Uawa repel Wairoa challenge

It was a game that delivered on the hype.

Uawa beat Wairoa 15-8 in near-perfect conditions at Tolaga Bay yesterday to retain the Barry Cup.

Co-captains Harley Phillips and BJ Sidney, along with Kelvin Smith, scored a try each for Uawa against skilful, determined opposition.

Halfback Chris Richardson, first five-eighth Tane McGuire and centre Kelvin Smith played major roles in Uawa’s third defence of the cup.

Uawa won the toss and played into the wind. Seven and a-half minutes into the game, they set an attacking scrum five metres out from Wairoa’s goal-line in front of the posts. Two phases later, Richardson popped up a great pass on the right to No.8 Phillips, who surged two metres through three defenders to open the scoring.

In the 22nd minute, Wairoa won their own lineout ball on the right sideline at halfway. Openside flanker Kurt Taylor ran 30 metres before being brought down by Uawa left-winger George Halley. Three rucks in-field later, Wairoa prop Jordan Biddle ploughed over the line for 5-5.

Twelve minutes before halftime, long passes from Richardson and McGuire got the ball to Smith on the right. His back-flick was picked up by Sidney, who grounded the ball in the right corner to make it 10-5 to Uawa at halftime.

Wairoa played with commitment. Back-row forwards Quentin King and Dave Gallagher ran tirelessly, hard and straight with the ball in hand, and it was Gallagher who got the ball to Taylor in the lead-up to Biddle’s try.

Fullback Sean Taylor’s positional play and courage also shone through for Wairoa. His cover defence against Halley in the 10th minute and Smith three minutes before the break defused dangerous situations.

The visitors’ first-five, Tione Hubbard, is a great talent, who sees space, sparks counter-attacks and is tough. He made a superb one-on-one tackle against Uawa right-winger Tawhao Stewart.

Uawa prop Pera Bishop, backing up from Ngati Porou East Coast’s Heartland Championship game against West Coast the previous day, carried the ball with the same gusto as Biddle, and Kurt Taylor proved he has more than one string to his bow in kicking a penalty goal in the 53rd minute. Uawa then led 10-8.

Uawa finished the game with 14 men, after prop Laman Davies was shown a yellow card by referee Les Thomas for a scrum infringement related to binding.

Four and a half minutes from time, Uawa sealed victory. Having opted for a midfield scrum just inside Wairoa’s 22, Phillips ran right side off the back and sent a long pass to Richardson, who then found Smith on the inside to score five metres in from the right corner for 15-8.

A crowd of close to 800 enjoyed a fast-paced, physical game. Wairoa sub-union and Athletic life member and 50-year servant Bill Meek was among them.

He said this year’s Wairoa team had great unity.

“The sub-union is very important now because of the development of the home round under our chairman, Toby Taylor,” he said.

“It’s all good positive stuff.”

Uawa captain BJ Sidney said the game was “too close for comfort”.

“They put us off our game,” he said.

“They were menacing in every phase of play.”

Uawa coach Tip Nukunuku agreed that things were tight, although he believed his forwards had an edge up front.

Wairoa captain Brendon Bishop, who led his team by example on the carry and the tackle, acknowledged Uawa’s quality.

“They looked to use the full width of the field and they capitalised on our errors. We played fairly well but it was just little things, like handling errors, that made a bit of a difference.

“For guys who only trained together a handful of times, though, I think our team came together. I’m proud of the boys.”

Wairoa coach Mac Kapene said his side were on the back foot a lot of the time.

“Our play at the set piece was OK, but it could have been even better,” he said.

“The boys showed a lot of heart. We certainly had opportunities.”

Referee Thomas was assisted by Colin Shanks and Kim Cranswick.

UAWA 15 (Harley Phillips, BJ Sidney, Kelvin Smith tries) WAIROA 8 (Jordan Biddle try; Kurt Taylor pen).

HT: 10-5.

It was a game that delivered on the hype.

Uawa beat Wairoa 15-8 in near-perfect conditions at Tolaga Bay yesterday to retain the Barry Cup.

Co-captains Harley Phillips and BJ Sidney, along with Kelvin Smith, scored a try each for Uawa against skilful, determined opposition.

Halfback Chris Richardson, first five-eighth Tane McGuire and centre Kelvin Smith played major roles in Uawa’s third defence of the cup.

Uawa won the toss and played into the wind. Seven and a-half minutes into the game, they set an attacking scrum five metres out from Wairoa’s goal-line in front of the posts. Two phases later, Richardson popped up a great pass on the right to No.8 Phillips, who surged two metres through three defenders to open the scoring.

In the 22nd minute, Wairoa won their own lineout ball on the right sideline at halfway. Openside flanker Kurt Taylor ran 30 metres before being brought down by Uawa left-winger George Halley. Three rucks in-field later, Wairoa prop Jordan Biddle ploughed over the line for 5-5.

Twelve minutes before halftime, long passes from Richardson and McGuire got the ball to Smith on the right. His back-flick was picked up by Sidney, who grounded the ball in the right corner to make it 10-5 to Uawa at halftime.

Wairoa played with commitment. Back-row forwards Quentin King and Dave Gallagher ran tirelessly, hard and straight with the ball in hand, and it was Gallagher who got the ball to Taylor in the lead-up to Biddle’s try.

Fullback Sean Taylor’s positional play and courage also shone through for Wairoa. His cover defence against Halley in the 10th minute and Smith three minutes before the break defused dangerous situations.

The visitors’ first-five, Tione Hubbard, is a great talent, who sees space, sparks counter-attacks and is tough. He made a superb one-on-one tackle against Uawa right-winger Tawhao Stewart.

Uawa prop Pera Bishop, backing up from Ngati Porou East Coast’s Heartland Championship game against West Coast the previous day, carried the ball with the same gusto as Biddle, and Kurt Taylor proved he has more than one string to his bow in kicking a penalty goal in the 53rd minute. Uawa then led 10-8.

Uawa finished the game with 14 men, after prop Laman Davies was shown a yellow card by referee Les Thomas for a scrum infringement related to binding.

Four and a half minutes from time, Uawa sealed victory. Having opted for a midfield scrum just inside Wairoa’s 22, Phillips ran right side off the back and sent a long pass to Richardson, who then found Smith on the inside to score five metres in from the right corner for 15-8.

A crowd of close to 800 enjoyed a fast-paced, physical game. Wairoa sub-union and Athletic life member and 50-year servant Bill Meek was among them.

He said this year’s Wairoa team had great unity.

“The sub-union is very important now because of the development of the home round under our chairman, Toby Taylor,” he said.

“It’s all good positive stuff.”

Uawa captain BJ Sidney said the game was “too close for comfort”.

“They put us off our game,” he said.

“They were menacing in every phase of play.”

Uawa coach Tip Nukunuku agreed that things were tight, although he believed his forwards had an edge up front.

Wairoa captain Brendon Bishop, who led his team by example on the carry and the tackle, acknowledged Uawa’s quality.

“They looked to use the full width of the field and they capitalised on our errors. We played fairly well but it was just little things, like handling errors, that made a bit of a difference.

“For guys who only trained together a handful of times, though, I think our team came together. I’m proud of the boys.”

Wairoa coach Mac Kapene said his side were on the back foot a lot of the time.

“Our play at the set piece was OK, but it could have been even better,” he said.

“The boys showed a lot of heart. We certainly had opportunities.”

Referee Thomas was assisted by Colin Shanks and Kim Cranswick.

UAWA 15 (Harley Phillips, BJ Sidney, Kelvin Smith tries) WAIROA 8 (Jordan Biddle try; Kurt Taylor pen).

HT: 10-5.

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