King's Brings Home College Rifles Cup

The traditional 2nd XV King’s vs Grammar game, played on Friday, 26 June, lived up to all the hype with an entertaining and exciting match only being decided on the final whistle as King’s held on deservedly to win 17-12.

Playing for the impressive College Rifles Cup, it was King’s who started the better, using the breeze effectively in the evening game. The territorial pressure paid off with Ryan Cookson striking a 40 metre penalty, easily clearing the bar to give King’s the early lead 3-0. For the remainder of the first half, play swung to both ends of the field with no team establishing superiority on field position. King’s was, however, totally dominant in the scrum and managed two tightheads on the evening as well as ensuring a rough base for Grammar to attack from.
 
The shock at the end of the first half was an intercept try by Grammar. Somehow, off our own well won lineout, the AGS loose forward managed to be in the channel of Ryan Cookson passing to Leo Roa and was allowed to scamper 20 metres to the tryline. While frustrating, the 3-7 half-time score did not phase the team.
 
The second half started with Grammar applying a lot of pressure. After four repeat penalties in the King’s 22, the weight of defending for so long told and AGS sneaked in at the corner for a deserved try. The 3-12 scoreline, along with the introduction of Ben Stiassny as water boy and on field motivator, seemed to spur the team back into life.
 
Ryan Cookson managed another fine penalty to get King’s back in touch on the scoreboard, before an incredible attacking sequence that involved most players handling the ball was completed by the two biggest men on the field. Brandon Young Yen took on three players a few metres from the tryline and as he went to ground, managed to throw a ‘Sonny Bill’ pass to the ankles of Sam Hayes. Showing deft skills, Sam Hayes collected and dived in for the try. To the disbelief of all who watched, the ever-reliable Ryan Cookson somehow hit the upright with his close-range conversion and King’s was denied the lead, trailing 11-12 with 10 minutes to go.
 
Waves of attack were repelled by Grammar, but the pressure told and penalties were conceded and converted, twice, by Ryan Cookson (yet again) to give King's the lead 17-12 with four minutes to play. The large, vocal, Friday night crowd were on the edge of their seats until the last minute. Suffice to say, the final whistle was met with jubilation by the King’s team who was then swamped by the large pitch-invasion of excited supporters.
 
The victorious team for the match was:
Jamie Spowart, Reece Waters, Callum Douglas, Matthieu Olo-Whaanga, Liam Baker-Smith, Leo Roa, Ryan Cookson, Paul Ariu, Millenium Sanerivi, Adam Drake, Justin Mataele, Fergus Salmon, Sam Hayes (captain), Gray Hardy, Brandon Young Yen, Nathan Stanners, Matthew Robertson, Samuel Ludbrook, James Van Dorp, Tristan Payle, Epeli Ula and Connor Tomoana.
 
Injuried and unavailable:
Zoan Patua, Tariu Fepulea'i-Bloom, William St John, Benjamin Wright, Lukan Paitai-Tuiatua and Sam Lowe.