Feilding Old Boys-Oroua claim Hankins Shield in thriller
It took a nail-biting five minutes of referee’s time, but Feilding Old Boys-Oroua are at the 2018 Hankins Shield champions.
They beat Feilding Yellows 24-22 in the senior one final at CET Arena on Saturday.
The Stags had to endure in excess of 25 phases of Yellows attack as the clock ticked down before referee Tim Griffiths awarded them a penalty, effectively ending the match.
It was a final that lived up to its billing as the biggest game of the McDonald’s Senior One club rugby season.
The drama on the field the field was reflected in the stands where a bumper crowd deafening chants for both sides.
The Stags came out of gates firing in the opening minutes.
With the wind at their backs they got stuck into Yellows, pinning them inside their own half.
Fullback Junior Laloifi ensured that was reflected on the scoreboard when he crossed for the opening try within the first five minutes.
Things only got worst for Yellows when flanker Hayden Stratford was yellow carded for a high tackle in the 12th minute.
But despite getting close, the Stags could not get back across the line.
That allowed Yellows to warm into the game.
By the time Stratford returned from the bin, they had started to register some positive territiory.
And just one minute after Stratford’s return, second five-eighth Carlos Ropoama-Third grabbed the ball as it popped out the side of the ruck and ran 30m for the try.
But FOB-Oroua did not go away and flanker George Macpherson started to get more involved in the game, as did No 8 Alex Hawira.
On the back of a solid run of phase play, Laloifi bagged his second to give the Stags back the lead.
Brad Carr kicked a penalty just before halftime to cut the deficit to four.
The Stags wasted no time getting back on the scoreboard in the second half with George Macpherson crossing.
But much like the first half, there was more drama to come.
With the Yellows scrum piling on the pressure, Ropoama-Third cut back on the angle to score Yellows’ second try.
The Stags did an excellent job containing Yellows No 8 Sam Wasley despite their struggles at scrum time.
The back-and-forth arm wrestle continued, but when Feilding hooker Ricky Cribb thundered over in the left-hand corner, it looked like Yellows would steal the match late.
The Stags got back down inside Yellows’ half and were awarded a penalty which Paora Rakatau nudged over the sticks for the two-point lead with four minutes to play.
But their attempts to spend the final four minutes running out the clock failed as Yellows got the turnover.
Charge after charge, Yellows attacked until with 30 seconds on the clock, they were penalised.
FOB-Oroua kicked for touch, all they needed to do was win the lineout, keep the ball tight and wait out the clock.
Instead, messy lineout ball was fired into the backline where it was spilt giving Yellows a final glimmer of hope.
They were hunting for a penalty.
First five-eighth Andy Williams was in the pocket for a dropped goal attempt.
They hammered the ball close to the ruck making strong metres.
But FOB-Oroua were disciplined and when the opening came to contest the rick came, they did and were rewarded by the sound of the referee’s whistle.
College Old Boys claimed the Houilhan Cup Senior 2 final with a 21-10 win over Old Boys-Marist.
It broke a 20-drought for COB in the Senior 2 competition.
The table-toppers led the match 7-3 at halftime and put the game beyond doubt with a strong second half.
Feilding won the Senior 2 Cup, for the teams ranked fifth to eighth, over Rams 27-20.
Wanganui Metro smoked ahead to a 33-0 lead in the colts final at halftime. There were no points in the second half.
Kia Toa Kavaliers put another dent in what could have been a magical day for Yellows by claiming a 15-8 win.
It was a tight match, a fair reflection of the close battle between the top two sides in the grade all season.
The scores were level at halftime.
In the Val Holland Cup, College Old Boys won 22-12 over Old Boys-Marist.
It was a battle of two senior one sides who did not want to be contesting fifth.
But COB surged ahead to 15-0 at the break and were too good in the second half.
HANKINS SHIELD (senior 1)
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 24 (Junior Laloifi 2, George Macpherson tries; Paora Rakatau 3 con, pen) Feilding Yellows 22 (Carlos Ropoama-Third 2, Ricky Cribb tries; Brad Carr 2 con, pen) HT 14-10 FOB-Oroua
VAL HOLLAND (senior 1)
College Old Boys 22-12 Old Boys-Marist
HOULIHAN CUP (senior 2)
College Old Boys 21-10 Old Boys-Marist
SENIOR 2 CUP (senior 2)
Feilding 27-20 Rams
LIFE MEMBERS CUP (senior 3)
Kia Toa 15-8 Feilding
GORDON BROWN MEMORIAL CUP (Colts)
St John’s Wanganui Metro 33-0 College Old Boys