Rugby is a game of two halves, and never has that old adage been so captivatingly exhibited than in Waitaki Boys’ High School’s 33-17 defeat in their 130th tie with Timaru Boys’ at Milner Park yesterday.
TBHS drew first blood 15 minutes into the clash and looked to be the stronger of the two sides early on.
The visitors then took advantage of Waitaki’s lack of discipline with James Hawkey punishing the homeside with the boot for an 8-0 lead, but that was the most Timaru would muster in the first period.
The ever consistent skipper Don Lolo led by example to cross the line following a powerful run in his last game for the red-and-blacks. Marc Fox comfortably hit the conversion.
The homeside’s menacing play culminated in a wonderful pass under pressure from Jake Greenslade to unleash Loni Fisiihoi to touch down on the stroke of half time. The atmosphere was pro-Waitaki as expected and even the most pessimistic supporter would not have envisaged any less that a home win at the half way mark.
WBHS began the second period as convincingly as they ended the first with Piliu Tavake notching Waitaki’s third try. Fox’s boot was as dependable as ever to take a 17-8 lead.
Despite a lack of momentum, Timaru still looked threatening on the counter attack, and eventually punished Waitaki through open side flanker Sukhwinder Singh-Bolina in an explosive charge to the line.
TBHS quickly came to life with first five-eighth James Hawkey touching down next, followed by a try from Amato Fakatava, created by a tenacious run from Talau Fakatava.
Hawkey was relieved of his kicking duties with Matt McKenzie hitting the conversion, as the gap widened to 25-17.
Moments later, skipper Graison Dale joined the party, the forward muscled his way over the line. James Hawkey concluded proceedings with a perfectly taken drop goal in the dying moments to take the score to 33-17.
Despite the defeat WBHS manager Pete Greenslade praised his team’s efforts and commended the away sides performance.
“It was really good, we took it to them in the first half and started the second well but they gained momentum,” he said.
“We can’t complain, they finished the better side and the game was played in great spirits, we can’t be disappointed in our boys at all and they took it well.”
By James Ford