August 2, 2022

Finals recap

On Saturday 16 July 2022, the Club enjoyed a great finals day before a huge crowd at Vogeltown Park.

We had two teams in the finals, Alsco Division 1 and Pepper Construction Colts. It was a great day on (and off the feild) for both teams, taking out the titles in their grades! The performances on finals day and throughout the year have been outstanding – congratulations to both teams for a great season. Read below for a breakdown of each match. 

Alsco NZ Division 1 – 2022 Champions

Undefeated champions. That’s what was at stake for our brave battlers on a brisk Saturday afternoon at The Fortress and Old Boys weren’t going to settle for anything less.

With 442 points scored throughout the regular season, versus a mere 134 against, some might have expected them to waltz through the finals like Liam McBride does in open pasture.

But finals are a different beast, and the squad knew that better than anyone so along they came to trainings in wet and windy conditions. A number of inspiring group messages came during the week and the team turned up on Saturday to finish this one last job. 

Our first 30-minutes didn’t go exactly to plan. Even this wise-beyond-their-years coaching and management team didn’t plan for the lack of possession and territory we had. “I think we’ve had the ball about twice!”, said one side-line analyst. They weren’t far off. Three Tukapa penalty kicks at the 2nd, 22nd and 26th minute marks, saw a 9-0 lead. Some might look at that score and panic. But not these cool heads. 9-0 down after 30-minutes, with only a handful of ball touches? We’ll take that. 

The ball was finally in Old Boys hands and Ratu Stark was running at the defence like Tom Cruise in a fighter jet. Pick-and-goes were a plenty and Jacko Carrington said “It’s no skin off my nose” and touched down before half 5-9 down. The job was not yet done. 

Old Boys intentions became clear seven minutes into the new half. A penalty five metres out, down by four, in a grand final. You’d go for three points, right? Wrong. Not for Skip Sammy Wiringi, with his non-cowardice approach. Try time to hearty Thomas Bowers under the sticks with a conversion to boot. Old Boys up 12-9.

A 51-minute mark penalty kick to Tukapa tied things up. But no one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe. Brodie Lilley lunged over near the corner five minutes later and Jordan Roylance capitalised on a loose-ball kick-and-chase try with 10 minutes to go. 

Old Boys outlasted some huge pressure plays in this final 10 minutes and Sean White knocked over a 30m penalty kick from in front (or what he told his friends was a game-winning 48m kick on the angle). As super-coach, Matt Harold, threw his drink bottle as high as the thousands of adoring fans cheering from the Whitehouse, Old Boys knew they’d done it. Final score 27-12. Undefeated champions. 

As the final hooter sounded, the 24-man squad was reminded of the team effort that led to this emphatic victory. From the injured over-30’s stalwarts hobbling over to celebrate, to the families cheering on the side-lines, who supported our men each game-day and stuck by them through their shenanigans off the pitch. From the courageous Colts and prestigious Premier players who joined our squad throughout the year, to the wonderful women and men in the Club working hard behind the scenes.

For now, we end another season with our win-streak at The Fortress still intact. A win-streak only surpassed by the All Blacks at Eden Park. Though our coaches and management show no signs of wavering.

  • Coaches: Matt Harold, Caleb Mawson, Jackson Carrington
  • Managers: Chris Harold, Thomas McElroy, James Wilson

Pepper Construction Colts – 2022 Champions

This was a game the Colts had been waiting for all year following the disappointing last minute-loss last year. The shaky semi-final win had been reviewed and further emphasis placed on the fact that finals football was a little different and important to play in the opposition’s half of the field along with the fact that our tackling needed to be more aggressive and lower.

Old Boys could not really have got off to be better start with a mistake by Stratford-Eltham on their goal line which resulted in Denzell Sofeni-Calder strolling over for the easiest try he will ever score to go up 5-0 after 2 minutes. For the next 20 minutes there was a lot of rugby played through the middle of the field where Old Boys threatened to break Stratford-Eltham open but small handling errors kept turning the ball over. At the 20-minute mark Max MacLachlan countered from a Stratford-Eltham exit and returned play around 40m and 2 phases later Tuterangi Anderson hit a short ball of Denzell, skipped out of a tackle and threw a dummy to score a brilliant individual try. Max followed that up with a conversion off the upright then cross bar and over for Old Boys to lead 12-0.

A short time later Old Boys were made to pay by not exiting its half and Stratford-Eltham got on the board with an unconverted try. Old Boys up 12-7.

A regroup at halftime focusing on playing at the right end of the field and continuing to be aggressive at the tackle/breakdown area.

Three second half tries that involved some really good teamwork, individual skill and good backing up sealed the game, all of which were converted resulted in a very convincing 33-7 win.

Points were scored by:

  • Tries: Denzell Sofeni-Calder, Tuterangi Anderson, Tamaiti Anderson, Autahi Anderson and Finlay Montgomery.
  • Conversion: Max MacLachlan, Mitch Proffit (2) and Denzell Sofeni-Calder

Player of the Day was Joel MacLachlan.

Congratulations to the Division 1 team on their win and commiserations to the Premier Team who fell short of the Final. It has been a very good year with a lot of cohesion and communication between all three teams.

Thanks to the continuing support of our Sponsor, Pepper Construction, and the work behind the scenes within the Club and all the new ideas brought to the table via Rugby Manager Adara Segedin.

  • Coaches: Ross Lilley, Trent Te Aporo Sutton, Jeremy Burton, Dean Stewart
  • Manager: Wade Donovan