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Thames’ Laulea Mau heads for the try line amid the Bay’s fierce defence. Photo: TERESA RAMSEY

Wet start for Valley’s premier rugby

Silcock Shield Round 1 – from your roving reporter, Tighthead Ted.
Wet weather was the order of the day as Thames Valley Premier rugby kicked off for the 2024 season. All matches were played in less than ideal conditions, but the fields held up well, and close tussles across the board resulted.
Paeroa v Waihī Athletic; Centennial Park, Paeroa. Referee: AJ Hartley.
An ill-disciplined Paeroa side gifted their neighbours Waihī a win in this first round clash, with five penalties and a penalty try cancelling out two tries to their powerful blindside flanker Ionatana Talea Faaleaoga.
An early Waihī penalty was countered by the two Paeroa touchdowns, both unconverted. Waihī then controlled the remainder of the first spell, and some long range goalkicking from Quinn Collard saw them take the lead back in three point bites before a penalty try for a blatant offside saw the halftime score 19-10 to Waihī.
The second 40 saw an arm wrestle in the dour conditions, Collard landing another three pointer the only scoring. Waihī controlled much of the spell, turned down points trying for lineout drives, which the large Paeroa pack repeatedly repelled. Paeroa had their moments late in the game, but Waihī were up to the challenge.
Big games from Waihī came from number eight Isaac Sului and openside flanker Kenan Gilson, and first five Collard controlled the match well. Paeroa’s big pack was well served by two try hero Faaleaoga and big lock Silao Talimao. Waihī Athletic 22 (Penalty try; Q Collard 5 penalties) beat Paeroa Rugby & Sports 10 (IT Faaleaoga 2 tries). HT 19-10.
Whangamatā v Waihōu; Boom Pitt, Whangamatā. Referee: Dali Tui-Taylor.

Waihōu continued their recent dominance over Whangamatā with a solid 19-13 victory over the red ‘n’ whites. Despite the wet conditions, a high tempo game of rugby unfolded in front of a good Beach Hop weekend crowd at the Boom Pitt.
With neither pack being able to gain clear ascendancy, the game was on the knife edge from the first whistle to the last. With the scores tied up at the half 10 all, Waihōu managed to win the battle of threes in the second stanza.
In his blazer game for Waihōu (60 matches) number eight Hamish McClennan was powerful with ball in hand, constantly breaking the advantage line, and fellow milestone man (150 games), Ryan Waite was also powerful, snaring Waihōu’s only try. Whangamatā were well served by powerful scrummaging props Jordan Cordice and Tobias Pulley, converted flanker Jack O’Halloran and veteran halfback TJ Wise.
Waihōu Rugby & Sports 19 (R Waite try; A Ratcliffe conversion, 4 penalties) beat Whangamatā 13 (S Rau try; TJ Wise conversion, 2 penalties). HT 10-10.
COBRAS v North; Boyd Park, Te Aroha. Referee: Ryan Rogers.

In the closest match of the weekend, the home team managed to hold out visitors Hauraki North 8-5, after holding the visitors scoreless until the final act of the match. With neither team being able to exert clear dominance, and conditions making ball handling a lottery at times, the final margin of victory was a fair indication of the how the match went.
COBRAS number eight Kahura Moke led from the front, ably assisted by hooker Shontayne Dare, while returning midfielder Sione Etone was into everything.
Te Aroha College Old Boys Rugby and Sports 8 (K Moke try, S Schuler penalty) beat Hauraki North 5 (F Anderson try). HT 8-0.
Thames v Mercury Bay; Rhodes Park, Thames. Referee: Wayne Berry.
Another game in the wet, going down to the wire with Mercury Bay bring the game to 16-19, and Thames holding on for the win. Thames scored an early converted try before the young Mercury Bay side ground their way back into the match with three penalties to take the lead at the orange break 9-7.
The halftime break did wonders for Thames, and with the subs rolling on they started to gain some forward dominance. With the score at 19-9 a comfortable win looked in the offing.
However, in typical Mercury Bay fashion, the coastal boys hit back with a late try but were unable to crack the solid Thames defence for a winning score. The Thames loose trio of Luke Chambers, Dalton Broughton and Laulea Mau Fangufangu combined well for the winners, and showing their class for Mercury Bay were hard working forwards Austin Brear and Jammie Finnerty, along with Charlie Best and Connor McLeod in the backline.
Thames Rugby & Sports 19 (J Ward, C Saunders, L M Fangufangu tries, S Havealeta 2 conversions) beat Mercury Bay Rugby & Sports 16 (C Best try, C Curran conversion, 3 penalties). HT 7-9.