By Justin Miezenbeek
Te Awamutu Sports fought hard, but missing six starters, were ultimately a distant second against Hamilton Old Boys, falling 10-50 to the red hot defending champs who enjoyed their third win on the trot.
The host scored four tries in each half, while Sports could only muster a late score to prop Gordon Fullerton and a lone penalty goal to fullback Logan Karl in a match where they didn’t necessarily play badly, but were made to pay dearly for any mistakes by the electric Old Boys backline.
A feeling out period dominated the early stages as both sides eased into the game, but was blown wide open as Hamilton used their huge ball runners in midfield to lure in the defence, but used as a decoy found space outside, scoring the first of many long range tries and a 7-0 lead.
Constant pressure from Sports results in their first points, a penalty goal to Karl to pull the score back to 3-7.
While last week Sports struggled to get their hands on the ball, this week they found themselves with plenty of ball, but no way through Old Boys combination of constant infringing and impenetrable defence. This infringing tested the patience of the referee, who eventually lost his diplomacy and sent three Old Boys players to the sin bin over the next 40 minutes.
Even with their opponents down to 14 men, Sports could bend, but not quite break the defensive line. In a killer turn, after an extended period of time on attack, a turnover was returned all the way back for another score, and so the trend continued, Sports throwing themselves at the defence but being unable to break it, Old Boys lying in wait and ruthlessly punishing when they got the chance to the tune of a 26-3 half time lead.
Another length of the field effort extended the lead after the break, but Sports hit back through outstanding prop Gordon Fullerton, who took a quick tap five meters from the line and hurled himself into the teeth of the defence, crashing over next to the post.
The hosts however, kicked on again from there, their speed out wide proving too much for Sports to handle as they chased red and black jerseys all over the field, Old Boys eventually picking up their half century on the stroke of full time.
For Te Awamutu, they threw everything they had at the defending champs, Fullerton throwing himself countless times into the defence alongside No.8 Kieran Westlake, backed up ably by locks Josh Reynolds and Gelestino Kuitau. Flankers Matthew Towers and Cameron Reynolds worked themselves to a standstill and midfielders Andrew Christie and Richard Kaisia worked hard on attack. Outside backs Karl, Shauncy Waho and Queyst Michael-Tapu tried to spark some attack with limited opportunities.
Sports stay in the fire next week, hosting undefeated Hautapu at Albert Park.