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Cam Gerlach (Waihi Athletic) looks for an offload. Photo: TVRFU

Waihou, Waihī remain undefeated

2024 Silcock Shield Round Three – hot off Tighthead Ted’s keyboard. The third round teed off with squally weather throughout the Valley, four seasons in one day stuff, with showers, sun, wind and snow from Mercury Bay to Paeroa and venues in between.
Waihi Athletic v Whangamata
Waihi Athletic Rugby Club, Kenny St, Waihi.  Referee: W Berry.
An opening try from the first kick off saw Waihi lead this match from the 27th second to the final whistle. Waihi racked up another six tries in the process, but also conceded three to a Whangamata side that was well beaten, but never threw in the towel.  Cam Gerlach’s withering pace outflanked the Whangamata chase line, and inside passes as each covering defender arrived to make the tackle saw halfback Asher Delany score beside the sticks.
Another couple of quick scores to Waihi saw them race out to 19 nil before a shell shocked Whangamata finally started to get some possession and make some inroads into a ferocious Waihi defence. From a series of rucks on the line, Kiharoa Gilbert crashed over to get Whangamata off their duck.
Waihi were running hot though, and two quick tries to industrious hooker Josh Tye, one from a lineout drive and one in “Fitzy fashion” on the wing saw a commanding 31-7 lead at the break.
Stern words from the Whangamata staff saw them take the game to the home side more, and a staggering 20m lineout drive saw a try to big lock Tim Bond, and fellow lock Ben Laurie also troubled the score with a charge down and five pointer.  Both these efforts were well converted from out wide by Tiaontin Raoren.

Unfortunately for Whangamata they also conceded two converted tries, one a shocker from the kickoff once again, when no one took the kick, and wing Dylan Bellamy dived on to the ball to claim the five points. A carving run by Kenan Gillson, who gifted the try to dynamic prop James Mahi, rounded out the day’s events on the pitch.
Players to catch the eye from Waihi were prop Mahe and his front row partner Josh Tye and tough tackling loose forward Brett Ranga. The game was controlled by Quinn Collard in ten, and across the board the backs were dangerous with ball in hand. Whangamata’s bookends Pulley and Cordice, lock Chris Tuilotolava and Tupou Tonga led many of the Whangamata charges.  Raoren at halfback was the pick of the backs, along with Joe Perawiti at 12 who was always a handful for the defence.
Waihi Athletic 45 (A Delany, I Seiuli, B Ranga, J Tye 2, J Mahe, D Bellamy, tries;  Q Collard 5 conversions) beat Whangamata 21 (K Gilbert, T Bond, B Laurie tries, T Raoren 3 conversions).  HT 31-7.

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Paeroa v COBRAS
Centennial Park, Paeroa.  Referee:  D Tui-Taylor.
In windy conditions, two unbeaten teams gave the crowd a cracking display of premier rugby. Another top display of refereeing in his 101st game from Dali Tui kept the match flowing.
A hard game played by two big packs, with COBRAS shading the Paeroa eight at the set piece, but a lack of fitness meant they could not press home this advantage. The Paeroa backline was slick and scored some great long-range tries, with Emery, Beazley and Malielegaoi orchestrating the majority of the damage.  COBRAS were not helped by the early loss of midfielder Sione Etoni, which saw 2023 NZ Divisional halfback Leroy Neels move to first five and also fullback.
Paeroa was well served by the above mentioned players, along with hard running winger John Penu and flanker Oshea Te Oka-Cox. Stand outs for the losing COBRAS side were Cam Dromgool, Neels, Sergio Schuler and try-scoring hooker Shontayne Dare.
Paeroa 43 (J Penu 2, H Beazley, T Malielegaoi, S Toloa, K May-Maatafeo, L Aufai tries; N Emery 4 conversions), beat COBRAS 15 (F Paseka, S Dare, L Neels tries).  HT 17-5.
Thames v Hauraki North
Rhodes Park.  Referee:  S Watts.
A typical windy Rhodes Park greeted North for their clash with neighbours Thames and after taking the breeze in the first spell, North would have been disappointed with trailing 6-12. The Blue Bulls had plenty of possession but could not convert to points, and with Thames turning after 40 with the wind at their backs, it was not a deficit that could be reeled in.
The Thames win was orchestrated by halfback Seth Roe, who helped himself to two tries in the process, and an Iron Curtain defence, and a dominant scrum.  North never gave up, and for a long period in the second spell hammered on the Thames line for no reward. Matty Fisher at halfback and Riki Watene were tireless in their endeavors to break the Thames line, along with flanker Leyton Penu.

Thames 22 ( S Roe 2, D Hughes, S Tutapu tries; Hughes conversion) beat North 6 (E Fiavaai 2 penalties).  HT 12-6.
Mercury Bay v Waihou
Lyon Park, Whitianga.  Referee:  R Rogers.
Mercury Bay gave unbeaten Waihou a few scares before succumbing to their powerful forward pack in an exciting match at Lyon Park. The more mobile home eight was sucked into an arm wrestle with the Waihou pack, who loved not having to cover half the park to make it to rucks and mauls. 
Trailing by just five at the half, the home team’s inability to create sustained pressure saw them fade away in the second half. Too many penalties and errors gave the grizzled veterans of the Waihou pack possession close to the line, two tries from lineout was the winning and losing of the match.
The home side saw top performances from many, but standing out were Anzac Waterhouse at prop, second five Dane Mathew, and replacement loose forward Tyrese Melde, at 18, was into everything like a rabid bulldog. Waihou’s pack effort was led by lock Tim Erceg from lock, and the returning Sam Van Der Valk at hooker scored a dot. Adam Radcliffe continued his fine season from 10, and powerful winger Eliki Sicinlawa’s direct running earned him two five pointers.
Waihou 29 (Sicinlawa 2, H McClennan, Van Der Valk tries; Radcliffe 3 conversions, penalty) beat Mercury Bay 17 (C McLeod, L Lipa tries;  C Curren 2 conversions, penalty).  HT 22-17.
Senior B Results: Thames 21 lost to Whangamata 27; Waihi Athletic 35 beat COBRAS 24; Mercury Bay 12 beat Ngatea 8; Coromandel 53 beat North 0.