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Paeroa’s Taimua Malielegaoi fends off Tiaontin Raoren. Photo: TVRFU

Club teams ‘sort out the cobwebs’

Thames Valley Rugby Union 2024 Silcock Shield Round 2
– from your wandering writer, Tighthead Ted.
Better weather greeted the teams across the Valley for the second round of the 2024 Silcock Shield. Teams are starting to sort out the cobwebs and show their colours, with good rugby played across the various venues. The first round of the Senior B competition kicked off also, with cracking matches, according to my network of rugby tragics at the games.
Whangamata v Paeroa: The Boom Pitt, Aickin Road, Whangamata. Referee: S Watts.
The defending champs are zero from two, not a position that they are unfamiliar with after last season’s start, but not an ideal way to start your two home matches. The red ‘n whites did though, come up against a Paeroa side that hit their straps early, and never took their foot off the accelerator throughout.
The green machine scored early through massive flanker Talea Faaleaoga, after a crossfield kick was not defused by Whangamata. Whangamata replied quickly, through a Raoran break and kick for Sonny Rau to gather and dot down in the corner. A fine sideline conversion by TJ Wise tied it up. Paeroa soon scored again, man mountain Talea Faaleoga again dotting down, and Whangamata were then chasing the game, and against a Paeroa side with the bit in their mouth, it was hard going for the home side.
While the score blew out to an extent, the match was hard fought, two big packs going hard at each other, with neither gaining constant ascendancy. Both packs had their moments, but it was the ball provided to the dangerous looking Paeroa backs that proved the difference.
Halftime saw the locals training 15-21, three tries to two. A good start, but unable to add to the score after the break, saw the game slowly slip away, Paeroa adding three more five pointers. Standouts for Paeroa were many, although special mention to packmen Silao Talimao, Talea Faaleoga and replacement hooker Oneone Faafou. Faafou was lethal, making inroads into the tiring Whangamata defence in the second spell. Midfielder Taimua Malielegaoi was also impressive, along with left wing John Penu. For the home side, the midfield pairing of David Dwyer and Joe Perawiti never stopped running, while up front captain Jacob Chaplin led by example in a tireless display. Prop Jordan Cordice and lock Chris Tuilotolava also featured prominently throughout. Paeroa Rugby & Sports 38 (I Telea Faaleaoga 2, J Penu, T Keith, T Malielegaoi, T Sauaga tries; N Emery 3, Malielegaoi conversions) beat Whangamata Rugby & Sports 15 (S Rau, T Raoran tries; S Wise conversion, penalty). HT 21-15.

Waihou v Thames: Boyd Park, Te Aroha. Referee: D Tui. Waihou overcame a sluggish first 40 to beat the resurgent Thames 14-10 in what was described as an ‘ugly’ game of rugby. Thames started well, dominating with possession and carry meters went into the break ahead 10-3.
They will rue a slew of missed chances and half chances that could have put Waihou away, but were unable to convert chances to points. Waihou, never a team to lie down and die, came out in the second spell with some top efforts off the bench seeing them shore up their set piece, and do enough to beat Thames.
Highlights of the match include the yellow card to Waihou veteran Craig Bedford two minutes after scoring what would be the decisive five pointer, the goal kicking of Adam Ratcliffe, Waihou openside flanker Max McLimont’s relentless work ethic, and the impact of Hazelton off the bench. Thames will be disappointed to not take many chances to score in a match that got away from them. They were well served by the tireless Caleb Duffin, starting at lock before moving into prop, a man with a big engine who was ready for a third half of rugby, and try scoring wing Siaosi Tuihalingingie, a constant threat.
Dali Tui, in his 99th start with the whistle, was commended by both sides for his control of the match. Waihou Rugby & Sports 14 (C Bedford try; A Ratcliffe 3 penalties) beat Thames 10 (S Tupou try; S Havealeta conversion, penalty). HT 3-10.
COBRAS v Mercury Bay: Boyd Park, Te Aroha. Referee: K Maaijen. After keeping pace throughout, and even shading the home side in the first 40, the young Mercury Bay side eventually went down swinging to the Snakes. With a first half that saw the Bay scoring, but then immediately letting COBRAS back to reply, a lack of concentration and experience saw the home side take control in the second spell and secure the comfortable win.
For the COBRAS there were many big efforts put in, but leading the way upfront were lock forward George Tuitupou and teenage flanker Junior Naba. Dangerous on the back of a dominant scrum was number 8 Kahura Moke with two tries, and in his 50th match, Shintayne Dare. Leroy Neels at halfback in his first match of the season was straight back to his best also. Mercury Bay had yeoman service from prop Anzac Waterhouse and Austin Brear, while Dane Mathew and Colville Green were classy for the double-digit men out the back. Te Aroha College Old Boys Rugby and Sports 42 (K Moke 2, S Schuler, E Naba, F Paseka, S Dare tries; L Neels, Paseka, Schuler conversions, Neels, Paseka penalties) beat Mercury Bay Rugby & Sports 22 (C Curren, J Finnerty, M Paurini tries; Curren, C Green conversions; Green penalty). HT 15-15.

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Hauraki North v Waihi Athletic: Waitakaruru International Stadium, Waitakaruru. Referee: R Rogers. A record winning score for the visiting team as Waihi’s resurgence in 2024 continues. With savvy recruiting in the off season, starting with a management team that is overhauling the whole club structure, the future is looking bright for Waihi Athletic.
Meanwhile North are struggling for numbers, but in true North fashion, despite the scoreline, never gave up, and late in the first spell it was only fantastic defence from the visitors that kept the home team scoreless. There is cavalry on the horizon forn the Blue Bulls though, with a few quality players due back in the next few weeks.
The tone of the match for Waihi was set early with some huge defence. Brett Ranga, back from injury, led the way with an opening hit that should have been registered with the earthquake commission. With the tone set, Waihi’s defence was relentless from then on in, and as the North scorecard would indicate, very tough to pierce. With the forwards paving the way, the Waihi back division was clinical in their execution, and loved the quality possession, scoring seven of the nine tries. Fullback Cam Gerlach was the main benefactor with four tries, often with two touches in a movement, proving the old adage, ‘pass early and backup’, is as good advice today as it was back when Bob Scott was kicking goals with his toes. The centre pairing of Dylan Rangi and Kahu Craig-Ranga were a handful, and the whole show was orchestrated well by Quinn Collard at 10.
North, while well beaten on the scoreboard, were not disgraced and scrapped from the first whistle through to the last. Veteran Matty Fisher was a standout, along with hooker Brad Lauder. And substitute lock Jacob Lowe brought much needed go forward for the final 25 minutes – a huge shift after playing for the North B’s earlier in the day. Waihi’s previous largest win over North was in 2018, a 41-8 win at Waitakaruru. Waihi Athletic 59 (C Gerlach 4, Q Collard 2, D Rangi 2, I Seiuli tries; Collard 7 conversions) beat Hauraki North 0. HT 21-0
Senior B results: (home team first): Hauraki North 7 – 22 Waihi Athletic; COBRAS 50 – 12 Mercury Bay; Waihou 20 – 19 Thames; Whangamata 15 – 27 Coromandel; Ngatea – bye.