Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Guardian Waihora Report

Centre Manase Nonu side-stepping Waihora
defense with Pumbaa in support.

By Erin Bishop

A heartbreaking try in the final minute saw Waihora snatch victory out from under Hampstead’s nose in the opening round of the PGG-Wrightson Cup on Saturday, winning 18-17.Hampstead hosted Waihora in the first round of the Mid Canterbury and Ellesmere combined rugby competition, and dominated the scoring for much of the game, but all of their hard work came undone in the dying minutes.With just minutes remaining in the match, and Hampstead ahead 17-13 on the scoreboard, Waihora launched an all out assault on Hampstead’s line, and the blue and golds managed to hold them out, until flanker David Neilsen was sent to the sideline by the referee for the remainder of the game.Hampstead was then left with 14 men on the field, with time practically up on the clock, trying to hold out a determined Waihora side, just metres from the tryline.With one less defender to worry about, Waihora sent the ball wide to its right wing, who just managed to dot down near the sideline despite some desperate defence, to put Waihora in the lead for the first time since early in the first half, by just one point. The tricky sideline conversion missed, but it did not matter.Waihora had struck first in the match, with an early penalty, but it was Hampstead’s impressive forwards who helped the home side strike back soon after, powering their way up field, before handing the ball to first-five Siaola Fifita, who found a gap out wide, and raced around to score under the posts, making the conversion of his own try an easy job.Waihora was left wondering what could have been later in the half, through a missed penalty, and what they thought was a try out wide being denied by a foot in touch spotted by the touch judge, before making no mistake with a third penalty attempt.Hampstead would have also been left wondering “what if …”, after Fifita was given what should have been a gift three points shortly before half time, but missed the shot at goal - three points which could have come in handy at the end of the 80 minutes.Up 7-6 at half time, Hampstead found itself having to make plenty of tackles in the second half, as Waihora looked to keep play down its end of the field, but when Hampstead finally did cross into its own 22, it made it count, with Manase Nonu crossing for his side’s second try.Waihora took just a couple of minutes to strike back, as a try of its own closed the gap to 14-13, and it continued to plug away at the Hampstead defence, until it finally broke through in the dying seconds.Hampstead rarely got a look at the tryline in the second half, but on another rare venture past the 22, slotted another three points to give it a late buffer which did not turn out to be quite enough.



Post a Comment

<< Home