Never give up

Waikohu show their character under OBM pressure.

Waikohu show their character under OBM pressure.

Waikohu were presented the Premier Cup as round 1 winners in the Poverty Bay premier club rugby competition. They finished the round unbeaten after a 27-17 Saturday defeat of OBM, who had their chances, including being held up several times over the line. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Waikohu prop and player of the day Sandy Hohipa-Campbell tackles OBM lock Jacob Cook, who also had a strong game.
Hohipa-Campbell scores one of his side’s four tries.

OBM will look back on their 27-17 loss to Waikohu at Rugby Park on Saturday as one that got away.

“We lost the game but we’ll take a lot of confidence from the performance,” said Enterprise Cars OBM coach Tom Solomon.

Having already locked away the Premier Cup for first-round winners before the match, GT Shearing Waikohu started with a hiss and a roar, with unconverted tries to right winger KC Wilson and prop Toro Noanoa inside the opening 13 minutes.

But for the next 34 minutes it was all OBM.

Playing perfect wet-weather rugby, forwards Jamie Barnett, Anthony Kiwara, Lance Dickson, Jacob Cook, Isaiah Booth, Te Otene-Ria, Evan Bryant and Ngahiwi Manuel used the pick-and-go to make big metres and deny Waikohu the ball.

And when Waikohu launched counter-attacks, OBM fullback and skipper Jake Holmes kicked superbly to push them back on defence.

Three times OBM went across the line, only to be held up. But eventually the pressure told.

One minute before halftime, assistant coach Keith Henderson, playing at first-five, reduced the deficit with a try following another forward drive.

Seven minutes into the second half, OBM halfback Willy Grogan, who was like an extra loose forward in the driving rain, levelled the scores with an opportunist try.

It came after the OBM pack drove across the line but yet again failed to get the ball down. From the base of the resulting scrum, Grogan picked up the ball and powered his way through two defenders to score to make it 10-all.

At this stage, only one side, OBM, looked likely to win this match. They continued to play 10-man rugby and had Waikohu under all sorts of pressure.

But Waikohu, the only unbeaten side this season, showed their class and character by reclaiming the lead against the run of play in the 57th minute when, after the hint of a forward pass, Wilson bagged his second try.

Undaunted, OBM went straight back on attack, but when Henderson was sinbinned in the 65th minute, Waikohu made OBM pay dearly with two tries in two minutes.

Prop Sandy Hohipa-Campbell’s five-pointer, converted by first five-eighth Kelvin Smith, took them past the seven-point margin — 22-10.

Right wing Larry Fleming then stretched the gap to 17 points with his first try of the season.

In the 75th minute, Henderson made some amends for his sinbinning with his second try, but it was too little, too late.

Despite the yellow card, Henderson’s experience and direction on the field brought a lot of stability to a young side in which Grogan, Cook and Otene-Ria were outstanding.

Geoff Pari, standing in as Waikohu coach in the absence of Jason Tuapawa (family commitments), said OBM got their tactics “bang-on”.

“We couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the first half,” Pari said.

“All I said to the boys at the break was to play smarter, play to the conditions, and if there’s one thing about this team, it’s that they never give up.”

On a day when the much-vaunted Waikohu backs were starved of possession, Hohipa-Campbell was named player of the day, followed by fullback Ethine Reeves, who looked dangerous whenever he was in possession, and No.8 Ken Houkamau, who led the tackle count.

Waikohu will take a five-point lead into the second round of the championship.

Their bonus-point victory in the final game of the first round took them to 30 points, five ahead of Ngatapa, who thumped Tapuae 54-0 at Patutahi.

YMP, who had the bye, are third on 20 points, followed by OBM on 14.

High School Old Boys, who beat Athletic 17-14 at the Oval, are next on nine points, ahead of Athletic, five, and Tapuae, yet to pick up a point.

WAIKOHU 27 ( KC Wilson 2, T Noanoa, S Hohipa-Campbell, L Fleming tries; K Smith con).

OBM 17 (K Henderson 2, W Grogan tries; J Holmes con).

HT: 10-5 (Waikohu).

OBM will look back on their 27-17 loss to Waikohu at Rugby Park on Saturday as one that got away.

“We lost the game but we’ll take a lot of confidence from the performance,” said Enterprise Cars OBM coach Tom Solomon.

Having already locked away the Premier Cup for first-round winners before the match, GT Shearing Waikohu started with a hiss and a roar, with unconverted tries to right winger KC Wilson and prop Toro Noanoa inside the opening 13 minutes.

But for the next 34 minutes it was all OBM.

Playing perfect wet-weather rugby, forwards Jamie Barnett, Anthony Kiwara, Lance Dickson, Jacob Cook, Isaiah Booth, Te Otene-Ria, Evan Bryant and Ngahiwi Manuel used the pick-and-go to make big metres and deny Waikohu the ball.

And when Waikohu launched counter-attacks, OBM fullback and skipper Jake Holmes kicked superbly to push them back on defence.

Three times OBM went across the line, only to be held up. But eventually the pressure told.

One minute before halftime, assistant coach Keith Henderson, playing at first-five, reduced the deficit with a try following another forward drive.

Seven minutes into the second half, OBM halfback Willy Grogan, who was like an extra loose forward in the driving rain, levelled the scores with an opportunist try.

It came after the OBM pack drove across the line but yet again failed to get the ball down. From the base of the resulting scrum, Grogan picked up the ball and powered his way through two defenders to score to make it 10-all.

At this stage, only one side, OBM, looked likely to win this match. They continued to play 10-man rugby and had Waikohu under all sorts of pressure.

But Waikohu, the only unbeaten side this season, showed their class and character by reclaiming the lead against the run of play in the 57th minute when, after the hint of a forward pass, Wilson bagged his second try.

Undaunted, OBM went straight back on attack, but when Henderson was sinbinned in the 65th minute, Waikohu made OBM pay dearly with two tries in two minutes.

Prop Sandy Hohipa-Campbell’s five-pointer, converted by first five-eighth Kelvin Smith, took them past the seven-point margin — 22-10.

Right wing Larry Fleming then stretched the gap to 17 points with his first try of the season.

In the 75th minute, Henderson made some amends for his sinbinning with his second try, but it was too little, too late.

Despite the yellow card, Henderson’s experience and direction on the field brought a lot of stability to a young side in which Grogan, Cook and Otene-Ria were outstanding.

Geoff Pari, standing in as Waikohu coach in the absence of Jason Tuapawa (family commitments), said OBM got their tactics “bang-on”.

“We couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the first half,” Pari said.

“All I said to the boys at the break was to play smarter, play to the conditions, and if there’s one thing about this team, it’s that they never give up.”

On a day when the much-vaunted Waikohu backs were starved of possession, Hohipa-Campbell was named player of the day, followed by fullback Ethine Reeves, who looked dangerous whenever he was in possession, and No.8 Ken Houkamau, who led the tackle count.

Waikohu will take a five-point lead into the second round of the championship.

Their bonus-point victory in the final game of the first round took them to 30 points, five ahead of Ngatapa, who thumped Tapuae 54-0 at Patutahi.

YMP, who had the bye, are third on 20 points, followed by OBM on 14.

High School Old Boys, who beat Athletic 17-14 at the Oval, are next on nine points, ahead of Athletic, five, and Tapuae, yet to pick up a point.

WAIKOHU 27 ( KC Wilson 2, T Noanoa, S Hohipa-Campbell, L Fleming tries; K Smith con).

OBM 17 (K Henderson 2, W Grogan tries; J Holmes con).

HT: 10-5 (Waikohu).

Defending East Coast club rugby champions Tihirau Victory Club produced the performance of the 2018 season so far, fighting back to defeat previously unbeaten Uawa 13-10 in Tolaga Bay on Saturday.
The other notable result came from Waiapu, who tasted victory of the first time this season with a 52-22 win over Tokomaru Bay United.
Hikurangi’s bonus point 36-0 win over Hicks Bay saw them replace Uawa at the top of the table.

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