Posted by Graeme Culton on 09/06/2014
In an extraordinary game of rugby which ended in a war of attrition, Waihi's premier Rugby team held off a determined Thames side to come away with a well deserved 17-11 victory at Waihi's rugby park on Saturday.
As a spectator, you would probably describe this match, the first game in the championship round, as one of the more bizarre matches you could witness.
From the opening whistle to the games end, the duration of the game was 2 hrs and 20 minutes. The 1st forty minutes produced some fine running rugby, with both teams trying to use the expansive game as much as possible.
Waihi were living off scraps of possession with Thames experienced tight five forwards making it extremely difficult for Waihi to win any clean ball.
On the back foot for most of this period, Waihi managed 2 successful raids into Thames territory, scoring 2 converted tries to their loose forwards, (Cam Irvine and Brett Ranga) to take a 14-11 lead into the 2nd half.
Right on the stroke of half time the first of the three serious injuries which occurred in the match happened. Mark Richardson suffered a serious lower arm injury and play was halted until an ambulance was called to help remove Mark from the field. Unfortunately shortly after play resumed for the 2nd half, a Thames player suffered a serious head knock leading again for the game to be stopped and another ambulance called. With the other ambulance having still not left the park it was not a pretty sight to see the 2 ambulances parked in the middle of the rugby field. To both teams credit, they carried on to entertain the crowd with more good open play rugby.
Midway through the second half, one of Waihi's very talented young players, Ethan Seymour was successful with his penalty attempt pushing Waihi out to a 17-11 lead to set up an exciting final 20 minutes.
In another fateful blow Waihi lost centre Nigel Neame to a serious arm injury, which also halted play for a period of time. With the late afternoon gloom setting in, Thames produced one last try scoring effort but Waihi's defence held tight and to everyone's relief, the referee finally blew the whistle to end this remarkable match.
In a gutsy team effort flanker come mid fielder Adam Ryan had an outstanding game, with his attack and defence and in the forwards; Captain Adrian Holmes produced another top performance.
Next Saturday Waihi will welcome back three players to help their ongoing injury list. They take on Mercury Bay in Waihi hoping to avenge their first round loss.
This Saturday is the Waihi Clubs Sponsors day, with all THREE senior sides playing at home proceeded by some good junior rugby. It will be a great days entertainment. See you all there.Â
Photo - Graeme Culton
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