By Justin Miezenbeek
There was to be no upset when Te Awamutu Sports travelled to Island Reserve to take on Otorohanga, the hosts proving their Premiership pedigree in a 28-64 win in Waikato Premier Rugby.
Sports threw the ball around in a attempt to run the huge Otorohanga side around the field, but were undone by an inability to contain the big ball runners offload game to the tune of ten tries, but answered back with four of their own, the bonus point and subsequent loss by Morrinsville, securing Te Awamutu a spot in the top eight for the first time in a number of years.
The hosts dominated the opening quarter, bullying the Sports forwards and striking with ruthless precision when they found a half break, racing to to 0-31 lead early. Sports finally got their hands on the ball and after some constant possession, hooker Tony Pellow reached out and grazed the line for their first try. Fullback Logan Karl potted the conversion for a 7-31 scoreline.
An intercept try on the stroke of halftime would further drive the stake into the visitors, trailing 7-38 at half time.
Otorohanga struck first in the second, before a deft grubber behind the stout defence for Karl to pounce on, converting himself for a 14-45 score, Sports throwing everything at the hosts but struggling to make quality meters in the face of some brutal defence.
Sports found a little consistency from here, and following another intercept try, scored two of their own, lock Gelestino Kiutau barging his way over from close range, followed shortly by a stunning individual try by winger Shauncy Waho, breaking down the right flank, chipping and recollecting for the score. Karl kept his perfect kicking record to pull the score back 28-52.
Two more tries to the hosts in the closing minutes pushed the score out to 28-64, Otorohanga the deserved victors in a brutal, dominating performance. Sports to their credit, never threw in the towell and tackling themselves to a standstill.
While the score is less than flattering, there were some good performances, lock Josh Reynolds continued his outstanding season with another man of the match performance, attacking the monstrous Otorohanga pack with no regard for his own body. Lock Kiutau had one of his strongest games, constantly attacking the defensive line with some strong carries. Pivot Carwyn Penny looked elusive and controlled the backs well.
Sports travel to Hamilton to take on Fraser Tech in the first week of the Premiership round.