Saturday 4th June, kick-off 12.10pm – Massey High School
By Tony Vinicombe
Westlake and Massey have been stern rivals over many years. In the Harbour era they have clashed 58 times; Westlake emerging winners on 38 occasions. Although the win/loss ledger was evenly balanced at 15 wins apiece in the 1999-2011 period, Westlake has won 8 of the 9 matches since then.
Both schools have managed impressive winning sequences over the years – Westlake won 8 in a row from 1985-92 and Massey managed 5 on the trot from 2001-03. In more recent seasons, Massey won all 3 matches in 2011; Westlake did the same in 2012; Westlake won the 2 matches played in each of the last 2 seasons.
Massey are always daunting opponents, particularly when their heavy forward pack provide their speedy outside backs with ample opportunities. Not to be outdone, Westlake has proven it can soak up the pressure more often than not coming out on top in close games.
Were you at these matches? In the 2000 Final at Onewa Domain, the Winston Cowie led Westlake team had the wood over their more fancied Massey opponents with David Brodie, Arnold Sua and Sam Stainton try scorers in the 24-12 upset. Again in a Harbour Final, this time in 2005 at East Coast Bays, Chris Smith and his Westlake team hung on grimly to a 10-5 lead whilst wave after wave of Massey forward thrusts attempted unsuccessfully to breach their line in those final pulsating minutes. Try scorers – Brock Mustard and Jordan Hyland. Back in 2011, a magnificent forward effort, with captain Sam Viskovich, Sam Quinn and Boyd Wiggins, was not quite enough to prevent an 18-20 loss.
Current form, and a likely wet track, suggest another close one. Massey are unbeaten, as too are Westlake with a narrow win over Rosmini two weekends back and the 74-0 margin over Whangarei BHS, who have recently joined the Harbour competition, last weekend.
Kick-off is 12.10pm at Massey High School.