Torrential rain no dampener for COB’s party
College Old Boys’ loyal following had to defrost before their centenary festivities after braving torrential rain to watch their troops secure a 30-5 win over Kia Toa in round 12 of McDonalds Manawatu Senior One club rugby on Saturday.
COB wore a commemorative red and black jersey drawing parallels to their early days as Western United, but within 15 minutes of kickoff the players were so well coated with mud that it was impossible to tell what colours they were wearing.
The first half was played with persistent lighting flashes and echoes of thunder sweeping across the Arena backfields; the second half was 40 minutes of torrential rain.
Both teams arrived ready for a tough slog, Kia Toa naming their strong starting XV since early in the first round.
COB’s forward pack always appeared to have the upper hand, but Kia Toa did a good job sticking in the fight, led by a strong display from Fraser Stone.
Both Stewart Cruden and Jade Te Rure controlled the game well with the weather nullifying the impacts of the rest of their backlines.
COB had the wind in the first half and Kia Toa rarely managed to venture into the attacking 22.
Cruden made the most of COB’s attacking chances with a pair of penalty kicks.
The defending would eventually wear down the Kia Toa side, but it wasn’t until the 34th minute that the first try was scored – a 5m dart from James Tofa.
That was enough to give COB a 13-0 lead at the break.
As the rain set in, handling became difficult and the game descended into a tight forwards battle.
With limited attacking opportunities, Kia Toa faced an uphill battle to get back into the match and any chance of a win seemed sunk when Andrew McDougall opted for a quick throw-in to halfback Michael Walsh, who scampered away for a try.
COB would score twice more through Awatere Kiwara and Andre Taylor, while Neal Tudreu picked up Kia Toa’s sole try from the back of a rolling maul.
Feilding Yellows’ dominant 46-7 win over Feilding Old Boys-Oroua will have the alarm bells ringing for the defending champions.
The Stags are now on back-to-back hefty defeats right at the time that things were starting to come right during their championship run last year.
Against Yellows, they were caned in the forwards and did not have the fire power in the backline to get them out of trouble.
Their position in the top four now looks in serious doubt.
The Stags started well against Yellows. Despite having minimal ball, they starved Yellows of points – a try to Luke Clarke in the 37th minute opened the scoring.
Just before halftime, Drew Wild burst over for a try, then Carr added a penalty to give their side a 17-point lead at the break, undoing much of the Stags good work.
The second half was all one-way traffic as Matt Dalley, Hayden Stratford, Patohe Ropoama-Third and Josiah Maraku all crossed for Yellows.
FOB-Oroua at least managed the final-say with a try to Alex Hawira in the last minute.
Te Kawau’s dream start to the second half of the competition came to a screeching halt in the form of an 19-0 loss to Old Boys-Marist.
OBM impressed defensively as they repelled the constant pick and go runners from Te Kawau.
The warnings of Te Kawau’s resilience of the past couple of weeks did not fall on deaf ears for OBM, who were more than happy to kick for the posts when the opportunities came up.
Three penalties to Hayden Hill put them in a strong position, while tries to Cam Black and Will Treder saw them push well clear at Rongotea.
After stumbles from Kia Toa and FOB-Oroua, Varsity will be hoping their 47-3 win over Freyberg will be the start of their charge to the playoffs.
The Sky Blues were ruthless in the freezing cold conditions scoring seven tries.
Freyberg wasted no time getting points on the board with a penalty in the second minute.
But they would not trouble the scoreboard attendants for the rest of the match.
Nick Birchfield, Atonio Walker-Leawere, who was a standout, and Tom Hughes all scored from short range top give the side 19-0 lead at the break.
As the rain persisted Varsity saw plenty of reward from keeping the ball tight. Hooker Nick Grogan scored two tries, while TamaToa Ropati and Regan Sword also crossed for the convincing win.
College Old Boys 30 (Michael Walsh, James Tofa, Awatere Kiwara, Andre Taylor tries; Stewart Cruden 2 con, 2 pen) Kia Toa 5 (Neal Tudreu try) HT 13-0
Feilding Yellows 46 (Luke Clarke, Josiah Maraku, Patohe Ropoama-Third, Hayden Stratford, Drew Wild, Matt Dalley tries; Brad Carr 5 con, 2 pen) Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 7 (Alex Hawira try; Tom Stewart con) HT 17-0
Old Boys-Marist 19 (Will Treder, Cam Black tries; Hayden Hill 3 pen) Te Kawau 0 HT: 14-0
Varsity 47 (Nick Grogan 2, Nick Birchfield, Tom Hughes, TamaToa Ropati, Atonio Walker-Leawere, Regan Sword tries; Birchfield 3 con, Cody Hemi 3 con) Freyberg 3 (Wiremu Morgan pen) HT 19-0