Waimate Rugby Club’s season has come to a heartbreaking end.
Waimate lost to Celtic 22-18 in the South Canterbury club rugby final in Pleasant Point on Saturday. It was a tight tussle, with Waimate leading the match 18-15 at halftime and fighting for the title right to the end.
President Matt Hayman said it was a disappointing way for the club to finish its season, but he was proud of the heart the players showed.
‘‘It’s hard when you come to the end of a long season, you’ve worked for the last six or so months for a result that you get so close to and [it] gets taken away from you right at the end,’’ Hayman said.
‘‘Pretty gutted, but really proud of what the guys achieved.’’
In the previous week’s semifinal, with players returning from injuries, Waimate put on the performance of the season against defending Hammersley Cup champion, Temuka.
‘‘To put a performance out on the field like we did in the semifinal, with what is arguably one of the best teams we’ve been able to field, was an awesome feeling.
‘‘It was always going to be difficult to try and do that two weeks in a row, but really stoked with what the guys did do on Saturday in the final as well.’’
The support from the Waimate community leading up to and at Saturday’s game was great, he said.
‘‘It’s amazing to have the community we have here.
‘‘Whenever a team does well, not just rugby. . .the whole town gets behind them.’’
Hayman was ‘‘over the moon’’ nine Waimate players had made the South Canterbury Heartland squad and South Canterbury A. Tokomaata Fakatava, Anthony Amato, Henry Bryce, Loni Toumohuni, Theo Davidson and Miles Medlicott have made the Heartland squad, while Eafou Tangiaia, Stefan Kloppers and Clarence Moli are in the A side.
While Waimate’s season is done, the grounds will still be busy. In two weeks’ time, the Southern Bush Pigs, from Dunedin, and High School Old Boys, from Christchurch, will play each other in an under-85 National Club Cup match in Waimate, South Canterbury will play Poverty Bay in a Heartland match at the grounds on September 24 and the following week the South Island secondary schoolgirls’ rugby competition will also be held in Waimate.
Hayman thanked the committee, community, sponsors, players, coaches and officials for supporting the club this season.