Top performance for bonus-point win against HOBM

MSP turned in one of their season's best performances to collect a bonus-point 28-11 win over Swindale Shield holders Hutt Old Boys Marist on 16 June (see video highlights below).

The team battled bitter conditions and a lop-sided penalty count to turn the tables on their Hutt Marist cousins who had earlier beaten them at the Spillane Cup and in the first round.

With a bitter southerly and intermittent squalls cutting across Evans Bay, MSP were first on the board with a Fa'atonu Fili penalty after 12 minutes. A sharp break by fullback Andrew Wells led to another kickable penalty, but the scrum option saw the ball quickly moved blindside where winger John Gbenda-Charles on debut dived over.

HOB Marist hit back with a smart try minutes later, and they nosed in front 11-8 with two further penalties before halftime.

MSP controlled the territory in the second half, Fa'atonu Fili capitalising with a penalty to tie the scores after 11 minutes. Then, from another kickable penalty and with a hardy crew of MSP spectators screaming 'take the shot', livewire halfback Peter Sciascia tapped and darted 20 metres to slither over beneath the opposition forward pack.

In a physical contest that nevertheless had its open moments, MSP underlined their dominance with a drive from a five-metre lineout and a try to hooker Liu Taituave. Right on fulltime, Fa'atonu Fili put the icing on the cake with a pin-point cross kick handing John Gbenda-Charles his second try.

There were many individual highlights for the home team - the dominating presence of player-of-the-day, lock Bernie Upton, who's back at MSP after stints at Connaught and in Japan; Fa'atonu Fili taking on the line; Liu Taituave back to top form; and Peter Sciascia's bustling effort that added to his opposite's miserable afternoon.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect was the 20-nil second-half shut-out of a quality HOBM side.


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