Marist St Pat’s and Northern United were both significant winners in two blockbuster eastern suburbs on Saturday at Kilbirnie Park and the Polo Ground.
MSP and Norths both produced top second half performances in beating home teams Poneke and Ories to both book their places in the Jubilee Cup with two weeks to spare.
MSP pulled cleared of Poneke to win their Horan-Millar Trophy match 42-28, while Norths beat Oriental-Rongotai for the To'omaga Alex Iona Memorial Cup 32-15.
Elsewhere, Old Boys University defeated a plucky Paremata-Plimmerton 31-20 at Ngatitoa Domain and the Hutt Old Boys Eagles overcame the Avalon Wolves 29-20 for the Billy Herbert Memorial Trophy.
These other two wins mean that OBU (on 47 points), Norths (45), HOBM (43) and MSP (40) can all start preparing for the championship rounds.
However, six teams - Petone, Tawa, Poneke, Oriental-Rongotai, the Upper Hutt Rams and Wainuiomata (mathematically possible) – are still alive chasing the remaining three spots over the final fortnight of the first round.
Just Avalon, Paremata-Plimmerton, the Wellington Axemen and Johnsonville are guaranteed to be heading to the Hardham Cup in June and July.
In other results on Saturday, Petone beat Wellington 55-0 at the Petone Recreation Ground, Tawa beat Wainuiomata 43-22 at William Jones Park and the Upper Hutt Rams beat Johnsonville 40-29 at Helston Park.
MSP first five-eighth James Proctor scored two of seven tries in their win over MSP in the ‘battle of Kilbirnie.’ Poneke led 22-12, but MSP came back to score a burst of three tries just before and just after halftime to move ahead 30-22. Poneke cut the gap with penalties but further tries to outside back Ryan Setefano and prop Ian Leota sealed their win.
Norths established an early 10-0 lead against Ories, which became 15-3 when flanker Du Plessis Kirifi scored again. The competition’s leading try-scorer Luca Rees crossed for Ories to close the gap to 10-15 at the break. Tries to Norths wings Liki Siliga and Junior Time helped clinch the victory.
Old Boys University were made to work hard by an improving Paremata-Plimmerton. The Goats scored the game’s first two tries, but a knock-on was hacked forward by Sean Hedges who out sprinted all chasers to the ball to make it 14-13 at halftime. No.8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas scored a try from a pushover scrum and second-five Greg Mullany also thrust through from close range to extend the Goats’ lead to 31-13. Paremata-Plimmerton had the final say, scoring again near the end.
Like OBU, HOBM scored two early converted tries, before Avalon came back to close to 14-13. HOBM prop Brett Manaia scored a key try just before halftime to make it 19-13. Avalon scored another converted try to prop Daley Ena (his second) and HOBM midfielder Albert Polu (his second) to advance the score to 24-20, before flanker Jordan Gillies scored late to seal the win for the Eagles.
Playing into a wind, Tawa scored three tries to lead 19-0 late in the first half. Wainuiomata scored a seven-pointer on halftime to lock Bevan Clark, before Tawa crossed for their bonus point try and a 26-7 lead. This became 36-12 and then 36-17 before both sides scored again at the end.
At the Petone Recreation Ground, home side Petone earned its second consecutive big win without conceding any points themselves, beating the Wellington Axemen 55-0 and retaining the Bill Francis / Jack Taylor Trophy. Petone’s win was based on forwards dominance, their set-piece paving the way for five first half tries and a 29-0 lead. This continued into the second half and No. 8 Tupou Sopoaga finished with a hat-trick and Villiami Fine a brace in his 50th game.
At Helston Park, the Upper Hutt Rams beat Johnsonville 40-29, after Johnsonville had leapt to a 17-0 lead. The Rams weathered the early storm and came back to score 33 unanswered points. They led 19-7 at halftime as the Hawks had two players handed yellow cards at one stage, and later 33-17 and 40-22.
Swindale Shield Points Table:
OBU 48, Norths 45, HOBM 44, MSP 40, Petone 37, Tawa 37, Poneke 34
Ories 27, Wainui 25, UH Rams 25, Avalon 17, Pare-Plim 16, Wgtn 12, Jville 1
Marist St Pat’s defeated third-placed Poneke 52-10 in a convincing Harper Lock Shield Premier Reserve win, to take their 11th straight win.
Northern United are just behind in second after edging Oriental-Rongotai 34-29, with OBU now in third after beating Paremata-Plimmerton 57-10.
Elsewhere Wainuiomata beat Tawa 16-14, Johnsonville and the Upper Hutt Rams drew 22-22, HOBM beat Avalon 45-33 and Petone held on to beat Wellington 36-29.
In the sixth round of the Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy, there were three matches on Saturday after the Avalon Wolves had defaulted to the OBU Impalas on Friday.
In the feature match of the day, Ories bounced back from their defeat to Norths last weekend by beating Paremata-Plimmerton 44-10. Ories put the afterburners on in the second 40 minutes after they led just 12-10 at the turnaround. Fullback Ayesha Leti-l’iga scored a hat-trick.
Northern United slipped past Poneke 92-0, with wing Dhys Faleafaga scoring five tries and kicking five conversions for 40 points and centre Christina Lafaele crossing for a hat-trick of tries.
Petone beat Hutt Old Boys Marist 29-17 after leading 14-0 in the other match. Marist St Pat’s had the bye.
The Marist St Pat’s Colts made it six wins from six in the Les Mills Paris Memorial Trophy competition, beating Tawa 25-19. Old Boys University and Northern United are second equal after OBU defeated defending champions Petone 57-5 at Te Whaea today and Norths beat Ories 36-32 at the same venue on Friday night. The Upper Hutt Rams beat HOBM Green 20-15 in today’s other Division 1 Colts fixture.
Paremata-Plimmerton won their sixth straight match in the Colts second division JRD Cup, beating OBU Black 28-7.
The Upper Hutt Rams (20 points) lead Eastbourne and Avalon (19) in a tightly contested U85kg Restricted competition race. The Rams beat MSP Red by default, while Eastbourne defeated the Wests Roosters 20-13 and Avalon beat the Horowhenua-Kapiti side 22-14.