There were mixed fortunes for the Oamaru schools in Otago rugby finals at the weekend.
Waitaki Boys’ High School let a 12-point lead slip with three minutes to play and was beaten 24-22 by Dunstan High School in the Ritchies Cup (middle four) final at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
In Oamaru, St Kevin’s College finished the season with a bang when it claimed a 38-3 win over the Otago Boys’ High School Second XV in the OSSRC Trophy (bottom four) final.
Waitaki was seeking a second straight win in the Ritchies Cup and the engraver was just about to start on the ‘‘W’’ when it all went rather pear›shaped.
A 22-10 advantage was dented by a Dunstan try in the 67th minute then wiped out by another to the Central Otago school in the last play of the game.
It made for a frustrating finish to what had been a special occasion under the roof, as the game served as a curtain-raiser for an epic ODT Cup final, in which John McGlashan College also left it late to beat Southland Boys’ High School.
‘‘We were gutted,’’ Waitaki coach Mark Wilson said.
‘‘Discipline cost us and that was pretty simple, really.
‘‘I don’t think we were onthe same page as the referee, that’s for sure, but you’ve got to take that out of the equation, and be a better side than that.’’
Waitaki looked absolutely electric at times when it had the ball.
It made Wilson wonder what might have been, had his team been able to get a bit more consistency in its game this season.
‘‘It’s been the story of our year. We’ve competed for a period of time against all the top sides, but it’s just that consistency throughout the whole 70 minutes that we haven’t been able to find.
‘‘If we’d put a full performance together on Saturday, the outcome may have been a wee bit different.’’
Winger Simione Toganivalu scored the opening try on Saturday, and Waitaki led 10-7 at halftime. Lochie Mavor and Tyree Manaia added tries in the second half.
Manaia was the best player on the park and showed his full range of skills at centre, while Alex Wilson was tidy at halfback and Antonio Soane showed glimpses of danger on the wing.
He took 10 minutes out in the bin, but prop Olive Willie looked hungry for work and anchored a good scrum, while the rangy Mavor was arelentless force in the loose.
Waitaki played Timaru Boys’ in the traditional interschool in Timaru on Wednesday.
Fullback Beau Beadle played a starring role for St Kevin’s in its convincing win in the bottom› four final.
Beadle looked dangerous every time he ran with the ball, coach Justin Fowler said. He was rewarded with three tries.
No 8 Evo Ridley scored twice, centre Henry Mataio and winger Mathew Metcalfe added tries, and Max Fatafehi kicked four conversions for St Kevin’s, which led 33-3 at halftime.
‘‘It was a good all-round team performance,’’ Fowler said.
‘‘Forwards were solid atset piece and won a lot of ball for the backs to use. We scored two great tries from set›piece moves from the scrum, and also scored a couple of long›range tries through the backs.’’
Openside flanker Ben Kay continued his strong season by snaffling a bunch of turnovers, while Mataio, Sam McCarthy and Hotili Asi put up a defensive brick wall. St Kevin’s has three games left, against Mt Hutt College, Roncalli College and St Thomas of Canterbury College.