and that was that.
University 24 (Graham Urquhart 2, Jermaine Pepe tries; Giovanni Leituala 3 con, pen), Southern 22 (Mackenzie Haugh 2, Hiroaki Shirahama, Mika Mafi tries; Haugh con). Halftime: 17-10
Taieri 25 Harbour 8
Taieri 25 (Brady Robinson, Kori Rupene, Glen Beadle tries; Corey McKay con, 2 pen, Brayden Laing con), Harbour 8 (James Tomkinson try; Logan Allen pen). Halftime: 7-5 Taieri.