Westport defeated Marist 21-7 in their Jubilee Trophy fixture played in wet conditions at Patterson Park in Westport on Saturday.
Westport totally dominated the early stages of the game with Marist barely getting their hands on the ball, and when they did, numerous handling errors and a surprising lack of intensity proved costly at crucial times, giving their hosts a raft of possession.
Westport were duly rewarded for their early domination, when they opened the scoring in the 12th minute when lock Rangi Piri crashed over ten meters to the right hand side of the posts, after multiple phases of strong forward drives, with Andrew Norton-Taylor converting to give Westport a 7-0 lead.
Soon after, Marist fullback Jonah Huntley used his silky side-stepping and pace to spark several attacks that threatened the Westport try line on a couple of occasions, but was well contained by the determined Westport cover defence each time. Marist’s best first half scoring opportunity came in the 23rd minute when Corey Deans hit the posts with a penalty kick from close range.
Westport were again rewarded for their strong forward play, when prop forward Jack Best scored a try in the 32nd minute following another series of strong pick and goes close to the Marist line by their forwards. Norton-Taylor again converted to take the score to 14-0, a score that Westport would take to the half time break.
The introduction of Maleli Mudu to first five by Marist at half time helped spark the Marist team, and he proved a constant threat with ball in hand, but it was his forwards that helped get them on the scoreboard.
Following a sustained period of attack by the Marist forwards, flanker Paddrick Davison was driven over the line by his support only to be adjudged held up, but when the Westport team illegally wheeled the ensuing 5 meter scrum, referee Andrew Duncan had no hesitation in awarding Marist a penalty try making the score 14-7 in the 55th minute.
Any hopes of a comeback for Marist were soon snubbed out in the 63rd minute, with a thrilling backline move by Westport 30 meters out from the Marist line, finished off brilliantly by fullback Joel Hands who hit the line at pace and had too much speed for the Marist defence to score outwide, with Norton-Taylor again converting to give his team a scoreline of 21-7, a lead that they’d hold onto until the final whistle.
Westport coach Huey McMillan said it was a good game of rugby despite the weather, and he was thrilled with his forwards who dominated for long periods of time. “For us the Perata brothers, Matt at number 8, and Kahu at open side flanker had great games, and I was really happy with their performances, while in the backs Corey Jenkins at halfback, and fullback Joel Hands had standout games” McMillan said.
Marist coach Josh Costello praised the Westport side for their very well deserved win. “Westport played a great game in the conditions, and not only outplayed us, but out passioned us as well”. “We knew we were going to be challenged today, and I think this result is a massive wakeup call for our players, and I’ll be addressing areas for improvement this coming week at training .” Costello said.
Despite being disappointed with his sides performance, Costello singled out open side flanker Cody Fairhall for his tireless 80 minute effort.
Tries: R Piri, J Best, J Hands
Conversions: A Norton-Taylor x3
Try : Penalty Try
Tries: L Winter x3, P Te Rakau x2 , T Struthers x2, C Sargeant, K Parker, S McClure, D Delany, D Ikiau
Conversions: S McClure x7 , T Struthers x 1
Tries: N Davy, B Jackson, L Wylie, B Stewart
Conversions: A Richardson x2
Grey Valley 21
Tries: D Crouchley , Thor Manawatu, F Robertson
Conversions: Thor Manawatu x3
Tries: S Meldrum x2, N Cook O Smith, T Foster, J Tomlinson, L Hauraki, G Harbod
Conversions: J Garland x2, S Slaven 1
White Star 13
Tries: B Galey, L Mundy
Penalty: A Tailua