Johnsonville earn first win of the season in closely fought second round openers

|   News

Three Jubilee and Hardham Cup opening round matches that went down to the wire, an opening win of the season for the Johnsonville Hawks and the first women’s trophy of the year presented to Northern United. 

In a trio of super-tight matches to start the championship second round, Oriental-Rongotai held on to beat Marist St Pat’s 29-22 (Jubilee Cup) and the Wellington Axemen defeated Avalon 22-20 and Wainuiomata overcame Paremata-Plimmerton 27-22 (both Hardham Cup).

Johnsonville are winless in 2018 no longer, breaking their duck with an emphatic 45-28 win over the Upper Hutt Rams in the third Hardham Cup match of the day. In another Jubilee Cup opener, Hutt Old Boys Marist beat Tawa 30-15.

The third scheduled Jubilee Cup opening afternoon fixture between Northern United and Poneke  was deferred, pending the outcome on Sunday afternoon of a hearing involving alleged player eligibility breaches of two Poneke players in the just completed Swindale Shield competition.


In the women’s competition, Northern United was presented with the first round Rebecca Liua’ana Cup as first round winners. Norths had won this last Saturday with this last round to spare, but they finished with a flourish in beating HOBM 87-5.


The first weekend of second round Les Mills Colts competitions kicked off on Saturday, with first round Division 1 champions Marist St Pat’s defeating first round Division 2 winners and promoted Paremata-Plimmerton 12-5 in one notable match.


The scoring pattern of the two Jubilee Cup matches that were played was similar with one team scoring early tries and building a big lead. One was overhauled, the other was enough to secure a victory.

At the Polo Ground, it was Marist St Pat’s that struck early and went to a 17-3 lead over home team Oriental-Rongotai.

A turning point came when Alex Ropeti kicked the ball down the middle and regathered but was tackled high. This resulted in a yellow card to a MSP defender and a penalty try. Ories No. 8 Luca Rees then scored his 18th try of the season soon after and it was 17-17 at halftime.

Ories plugged the corner and scored the game’s next two tries, through backs Malachai Unasa and Malo Tuitama, to extend their lead to 29-17. MSP lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi scored MSP’s bonus point try but the Magpies held on to win as the game finished with uncontested scrums and a MSP knock-on from a quick tap instead of a scrum 5 metres from the line.

At Lyndhurst Park, Hutt Old Boys Marist pounced on three early Tawa errors and their outside backs ran away to score three tries as a result. Fullback Chase Tiatia and wings Jerome Harimate and Albert Polu scored tries to put the Eagles up19-3.

Tawa’s forwards were climbing into their work, leading to a converted try to second five-eighth Kalim Kalemete off the top of an attacking lineout. The Eagles punished Tawa ill-disipline with two penalties and they led 25-10 at halftime.

Now with the wind, Tawa went close to crossing the tryline, but an all-in melee resulted in HOBM hooker Ben Power being yellow carded and Tawa lock Hemi Fermanis ordered off. The Eagles regrouped and scored what proved to be the winning try to second five-eighth Jayden Treviranus. Tawa eventually scored again, but it was too little too late and the visitors held on. 

Johnsonville deservedly took their first win of the season with a seven tries to four Hardham Cup win over the Upper Hutt Rams at Maidstone Park.

Johnsonville’s loose forwards were to the fore and with a new-found confidence raced to a 31-0 lead by halftime. The Rams got on the board early in the second 40 minutes, but so did Johnsonville, as the score advanced to 38-7. The Rams made a comeback and closed to 38-28, but Johnsonville sealed victory with another try.

At Fraser Park the result came down to a late penalty attempt by Avalon forward Daniel Smith. Trailing 20-22, Smith lined up a winning penalty but it shaved the uprights and the Wellington Axemen held on to win.

Earlier, halfback Gareth Simpson stole an intercept and raced clear to put the Axemen 14-8 up at halftime.  Axemen first five-eighth Te Raina Richards-Coxhead scored to increase the lead to 19-8, but Avalon scored their second try and then centre Chris Aumua raced 60 metres to put Avalon up 20-19. Richards-Coxhead then kicked what proved to be the winning penalty for Wellington.

At Ngatitoa Domain, Wainuiomata outscored home side two tries to one in the first half with the wind to lead 12-7 at the break. Wainuiomata then advanced their lead through to 27-10, with centre Peter Umaga-Jensen prominent in scoring two tries. Paremata-Plimmerton hung in there and closed it up. 


There were three comfortable wins and a closer victory in the ninth and final round of the first round Women's competition, with Northern United collecting the Rebecca Liua'ana Trophy and Marist St Pat's sealing their spot in the top tier of the second round competition that starts in a fortnight.

Northern United defeated Hutt Old Boys Marist 87-5 in their game at the Hutt Recreation Ground, with left wing Ofa Tuangalu and centre Dhys Faleafaga both scoring hat-tricks in the 13 tries to one win. Marist St Pat's beat Poneke 69-5, Ories beat Avalon 86-24 and Paremata-Plimmerton pipped Old Boys University 24-22 after OBU had held a 22-5 lead at halftime playing with the wind at Te Whaea. 


There were two results that went against the standings from the first round on the opening weekend of the Premier Reserve Ed Chaney Cup. Last week’s Harper Lock Shield champions Marist St Pat’s suffered their first loss of the year in losing 25-26 to Oriental-Rongotai who finished eighth while 12th placed HOBM beat sixth placed Tawa 34-23, setting the tone with a chargedown try moments after kick-off and also scoring an intercept and runaway early in the second half. 


It was high scoring at Fraser Park between the Wellington Axemen and the Avalon Wolves second XVs with the Axemen winning 48-43. Johnsonville made it two from two for their top sides today by overcoming the Rams 29-14 and Wainuiomata beat Paremata-Plimmerton 17-7 in the third Premier Reserve HD Morgan match.


In John E Kelly Cup Colts results, MSP beat Paremata-Plimmerton 12-5 (see above),  Northern United beat Petone 34-23, HOBM beat Tawa 25-5 and OBU beat the Upper Hutt Rams Colts 39-15 . Avalon edged Wellington 29-28 in their Colts Vic Calcinai Memorial Cup game, while Wainuiomata pipped Ories 22-20 in theirs. 


The Avalon Wolves earned their seventh straight win of the U85kg JC Bowl competition with a 50-3 win over MSP Red, to continue to set the pace in that competition.