Try time . . . Waitaki Boys' High School first XV players celebrate as Saimone Toutai scores the winning try against St Kevin's College. PHOTO: DAVE BOYLE

The trophy cabinet is filling up at Waitaki Boys’ High School.

The Waitaki Boys’ first XV won the Otago Secondary School Ritchies Cup on Saturday, beating St Kevin’s College 26-23 in the middle four final.

It was the second tight match between the two Oamaru schools this year. Waitaki Boys’ beat St Kevin’s 21-19 in the annual inter-school match last month.

St Kevin’s got on the board first in the final, but Waitaki Boys’ clawed its way back to take the lead.

St Kevin’s pushed hard playing into the wind in the second half, and scored when the team was down to 14 players, due to a yellow card, regaining the lead.

However, Waitaki Boys’ came back and scored a try with five minutes to go. St Kevin’s returned fire, storming up the field, but Waitaki Boys’ defence held strong to seal the win.

Waitaki Boys’ coach Mark Wilson said his players really wanted the win, and worked extremely hard.

“They stuck together – it wasn’t just one or two of them, it was the whole lot of them doing it for each other, so that was pretty impressive,” Wilson said.

Working for each other as “family and brothers” was part of the culture Waitaki Boys’ created this year.

Wilson was proud of the players for taking “ownership of their team”.

“They’re stronger together, which is one of our little sayings, and they’ve certainly stuck with that.

“We’re a multicultural group . . . and we’ve brought all those cultures into the group. I think that’s pleasing and something to be proud of.

“We’ve got year 11 to year 13 and it’s become a bit of a bond between all of them.”

St Kevin’s coach Justin Fowler said he was proud of the fight his team showed.

“I just think [it was] our never give up sort of attitude. A lot of guts, determination, and desire to keep going right until the end,” Fowler said.

St Kevin’s was the smallest school, roll-wise, and physicality-wise, in the competition, and was the only co-ed school to make the top six of the competition, he said.

“It’s a testament to their hard work, their desire to play for each other and put on a good show. I think that’s a real positive that we can be proud of.”

St Kevin’s was now preparing to compete in the Otago final of the Co-Ed Cup competition. The match was supposed to be played tomorrow but Fowler said that was “up in the air at the moment” as a result of Alert Level 4.

Waitaki Boys’ was scheduled to play Timaru Boys’ High School in an inter-school game next Wednesday.

Both teams secured their place in the top six of the Otago competition next season.