Wellington U19s and Pride win first games

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The pattern of wins for Wellington teams continued today when the Wellington U19s beat their Otago counterparts 22-3 in the first round of the Jock Hobbs Memorial U19 tournament in Taupo.

On Saturday night, the Wellington Lions clung on to beat the Bay of Plenty Steamers 16-15 in Rotorua in a gripping Mitre 10 Cup Premiership encounter, while earlier in the day at Porirua Park the Wellington Pride edged the Bay of Plenty Volcanix 32-29 to win their first Farah Palmer Cup match of the year.

Centre Bernadette Robertson scored the winning try for the Wellington Pride with three minutes to play to give the Pride the lead for the final time of the match, only a few minutes after BOP had seemingly scored the winning try in the opposite corner.

In the 73rd minute, BOP had won a turnover on their own 22, moving the ball wide to left wing Autumn Rain Stephens-Daly who dashed through to score in the corner to put them up 29-27.

From the next kick-off, the Pride regained possession back and launched an attack and were soon rewarded when Robertson crashed over for the match-winner.

Earlier, the Pride had made a fast start on Jerry Collins Stadium, opening BOP up from a scrum on halfway and first five-eighth Montana Heslop slicing through and setting up a try to Norths left wing Kolora Lomani.

BOP had first use of a southerly wind running down the ground and soon capitalised on a Pride dropped ball with a try to second five-eighth Renee Wickliffe. They went up 12-5 when prop Baye Jacob powered over Wellington replied with a try from a turnover from a scrum near the line and halfback Ana Marie-Afuie scored to make it 12-12.

BOP struck back twice more before halftime to go ahead 24-12. Hooker Luca Connor scored first after they ran back a clearing kick and industrious blindside flanker Kendra Reynolds scored first phase from a lineout 30 metres out.

The Pride replied with a crucial try on halftime, building phases and taking a quick tap from a penalty and left wing Lomani diving over in the corner to cut BOP lead to 24-17 at halftime.

In the 53rd minute, Wellington broke the deadlock when a 20 metre break by lock Jonah Ngan-Woo up the middle resulted in a try to replacement prop Raylene Lolo in support. This cut the gap to 24-22.

In the 68th minute, Wellington won a turnover from a BOP defensive lineout in the corner and swung play back across the posts to the grandstand and fullback Thamsyn Newton scored to make it 27-24.

With the wind in their favour and the reserves coming on and making a difference, the Pride appeared to be wrestling control. But the match unfolded in the final several minutes with Stephens-Daly’s try for the visitors followed by Robertson’s winning score for the home side.

The early game at Porirua Park was also exciting, with the U18 Wellington Community girls team beating the U18 Girls Centurions 38-34.

The Wellington Maori side beat the Wellington Samoans 39-24 in their feature Festival Cup match at the Petone Recreation Ground.

In the curtain-raiser at Petone, the U18 Centurions beat the Wellington Samoans U18s 17-12.

The Wellington Centurions beat the Hawke’s Bay Saracens 43-41 in Napier in their match.Trailing 12-22 at halftime, the Centurions scored early second half tries to take the lead, but the home side came back again and it was 36-36 late in the game. Hawke’s Bay scored to put themselves up 41-36, but the Centurions scored at the end to take the win.

The Wellington U16 Development team beat the Wairarapa-Bush U16As 40-29 in their match in Masterton.