By Justin Miezenbeek
Te Awamutu Sports shook off last weeks disappointment with a convincing 53-24 win over neighbors Pirongia to sit atop the Waikato Championship leaderboard after four weeks.
It was a somewhat scratchy performance which paired sublime periods of attack and defence with windows of inconsistency, but netted them seven tries and maximum points.
Winger Maseiga Teomatavui lead the way with a hat-trick, while fullback Josh Moorby bagged a brace along with 8 from 9 from the tee for a personal haul of 28 points. Winger Maxime Laforgue and centre Api Mocekula also crossed as the backs ran wild.
Pirongia showed they were up for this match in the early stages, with kickers Moorby and Scott Sands trading penalty goals for a 6-3 lead for Sports, the hosts making plenty of play but not being able to cross the line. Sports defence held true and got themselves deep in Pirongia territory. The Mountain Men’s defence holding stout for an extended period in the trenches, but couldn’t get across to Teomatavui when they spun it wide, grabbing the first try 20 minutes into the game.
Teomatavui and Laforgue crossed before the half in long range tries to give Sports a 25-3 lead, with some poor executions leaving points on the field, but overall Sports had wrested the initiative.
Pirongia took it back immediately after the break, crossing to pull the score back to 25-10, which only spurred Sports into another gear as they poured on 4 scintillating tries in 15 minutes, two for Moorby and one each to Teomatavui and Mocekula to blow the score out to 53-10 with still 20 minutes to play.
From there the game took a turn for the messy, with substitutions and an extreme penalty count meaning neither team really sunk their teeth in, but the hosts showed they would fight to the bitter end, crossing again and grabbing a penalty try to round a spirited performance.
Sports had a number of top performers, fullback Moorby lit up the field on attack, finding holes all over and with his wingers Teomatvui and Laforgue, scored six of the seven tries. Midfielders Mocekula and Henare Raukawa were solid on defence and attack and halfback Ryan McNeil was a livewire around the ruck. Captain Matthew Towers got through his usual mountain of work and was supported well by No.8 Cam Petch, who relished some more open space. Hooker Cam Moorby was strong with ball in hand and locks Josh Reynolds and Taylor Krumrei towered in the lineouts.
Sports continue their road trip next week, heading to Putaruru hoping to bag another win to maintain their top billing in the Championship Round.