Report by Harry Pottinger-Coombes, Year 12
On Thursday, 18th August, old rivals Westlake Boys and Rosmini College met at QBE stadium in the final of the North Harbour 1A Championships. Having won one game apiece earlier in the season, the match was sure to be close and high in intensity. The crowd was electric, with supporters coming out in their hundreds to cheer their schools. As Rosmini performed their haka, Westlake walked forward confidently to show they were very much up for the challenge. From kick-off, the intensity and tension between the sides was phenomenal, with ferocious tackles being made and the occasional scuffle. An early penalty from Rosmini halfback, Connor Leather, gave Rosmini the lead which they carried through to halftime. Both sides created opportunities but were not able to convert, partly because of the standard of defence being played. However, this was to change in the second half.
Leather kicked another penalty for Rosmini, increasing their lead to 6-0. Soon after, Westlake fullback, Johnny Cooper, broke out from his own half before spreading it to his winger, who in turn passed inside to first-five, Nikau Graham. Just metres from the line, three phases later, Tupou Afungia crashed over to score. Westlake were finally on the board; however, the conversion was missed and they were still down 6-5. Rosmini were quick to respond, reclaiming the ball off the restart and scoring minutes later in the left corner. The conversion was missed but Rosmini had re-established their lead.
The tries kept coming, with Graham making a break out of nowhere and flicking it inside to Drage, 10 metres from the line. Westlake earned a penalty and kicked for touch. They stayed patient off the line-out and Lotu Inisi scored from close range in a similar position to the previous one. Cooper nailed this conversion and a roar went up from the Westlake crowd as they had their first lead of the game, up 12-11 with 18 minutes to go. Westlake had the momentum and defended superbly for the next 10 minutes. However, eventually they caved to the wave of Rosmini attack. After a long period in the Westlake half, Rosmini spread the ball out to right winger, Barlow, who showed great strength and speed to score in the corner. The conversion was good and Rosmini had reclaimed their 6 point lead with eight minutes to go. Westlake immediately attacked off the kick-off and came within metres from the try line numerous times but couldn’t control the ball. Eventually, the siren went, Westlake knocked the ball on and the game was over. Rosmini became 2017 North Harbour 1A Champions with a final score of 18-12. It was a heart-breaking loss in what was otherwise an extremely successful season for Westlake.
|WEEKLY RUGBY DRAWS AND RESULTS||DATE:||19-Aug|
|2nd XV||Kaipara College||WBHS 1||12.00pm||W||67-0||Final next week|
|3rd XV||Birkenhead 2nd XV||Birk||9.30am||L||15-24|
|4th XV||Albany Senior 1st XV||WBHS 1||9.30am||W||31-7||3rd Grade Champs|
|6A||Kaipara College||WBHS 2||10.40am||W||62-0||Final next week|
|6B||Rangitoto 2||WBHS 3||10.40am||W||48-5||Final next week|
|7 Green||Westlake Red||WBHS 3||9.30am||L||23-24|
|7 Red||Westlake Green||WBHS 3||9.30am||W||24-23||7B Champions|