By Justin Miezenbeek
Te Awamutu Sports overcame a messy second half to bag maximum points in a tough encounter with Waipa neighbours Leamington, winning 38-7 at Albert Park in Waikato Championship Rugby.
Sports picked up six tries, four in the first half to Logan Karl, Tairoa Crean, Simon Kay and Shauncy Waho followed by tries to Fetu Sasalu and Awa Morris in the second and Karl added four conversions, but lack of finish, mistakes and an avalanche of penalties meant the game never really kicked on after the break and stuttered its way to a frustrating close.
Sports started strong and looked threatening immediately, but a willing defense from the visitors held Sports out until the sixth minute, where halfback Crean darted through and offloaded to fullback Karl who opened the scoring and converted for a 7-0 lead.
Strong defence held Sports at bay for the next 10 minutes, bending but not breaking in the face of constant pressure until Crean, getting his chance at halfback for the first time this season saw space off the back of the scrum and beat two defender to score himself for a 12-0 lead.
Relentless pressure on the Leamington line saw skipper Kay crash over for his try and a 17-0 lead before on the stroke of half time, Winger Shauncy Waho was on hand to tidy up a messy attempt to clear and get to halftime and take a 24-0 lead into half time.
Sports were right back on attack early in the second when Sasalu barnstormed his way over from 15 meters out, converted by Karl for a 31-0 lead.
But just as the game looked to be opening up and Sports taking control, the constant ring of the referee’s whistle reduced the second half to a stop start affair that seemed to frustrate both sides as well as the crowd, which finally saw Leamington pick up a converted try before Morris picked up the final try five minutes from full time, converted by Karl for the final 38-7 score line.
For Sports, the standouts were man of the match Crean, who looked dynamic at halfback, while Waho looked dangerous when in space. In the forwards, locks Patrick O’Sullivan and Josh Reynolds held strong in the lineouts while the scrum was completely dominant.
Te Awamutu Sports Senior B dropped their first game of the Championship round, letting an early two try lead slip to a 26-28 loss.
Sports hit the road again next week, travelling to Tokoroa for a match up with Southern United, looking to keep the unbeaten run going.