Our Premiers have opened the Jubilee Cup round with a very close win over longtime rivals Petone in a day that otherwise didn't go so well for our teams.
The Villagers started the game with a hiss and a roar, controlling the ball for the first 10 minutes and capitalising with an early try. Our boys got back into their work and slowly grinded away to take the lead back by half time. Our only first half try came after captain Valentine Meachen caught an attempted box kick and dashed towards the line before handing off to James Proctor for the finish.
Unfortunately the first half was called off a couple of minutes early after a scary injury to Petone second five Willie Tufui. He was taken away in an ambulance with the game moved to the number two field. We extend our prayers and best wishes to Willie for a speedy recovery.
The second half was a tight affair with Petone striking first to tie the game at 14-all. The match winning play then came at the 65 minute mark when Mike Buckley caught a ball that didn't find touch and spun it back infield. Andrew Wells passed onto speedster Ryan Saunders who ran towards the line drawing in defenders just in time to hand off to Billy Proctor for the try.
Petone first five Piri Paraone had two opportunities to snatch the game in the last five minutes but both penalty attempts strayed wide and the Red Machine held on for victory.
After three weeks of big wins, our side will take confidence in grinding out this close match against a quality opponent. They take on Oriental Rongotai at Evans Bay next weekend.
Earlier our Women had their toughest match of the season against competition heavyweights Ories and will have learned a lot from a tough loss. The Colts and Premier Reserves were competitive at times but will rue defensive lapses in their losses to Petone.