Sun, 16 Jul 2017
For the third time on four seasons Bombay Gough Cat and Karaka will play for the McNamara Cup in the Premier 1 final at EcoLight Stadium.
Bombay will be hunting a fourth straight championship while Karaka will try once again for their maiden title after the top two sides in round robin play advanced to the decider.
Bombay have dropped only one game – to the fast-finishing Pukekohe side – in the second round and have looked like the team to beat all season. They accounted for Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors in convincing fashion with a 32-10 win up the hill at Bombay.
It was a pretty comprehensive display from the defending champions and coach Jeff Marr was pleased with his side’s performance.
“We were pretty pleased with how we carried out our game plan,” Marr said.
“We put a lot of pressure on them in the first half and worked hard at our set piece to get on top of them. We had our chances – didn’t take all of them – but were on top at halftime.
“Some of the small detail stuff we did well and I was really pleased with that.”
Bombay should have a full squad to choose from for the title decider despite a few guys being a bit sore after a tough semifinal.
“It was a pretty physical game so there are few little niggles but nothing serious.”
Tulolo Tulolo and Coree Te Whata-Colley were two standout players for Bombay although Marr said it typified a semifinal where everyone contributed.
Karaka and Patumahoe Hotel had already played out two tough, hard-fought games this season with Patumahoe coming out on top on both occasions. But the Jeff Maka-coached side let a home semifinal slip in the final rounds and Karaka leapfrogged them into second place.
There was little between the two sides with a final spot on the line but Karaka took their chances better than Patumahoe did and they advanced with 20-15 win.
Karaka jumped out to an early lead on the back of Scott Allison’s boot but the visitors struck back with two superb tries to impressive centre Sam Furniss. Patumahoe defended stoutly in the second half and turned the home side away after a long attacking period but just as the pressure eased Seluini Molia’s rampaging second half try from nowhere thrust Karaka into the lead.
Patumahoe couldn’t find the match-winner at the end and Karaka held on for the win.
“Probably in the end maybe we took our opportunities and Patty maybe had a couple of others that they didn’t,” Karaka coach Craig Hill said. “That was always going to be the way this game was going to be.
“Maybe our option-taking close to the line wasn’t right. We bashed it up a bit when there was probably space out wide.
“We’ll take the win though.
“It looks like another final against Bombay and that will be a mission but we are there and we are a chance.
“This Patumahoe side has had a good season and the last game between them and Bombay was close and we got on top today so we will have a chance.”
The same two clubs will contest the Bob Chandler Memorial Premier 2 final in a show of how strong both clubs are at present.
Bombay Pokeno Bacon held off Pukekohe 18-8 in one semifinal while in the other Karaka out-lasted Manurewa 10-7 to advance.
Weymouth put the icing on an incredible unbeaten season as they won the Sid Marshall Shield Premier 3 championship with a 38-17 win over Maramarua at Weymouth Domain.
After dropping out of the Premier 1 division for this season Weymouth has begun their rebuild in perfect fashion – winning every single game this season and holding their nerve in the final.
Patumahoe Albycon Ltd will play Karaka in the Massey Cup Under 21 final.
Top qualifiers Patumahoe had to work very hard to get over a spirited Ardmore Marist side, who lost a player to a serious leg injury early and then had another player red-carded midway through the first half. Patumahoe rallied and overcame the slow start to pull clear in the second spell and book their spot in the decider.
Karaka proved too strong for Pukekohe in the other semifinal – advancing 29-17.
Just to confirm their strength – Karaka’s Under 85kg team also made it through to their final on the back of a 12-8 win over Ardmore Marist.
They will meet top qualifiers Patuamhoe Pak N Save, who battled to beat Drury 11-6 at Patumahoe.
The Daryl Suasua-coached Ardmore Marist side took a stunning 22-17 win over the more-fancied Manurewa women’s team in their clash.
McNamara Cup (Premier 1) - Semi Final
Bombay Gough Cat 32
(Tulolo Tulolo, Mitchell Thackham, Coree Te Whata-Colley, Jordan Goldsmith 2, Shaun Muir tries; Ki Anufe cons)
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors 10
(Conall Bromwich, Travino Amerika tries)
( Seluini Molia, Orbyn Leger tries; Scott Allison 2 cons; Scott Allison 2 pens)
Patumahoe Hotel 15
(Sam Furniss 2 tries; Jonny Wilkinson cons; Jonny Wilkinson pens)
Bob Chandler Memorial (Premier 2) - Semi Final
Bombay Pokeno Bacon 18 Pukekohe 8; Karaka 10 Manurewa 7
Sid Marshall Shield (Premier 3) – Final – Weymouth Champions 2017
Weymouth 38 Maramarua 17
Massey Cup (U21) – Semi Final
Patumahoe Albycon Ltd 28 Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group 12; Karaka 29 Pukekohe 17
Under 85kg – Semi Final
Patumahoe Pak N 11 Save Drury 6; Ardmore Marist 8 Karaka 12
Women’s – Manurewa 17 Ardmore Marist 22
Rainbows End 1st XV (Premier) – Rosehill College 19 Te Awamutu College 55