Waimate travelled to Temuka for the latest round in the Hammersley Cup where they were also playing for the Jack Kelly Cup and the Ian Pierce Memorial Trophy, presented in honour of Ian Pierce who played for both Waimate and Temuka but unfortunately lost his life while duck-shooting with his best mate circa 1967.
Waimate started well with halfback Theo Davidson making a great blindside break from the first ruck to take Waimate well into Temuka territory. Despite spending the first 10 minutes inside the Temuka 22, Waimate were unable to convert this territory into points, and when Temuka managed to breakout they set the way the game would be played by camping deep in the Waimate half for a period of time as each team seemed to have turns with the ascendency throughout the match.
Waimate’s first points came from a “schoolboy” error from Temuka after a long kick by Waimate went into the Temuka in-goal area, but the fullback instead of pressing the ball down for a dropout, seemed to think he was playing league (well that is surely the only reason to do what he did) and tried passing it to a mate also scrambling back, but with the ball bobbing around in goal it was Waimate who pounced first to score.
Unfortunately, as happened most of the match, Temuka bounced straight back to score at the other end.
This happened for most of the match, and I’m sure the coaches of both teams will be looking at fundamental mistakes that were being made. Both back-lines often missed first up tackles, leading to several breaks that were only cut down by the final cover defence. While both back-lines looked good on attack, often it was because of poor defensive execution.
The second try, scored by Jared Matthews showed good use of his step, and before he even probably expected he had cut back inside three would-be tacklers and the line was open as he scored behind the posts to make it a simple conversion but again Temuka replied to keep the lead to 12 – 10 for Waimate.
Waimate scored a couple of good further tries, by chasing chip kicks and long kicks hard and aided by the Temuka fullback who would not come forward to take the ball on the full, and the Waimate players soon found good support when the bounce of the ball went their way.
Both the Waimate and Temuka forwards battled hard in set pieces, generally securing their own ball, while the loose ball generally went to the team with the most players about, either securing their own ball, or effecting a counter-ruck.
With what was showing as 4 minutes on the clock to play after Waimate had stretched their lead to 27 – 20 after Medlicott made up for having his previous conversion from in front charged down by kicking a great drop goal from 35m, some Temuka tricks began to appear as the scoreboard attendant was seen to push the clock back to 6 minutes to play after Temuka went on attack.
Waimate held on in defence and eventually won a penalty and their supporters breathed a sigh of relief knowing that a kick to touch and a lineout would certainly eat some of that time up. Unfortunately someone in the Waimate playing numbers obviously didn’t know the score and took a quick tap from their own line and when it went wrong Waimate were again desperately clinging on in defence.
About now, with full time “again” showing on the clock it was put back again to 4 minutes to play.
Waimate broke away from their line, but a couple of missed tackles and suddenly they were back on defence – with a try looking ominous we hoped that Waimate would at least force the try (and hence the equalising conversion) wide when it came, but in the end Temuka scored their fifth try of the day 15 metres to the right of the posts. The only thing now left in Waimate’s favour was that Temuka had used four kickers already and none had been successful, although the centre who had missed the previous two shots had struck the ball well.
This time their second-five stepped up to take the shot and after placing the ball “Dev” said to me he will hook it, I said I don’t care which way, and he pushed it to the right of the posts to give Waimate victory 27-25.
A good result in the end in an entertaining match (which included 3 yellow cards), but for the Waimate boys to take that next step and begin beating the Celtics and Harlequins, they need to be working better for each other on defence and not relying on the cover to make up for missed first tackles, and when they have finally got themselves in charge, not to continue to chase the game as they appeared to be doing a bit today, but to set the pace themselves and make considered choices, not rash ones. Waimate conceded 5 tries today, and the goal kickers won’t be off in every match!
*** Note: The Temuka RFC President assured me that the problem with the ground clock was unfortunate, but that it hadn’t re-started after halftime and when they became aware of this they set it to their best guess, and it wasn’t until well into the half that referee Lachie McLeod gave them a signal as to how long to go – unfortunately his 10 minute signal was interpreted as 6 minutes, hence the two corrections.
A few photos from the matches.
[click to enlarge]