Thu, 18 May 2017
Another chapter will be written into the Pukekohe v Patumahoe rivalry this weekend as the two clubs’ Under 21 sides square-off in the Counties Power Game of the Week.
In a replay of last year’s championship final Pukekohe will host their near neighbours in a game that attracts significant local interest.
With many of the players from each side going through school together or being from the same social circles this fixture always has a little bit more riding on it than a regular weekend game.
Barney Te Tai’s Patumahoe Albycon Ltd side is unbeaten so far this season and is determined to try and get one back after being beaten convincingly in last year’s title game.
“We have made a really strong start to the year but we know that the games at the end of the season will determine whether we achieve our goals or not,” Te Tai said.
“There are a few guys in our side that will remember the experience from last year and will have visions of winning a championship themselves so I’m sure that is driving them.”
Te Tai enjoys the clashes with Pukekohe and speaks highly of the long-standing rivalry between the two clubs.
“It is a good, strong, healthy rivalry and we expect the usual tough encounter against them on Saturday.
“The intensity always seems to go up a notch when these two sides meet and we’ll enjoy the tough test on the field as well as the camaraderie off it afterwards.”
Pukekohe Under 21s lie second on the table – three points behind Patumahoe.
“We’ve got a very young team – our youngest player just turned 18 last week - so we are at the younger end of the spectrum for Under 21s,” Pukekohe team manager John Le Prou said.
“We’ve got a mixture of our Under 20s from last year – probably two thirds of that team from 2016 has come up this year and they have mixed in well with some returning veterans from the chamion Under 21s side from last year.
“We are looking forward to the game on Saturday against Patumahoe, who have been our long-term close friendly rivals with Pukekohe for many of a year.
“A lot of our guys either work or have gone to school with the Patty guys – they socialize off the field with them – and we are looking forward to having a good top-of-the-table clash.
“Patty has obviously been running pretty well this year – unbeaten – so we are looking forward to testing our younger side against Patty and see how far along our evolution for this year is.”
The day will see the two rival clubs clash in three grades at Colin Lawrie Fields in Pukekohe – Premier 1, Premier 2 and Under 21s – while it also serves as sponsors day for the home side.
The key match-up in Premier 1 action sees second-placed Bombay Gough Cat meet third-placed Karaka up the hill at Bombay while southern neighbours Onewhero Counties Bulk Haulage and Te Kauwhata EnviroWaste will battle for the famous gumboot.