Our Premier Reserves have beaten Oriental-Rongotai in a thrilling final to finish the season with the Harper Lock Shield, Ed Chaney Cup, and the title of the most outstanding Premier Reserve side in Wellington.
The final, played on Wellington Rugby's Finals Day at Petone Rec, was one of the most thrilling matches you could witness. The two closely matched teams went tit-for-tat from the opening whistle and ultimately extra time was required to separate the two teams.
MSP went out to an early lead by the way of three penalties to veteran first five Fa'atonu Fili (who didn't miss a shot at goal all day), but Ories scored two tries later in the half to take a 9-12 lead into halftime.
The halftime deficit was quickly erased with another penalty drawing the sides even, before the sides traded penalties again. At the 70 minute mark with scores tied at 15-all, replacement winger Willie Schutz made a break through the defence before handing off to centre Jayden McCarthy to finish in the corner. Fili crucially nailed the conversion from the sideline and the Red Machine was up 22-15.
Ories weren't going to roll over and battled their way over the line with three minutes on the clock to tie the game once more. With supporters checking their watches MSP got a penalty right in front to seemingly win the game at 25-22, but the referee said there was still time.
In bizarre scenes off the ensuing kick off, MSP kicked the ball out and the referee blew time with the substitutes rushing the field, only to be called back as the touch judge called an infringement and Ories were awarded a penalty. They tied the game and we went to extra time.
Players and supporters managed to regain some composure in the break and the game got back underway with two 10 minute halves of extra time. It was all MSP for the first five minutes with wave after wave eventually cracking the Ories defence as hooker Ian Leota went over under the posts to take a 32-25 lead. Ories weren't going to concede the game and took play back down the other end and scoring a try to end the first period of extra time.
With both teams having played at least 95 minutes of rugby, the second half of extra time was a war of attrition. Marist St Pats couldn't accept a draw as they would lose the match on the tiebreaker (most tries in the game). After seven minutes, a penalty was awarded and Fili stepped up; the ball sailed through the uprights to the delight of a big crowd. Of course that still couldn't be the end, Ories were awarded a kickable penalty with a minute to go which just went wide of the posts. MSP reclaimed the ball and claimed the trophy with a 35-32 victory.
Loose forward workhorse Jake Goodger was awarded player of the game at the clubrooms on Saturday night.
The result was well deserved for the side coached by Edwin Meachen and Daniel Kauraka, having mentored their team to an overall season record of 19 wins and 2 losses. They outscored their opponents by an average of 47 points to 15.