Win and a try to celebrate

CUTTING THROUGH: Poverty Bay man of the match Ethine Reeves tries to burst through a gap in the King Country defence at Rugby Park on Saturday. Poverty Bay won 43-29. Picture by Paul Rickard
Poverty Bay and Ngatapa legend Sione Ngatu holds up framed jerseys of his provincial side Poverty Bay and club team Ngatapa presented to him after the Bay’s Heartland Championship game against King Country on Saturday.
Ngatu capped his 151st game for the LeaderBrand Bay side with a try in a 43-29 Heartland Championship victory at Rugby Park — a win that kept alive the Bay’s hopes of making the Lochore Cup (fifth to eighth) playoffs.
Ngatu played his 150th the weekend before against North Otago in Oamaru.
His Ngatapa club took the opportunity on Saturday to mark the 150 occasion and the 192 times he has played for a club he joined in 2003 by presenting him the framed jerseys.
Looking on are Ngatapa and Poverty Bay Rugby Footbal Union life member Grant Allen (who played 118 games for the Bay) and Ngatapa chairman Stephen Thomson

SIONE Ngatu celebrated his 151st game for Poverty Bay with a try in their 43-29 win against King Country at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The six-tries-to-four victory over King Country kept alive LeaderBrand Poverty Bay’s hopes of a place in the Heartland Championship Lochore Cup (fifth-to-eighth-placed teams), with one round-robin game remaining.

But as is the norm with Ngatu, it was all about the result and others.

“It was nice to score a try to help get the result we needed but I’m just glad this (presentations and speeches) is over,” he said.

“I don’t like doing speeches.”

King Country lost 80-3 to Wanganui the previous week, and they started Saturday’s game strongly, camping inside the Bay’s half for the first four minutes. But when the first points came, it was Bay left-winger Andrew Tauatevalu who scored them.

Tauatevalu, fast gaining a reputation for scoring intercept tries, again showed good anticipation to intercept a pass 60 metres from the King Country line, and there was no stopping the long-striding winger.

Undeterred by that setback, the visitors took the game to the Bay and it needed two copybook try-saving tackles from Bay fullback and man of the match Ethine Reeves on left-winger Dean Church to keep the Rams from scoring.

However, loosehead prop Carl Carmichael levelled the scores with an unconverted try after 14 minutes.

Four minutes later, King Country centre Jesse Williams put his side in front with a try, which first five-eighth Reece McDonald converted from the sideline, and it was 12-5 to King Country.

King Country then lost lock Aarin Dunster to the sin bin, for a foot trip, and the Bay hit back, Ngatu crashing over following a lineout close to the tryine. Tauatevalu added the conversion to lock the scores at 12-all.

With both sides running the ball at every opportunity, Poverty Bay reclaimed the lead in the 31st minute though No.8 Siosiua Moala, who was not far behind Reeves for the man-of-the-match award.

As Dunster waited on the sideline to make his return, King Country struck with a try to Church, after a Beauden Barrett-like crossfield kick from McDonald. Church soared above his marker to dot down.

“Why couldn’t they have played like that last week,” said a King Country supporter, as the teams left the field at halftime.

Needing a win to keep their season alive, Poverty Bay came out firing for the second half and took the lead within the opening two minutes. Reeves made a superb break up the middle before offloading to first five-eighth Kelvin Smith, who scored between the posts. Tauatevalu converted.

The bonus point now banked, all that remained was for the Bay to go on and finish the job.

But King Country had other ideas and, shortly after, McDonald closed the gap to four points with a penalty.

Urged on by the most vocal crowd of the year, the Bay replied through a Tauatevalu penalty to make it 29-22.

With 24 minutes to play the Bay were awarded a penalty try (automatic conversion) and the gap was now 14 points.

Still King Country refused to throw in the towel and two minutes later that man Church scored a try, converted by McDonald, and the gap was back to seven points.

That should have been the signal for the Bay to shut up shop, give the ball to the forwards and run down the clock.

Instead, the ball was turned over far too often and King Country came close to bagging a try which, if converted, would have made it 36-all with five minutes to play.

But the Bay were determined to have the final say and Semisi Akana, on for Ngatu, sealed the win with a try, converted by Reeves.

“The boys showed a lot of character today,” Bay coach Mana Otai said.

“King Country kept coming back at us but the boys never let their heads drop. That and the win were the most pleasing aspects for me.”

Others to play well for the Bay were lock Everard Reid and halfback Mario Counsell. Reid reigned supreme in the lineouts, winning all his own ball and making King Country work hard for theirs. Counsell had his best game of the season, firing out passes quickly and accurately.

His replacement, Willy Grogan, continued the flow of passes to his backs. Jacob Cook, on for Reid, made an impact, particularly on defence in the hectic late stages of the game.

Poverty Bay 43 (penalty try, Andrew Tauatevalu, Sione Ngatu, Siosiua Moala, Kelvin Smith, James Grogan tries; Tauatevalu 4 con, pen) King Country 29 (Dean Church 2, Carl Carmichael, Jesse Williams tries; Reece Macdonald 3 con, pen). HT: 19-19.

SIONE Ngatu celebrated his 151st game for Poverty Bay with a try in their 43-29 win against King Country at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The six-tries-to-four victory over King Country kept alive LeaderBrand Poverty Bay’s hopes of a place in the Heartland Championship Lochore Cup (fifth-to-eighth-placed teams), with one round-robin game remaining.

But as is the norm with Ngatu, it was all about the result and others.

“It was nice to score a try to help get the result we needed but I’m just glad this (presentations and speeches) is over,” he said.

“I don’t like doing speeches.”

King Country lost 80-3 to Wanganui the previous week, and they started Saturday’s game strongly, camping inside the Bay’s half for the first four minutes. But when the first points came, it was Bay left-winger Andrew Tauatevalu who scored them.

Tauatevalu, fast gaining a reputation for scoring intercept tries, again showed good anticipation to intercept a pass 60 metres from the King Country line, and there was no stopping the long-striding winger.

Undeterred by that setback, the visitors took the game to the Bay and it needed two copybook try-saving tackles from Bay fullback and man of the match Ethine Reeves on left-winger Dean Church to keep the Rams from scoring.

However, loosehead prop Carl Carmichael levelled the scores with an unconverted try after 14 minutes.

Four minutes later, King Country centre Jesse Williams put his side in front with a try, which first five-eighth Reece McDonald converted from the sideline, and it was 12-5 to King Country.

King Country then lost lock Aarin Dunster to the sin bin, for a foot trip, and the Bay hit back, Ngatu crashing over following a lineout close to the tryine. Tauatevalu added the conversion to lock the scores at 12-all.

With both sides running the ball at every opportunity, Poverty Bay reclaimed the lead in the 31st minute though No.8 Siosiua Moala, who was not far behind Reeves for the man-of-the-match award.

As Dunster waited on the sideline to make his return, King Country struck with a try to Church, after a Beauden Barrett-like crossfield kick from McDonald. Church soared above his marker to dot down.

“Why couldn’t they have played like that last week,” said a King Country supporter, as the teams left the field at halftime.

Needing a win to keep their season alive, Poverty Bay came out firing for the second half and took the lead within the opening two minutes. Reeves made a superb break up the middle before offloading to first five-eighth Kelvin Smith, who scored between the posts. Tauatevalu converted.

The bonus point now banked, all that remained was for the Bay to go on and finish the job.

But King Country had other ideas and, shortly after, McDonald closed the gap to four points with a penalty.

Urged on by the most vocal crowd of the year, the Bay replied through a Tauatevalu penalty to make it 29-22.

With 24 minutes to play the Bay were awarded a penalty try (automatic conversion) and the gap was now 14 points.

Still King Country refused to throw in the towel and two minutes later that man Church scored a try, converted by McDonald, and the gap was back to seven points.

That should have been the signal for the Bay to shut up shop, give the ball to the forwards and run down the clock.

Instead, the ball was turned over far too often and King Country came close to bagging a try which, if converted, would have made it 36-all with five minutes to play.

But the Bay were determined to have the final say and Semisi Akana, on for Ngatu, sealed the win with a try, converted by Reeves.

“The boys showed a lot of character today,” Bay coach Mana Otai said.

“King Country kept coming back at us but the boys never let their heads drop. That and the win were the most pleasing aspects for me.”

Others to play well for the Bay were lock Everard Reid and halfback Mario Counsell. Reid reigned supreme in the lineouts, winning all his own ball and making King Country work hard for theirs. Counsell had his best game of the season, firing out passes quickly and accurately.

His replacement, Willy Grogan, continued the flow of passes to his backs. Jacob Cook, on for Reid, made an impact, particularly on defence in the hectic late stages of the game.

Poverty Bay 43 (penalty try, Andrew Tauatevalu, Sione Ngatu, Siosiua Moala, Kelvin Smith, James Grogan tries; Tauatevalu 4 con, pen) King Country 29 (Dean Church 2, Carl Carmichael, Jesse Williams tries; Reece Macdonald 3 con, pen). HT: 19-19.

A WIN against Thames Valley in Te Aroha on Saturday will give Poverty Bay at least the eighth spot and possibly seventh, depending on the result of the West Coast-versus-Wairarapa Bush clash in Greymouth.

The Bay are ninth on 15 points, three behind Thames Valley and five behind West Coast, whom the Bay beat in Gisborne two weeks ago.

If the Bay take a maximum five points from the Valley match and the Bush deny West Coast any points, Poverty Bay will finish above the Coast by virtue of the win in Gisborne.

However, to achieve that goal the Bay must do what they have not done all season — win away from home, something skipper and openside flanker James Grogan is well aware of.

“I would think that will be the focus all next week,” said Grogan after Saturday’s win.

“I believe we have the players, the culture and the pride to go there and beat Thames Valley. Having said that, we haven’t won away from home this season.

“Now would be a good time to pick up our first away win.”

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