The game was played on a very heavy and muddy field and our boys struggled to adapt to conditions that we are unaccustomed to playing in. In hindsight, playing in these conditions was probably very helpful for us as we are expecting similar conditions over at Aorere College this Saturday.
PNBHS are used to playing in these types of conditions and their forwards took control of the game playing very tight rugby and after a number of pick-n-goes, scored a good try that was converted for a 7 – 0 lead. Our boys tried to throw the ball around, the way we have done all season, despite the tough field conditions. A pass down the right wing was intercepted and their left winger sprinted 40m to score in the corner. Their kicker converted from the sideline and we were down 14 – 0.
The boys bounced back and moved the ball wide to set up right winger Max Webb who scored in the right hand corner. Aidan Morgan was unable to convert but we were on the board. The boys went back on attack and an attempted chip kick over the top was charged down, the ball bounced up into their hands, was handed on to the left winger, and he sprinted away to score another try in the same corner. This time their kicker could not convert but the score had rocketed out to 19 – 5 to them.
Just before halftime, we turned over the ball, it was moved out to Morgan who put a long kick over the top of their backline – fullback Chicago Doyle toed the ball ahead and was first to dive on the ball in the right hand corner. Morgan was able to convert and we turned around with the score 19 – 12 to PNBHS.
The second half was a tight tussle and neither side was able to score points in the 3rd quarter. As the game went on, it was obvious that our fitness was superior – despite the muddy field that had started to cut-up and we started to dominate them. We were able to score three further tries to James Brown, Luron Iosefa and Mitchell Irwin – two of which were converted by Morgan for a 19 – 0 second half scoreline, and the final score read 31 – 19 to King’s.
Our second half defence was strong and was the difference between the two sides. It also allowed the coaches to clear the bench and allowed all reserves to get some valuable game time. Ethan Cave and Ethan Stuart (both Year 12s) made their debuts for the 1st XV and made good contributions.