The lead-up to the Waimate Rugby Club’s 50th jubilee was perfect. Hundreds of people were at Manchester Park, the highland pipe band was in full cry and All Blacks great Sir Colin Meads planted a commemorative tree.
Unfortunately, Mackenzie spoiled the celebrations with a convincing 23-6 win over the home side in the Hamersley Cup on Saturday.
Both teams stood for a rendition of The Last Post before the match, but it was Waimate who produced the most off-key performance.
Waimate coach Warren Rooney was disappointed.
“It spoiled the jubilee weekend a bit. We just couldn’t put more than two or three phases together. We’re best when we’re able to get quick ball and Mackenzie didn’t let us do that,” he said.
Mackenzie led 5-3 at halftime thanks to winger Josh Morton’s early try against the run of play before Waimate halfback Theo Davidson’s second penalty put the home side ahead 6-5 in the 45th minute.
Strangely, Waimate fell apart not long afterwards. Too many poor passes and missed tackles took their toll, starting with Waimate conceding a penalty in the 50th minute.
Mackenzie first-five George Wade picked up a mis-timed grubber kick, darted past four defenders and scored under the crossbar in the 64th minute. Waimate’s scrummaging errors led to to them conceding another penalty shortly afterwards, while Mackenzie No 8 Stu Cartwright’s pushover try put the result beyond doubt with minutes to go.
Morton was the player of the match. He constantly troubled Waimate’s defence and only a last-gasp tackle prevented him from scoring a second try.
Mackenzie’s win means they climbed to third on the Hamersley Cup table, while Waimate dropped to fifth.
Senior B were convincing winners 44-12 over Mackenzie playing an entertaining brand of rubgy with some of the ‘older’ guys showing they still know where the try line is!