By Justin Miezenbeek
Te Awamutu Sports overcame a physical and determined Matamata side, wet and greasy conditions, a 20 minute injury break, six missing starters and themselves to pick up a vital five points in a 26-0 blanking in Waikato Championship Rugby.
Two tries in either half and three conversions to fullback Logan Karl highlighted an overall messy game, with constant handling errors and ill discipline gifting the ball back to the visitors, who dominated possession and territory but were unable to threaten enough, or finish the few chances to score they had.
The game started well when, like last week, Karl busted the defence in the opening minutes but instead of a slick finish, handling mistakes gave the ball back and they spent the next period on defence.
It took 20 minutes for Sports to hit the scoreboard, midfielder Andrew Christie catching the defence napping from a quick Karl tap had Sports up 7-0, while Karl was on the receiving end of a beautiful back move to cross untouched under the posts and a 14-0 half time lead.
At 50 minutes in a serious ankle injury to a Matamata player saw a 20 minute break saw the game lose even more shape as both sides battled the elements, Sports turning the ball over just as they seemed to get things going to undo all their hard work.
A long range break from fullback Karl had Sports hot on attack when lock Thomas Brown crashed over from close range to stretch the lead to 19-0 with 10 minutes to go and centre Caleb Loomans snared a wide pass at halfway to outrun the cover defence and seal the win and all important fourth try bonus point.
In a game that Sports never really got out of second gear Karl looked dangerous from the back and his try and three conversions took his tally for the second round to 86 from six games. Man of the Match Connor Loomans and his fellow flanker Matthew Towers rolled their sleeves up and made a mountain of tackles while hooker Simon Kay put his usual days work in, aided by props Bailey Oliedam and Terrance Croonen.
Sports hit the road next week, requiring one last win to secure first place in the Championship round and top seeding when they take on Hinuera.