By Justin Miezenbeek
On a short week, Te Awamutu Sports paid the price for playing too much of the game without the ball, going down 21-38 at home to Fraser Tech in Waikato Premier Rugby.
Sports showed flashes of their potential, but they were just too few and far between as a well drilled Fraser Tech side controlled the ball through their forwards and made the hosts make a mountain of tackles to slowly kick away late in the game.
Sports had the worst possible start as the opening kickoff was left uncontrolled and after two minutes, Tech were already up 7-0. They doubled that only minutes later and within 10 minutes Sports were down 0-14 and had barely touched the ball.
After another stint on defence, they finally got their hands on the ball and straight away found themselves on attack and midfielder Caleb Loomans crashed through a defender close to line and scored, fullback Logan Karl slotted the conversion for a 7-14 scoreline.
Normal business resumed as Tech got the ball back and worked their way down field, rewarded with another score to stretch the lead again. Sports though, hit back to close the gap to seven points when Andrew Christie took on the line, shaking off a defender to score, Karl with the conversion and a 14-21 scoreline.
The Sports scrum was under immense pressure, and right on the stroke of half time they conceded a pushover try and a 14-28 score.
Sports hit the ground running in the second half, Karl scoring a brilliant individual try when he chipped behind the defense chased and collected himself before the cover defense could get there, converting his own try and pulling the score back to 21-28.
But Sports, for all their endeavors, never really got another shot to add to their score, working with scraps of ball as Tech controlled the set pieces and pushed the ball into the corners. The constant defending eventually left its mark, Sports conceding two more scores late in the second half and the 17 point win.
For Sports, fullback Logan Karl was impressive, collecting 11 points and a tidy performance at the back as Tech drove Sports backwards, while the forwards had a tough night in the trenches, lock Josh Reynolds and flanker Matthew Towers putting in 80 hard minutes of defensive work. No.8 Kieran Westlake threw himself at the defense and pivot Thomas Bird directed play well with what little ball the backs saw.
The job doesn’t get any easier next week, Sports travelling to Hamilton to take on defending Champions Hamilton Old Boys, needing to find another gear to kick into a tough part of the schedule