Our Premier Men and Women both suffered tight losses on a day that was otherwise all about celebrating Fa'atonu Fili and his service to the club.
Early in the day our Women proved they could foot it with the best as they pushed perennial contenders Northern United, narrowly falling 10-15. Norths were first to break a 0-0 half time stalemate and after exchanging tries they took the final lead. This is an outstanding effort for this side and an indication the best is yet to come.
In the big game of the afternoon Fa'atonu took the field for the 200th time with son Larkham in his arms. Already the most capped Marist St Pats player in history, breaking Pat Dunn and Brian McGratton's previous record of 187, he now becomes our first to reach the double-ton.
In the field of play our side dominated play for the first 25 minutes to take a 10-0 lead, but that was undone on Ories first real foray into our half to narrow the lead to 10-7. In that play standout lock Sean Bridge fell awkwardly suffering a serious leg break. This halted the game for half an hour and the first half was finished on the second field with MSP taking a 13-12 lead into the break. We wish Sean all the best for his surgery today (Sunday).
Starting the second half with a man in the bin made it tough going and Ories took advantage scoring three quick tries to jump out to a big lead.
Just as hope was fading, the outstanding Michael Buckley scooped up a sloppy kick retrieval and darted to the line sparking a comeback. Another try to Valentine Meachen narrowed the margin to five, but despite a frantic final five minutes our side just couldn't get over the line - final score 27-32.
Despite the result the clubrooms on Saturday night were in celebration mode with standing room only. It was great to see the Tawa Premiers call in on their journey home from Poneke to show their respect for Fa'atonu. In a special presentation, Fa'atonu was presented with a framed #10 Marist St Pats jersey and was received to a resounding ovation.