Te Awamutu Sports were left in the wake of a surging Hamilton Old Boys tide, going down 50-14 in Waikato premier rugby. Sports were more than competitive in patches of this game at Fred Jones Park on Saturday, but the speed and precision of the Hamilton Old Boys backs proved to be a level above.
Winger Jonty Rae was the star with a 30 point haul, including three tries, six conversions and a penalty. Sports started the game flat, letting in two soft tries in the opening 10 minutes to trail 14-0 before getting themselves into the game, building some phases. With ball in hand, Sports looked dangerous through the forwards.
Lock Stephen Gardiner made a half break and offloaded to flanker Simon Kay, who scored his second try in as many weeks. Halfback Dion Spice slotted the conversion from wide out for a 14-7 scoreline midway through the first half. Sports had chances to even the ledger, but couldn’t break the impressive Old Boys’ defence.
Old Boys stretched their lead by three with a Rae penalty goal. Sports then let all their hard work down by conceding two tries in the last three minutes of the half to trail 29-7. The second half started as the first half ended, with the hosts throwing the ball wide and scoring early to blow the score out to 36-7.
Sports enjoyed a sustained period of attack at the Old Boys’ line, stringing phases together and showing patience, only to be denied any points by desperate defence. Old Boys added salt into the wound by securing a turnover and going the length of the field scoring.
They followed up with another try in quick succession to bring up their half century before impressive Sports’ flanker Cameron Petch scooped up a loose ball 10 metres out from the Old Boys’ line and burst through a gap to score his team’s second try.
The Sports forwards were again a standout, captain Christian Kelleher putting in an immense 80 minutes while Simon Kay, moving onto the flank for this game, again showed his nose for the tryline in a strong all round game. Hooker Jack Munce returned with a typically abrasive game and lock Stephen Gardiner featured strongly around the park.
Props Bailey Oliedam and Etimani Sului scrummaged efficiently. Esera Esera looked the most dangerous back with the ball in hand, cutting Old Boys open with ease, but didn’t see enough ball. Apimeleki Mocekula was strong in the midfield. Young Ryan McNeil, looking more and more assured at fullback, played a nice hand at the back.
The round-robin concludes next week at Albert Park against Fraser Tech, Sports looking for a good performance to lead into the promotion-relegation round.