PREMIERS WIN IN TRYING CONDITIONS

After their disappointing loss at the hands of Suburbs in the previous round, the Ponsonby Premiers side prevailed on a muddy Williams Park to edge Manukau Rovers by 23-18 in the fourth round of the Alan McEvoy competition on Saturday afternoon.

Far from desirable underfoot conditions and a very slippery ball ensured the match would not be a free flowing affair, but the blue and blacks displayed a massive defensive effort and exceptional handling skills against a physical Manukau Rovers team. Going into this round Manukau Rovers were winless after three matches and languishing at the bottom of the competition table, so desperate to turn the tables.

Due to player unavailability in the Ponsonby ranks a number of forced personnel changes were necessary for this fixture. In what was his first start for the side in several seasons Daniel Bowden was handed the number ten jersey, and his experience was a telling factor in the conditions.  Other changes included Shigeru Kohiyama starting at halfback, and Ben Meredith being called up from the Premier Development side to start on the left wing.

Playing ‘uphill’ in the first spell, Ponsonby began the game on the back foot, having to withstand several threatening attacks from the home side. Whilst they were able to keep their line intact, they did concede a penalty close to the line, which was duly goaled by Calvary Fonoti, the home side going 3-0 up after as many minutes.

Ponsonby responded with a promising attack, only to turn over possession just ten metres from the Manukau Rovers line. The home side then launched a successful counter attack which featured a 70 metre dash down the left hand touch by the elusive running Melani Nanai. Ponsonby were unable to halt this movement, and 90 metres later the try was scored by the hard running number eight Siosuia Kaifa.

With momentum on their side Manukau Rover continued their assault on the Ponsonby territory and it wasn’t long before the blue and blacks were forced to defend a lineout close to their line.  From this lineout the prop William Fonua charged over in the right hand corner. Despite the conversion failing, Manukau Rovers had notched up a handy 13-0 lead after just 16 minutes play.

The match was 20 minutes old before Ponsonby were able to secure some good possession, courtesy of their first penalty of the match. Bowden kicked the ball to the corner, and after several minutes on attack Freedom Vaha’akolo crossed for his tenth try of the season.

The Jordan Trainor conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but he did goal two penalties before the halftime break, Ponsonby trailing by 13-11 at the turn around.

Early in the second spell Ponsonby forced the home side close to their own line. An attempted clearing kick by Fonoti was charged down and Junior Halafuka pounced on the ball, scoring Ponsonby’s second of the match.

Ponsonby maintained their lead for several minutes, but were unable to prevent the Manukau Rovers number eight Kaifa charging over from a handy scrum.

Manukau Rovers led on the scoreboard by 18-16, but this was to be short-lived. Ponsonby had several attempts at the home side line, and their persistence paid off with Sam Ulufonua charging over. Trainor landed the extra points, giving the lead back to the blue and blacks by 23-18.

Despite a late rally by the home team, Ponsonby defended stoutly and held the 23-18 scoreline until the final whistle.

Ponsonby sit in fifth place on the competition table, and the pressure stays on them with another tough encounter looming next Saturday, this time a home fixture against University. To secure a place in the all-important top four finalists of the round, this match is another must win for Ponsonby. University successfully disposed of Pakuranga last week by 31-12, moving to second place on the table. They will want to maintain their spot amongst the top four, so will be keen to secure the competition points from the Ponsonby match.

 

Ponsonby: 23

Tries: Junior Halafuka, S Ulufonua and Freedom Vaha’akolo

Conversion : Jordan Trainor

Penalty:  Jordan Trainor 2

Manukau: 18

 Tries: S Kaifa 2, W Fonua

Penalty: C Fonoti

 

1. Junior Halafuka; 2. Willie Uili; 3. Marco Fepuleai; 4. Sam Ulufonua; 5. Jamie Lane;

6. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa; 7. Waharai Waitohi; 8. Presley Tufuga; 9. Shigeru Kohiyama;

10. Daniel Bowden; 11. Ben Meredith; 12. Tilitili Puloka; 13. Keenan Masina; 14. Freedom Vaha’akolo

15. Jordan Trainor; 16. Charles Napa’a; 17. Phil Viane; 18. Robert Cobb; 19. Thomas Fisiihoi;

20. Aleks Dabek; 21. Campbell Woodmass; 22. Patrick Tausie

 

 

Premier team to play Suburbs

This is the Premier line up to take on Suburbs at Shadbolt Park this Saturday 17June 2017.

If you want to receive the line up directly, email Dennis Mansfield on patiki.nz@gmail.com

The attachment also has details on the Ponies Association Day being held on Saturday 1 July at the club. All money raised will go towards the U20 Samoa Tour in November. Watch this space!

PREMIERS PRODUCE CLASSY WIN OVER COLLEGE RIFLES

After the disappointing loss to Eden in the previous round the Ponsonby Premiers bounced back in style registering a classic display against College Rifles on Saturday, winning by 40-20.

Much of the fixture was vintage Ponsonby rugby. Passion and commitment manufactured exceptional skills and six wonderful tries.  Whilst every man in the match day squad of 22 contributed to this tremendous result, the captain Waharai Waitohi was inspirational on attack and outstanding on defence. Additionally William Talataina-Mu was masterful at first five eighth, having a hand in several of Ponsonby’s tries, contributing 15 points to the scoreline from five conversions and a try.

This result also saw the Sam Lawrence trophy presented to Ponsonby’s Waharai Waitohi, the trophy being introduced last year for fixtures between these two sides.

In the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy round every competition point counts, and the five points earned in this contest were extremely valuable, lifting Ponsonby to fourth place on the table of eight teams.

The match did not commence as Ponsonby would have planned. The College Rifles kick off looked to be bouncing into touch, however the ball landed just shy of the touchline and bounced back in field in favour of College Rifles. After a minute on attack with several exchanges, and before the first stoppage in play the visitors recorded the opening try, scored by the winger Lolohea Loco, which was duly converted by Broc Hooper.

From the ensuing restart Ponsonby went onto the attack, and after 12 well-constructed phases the left winger Tili Puloka crossed the line. Talataina-Mu converted, levelling the scores at 7-7.

College Rifles then dominated proceedings for a lengthy period, but Ponsonby were up to the task and gallantly defended their territory. But the visitors eventually found an opportunity to break through and the winger Loco again crossed the line. The conversion in this instance drifted wide.

The restart by Ponsonby was not controlled by College Rifles, and the blue and blacks snared the loose ball. An outstanding run by Presley Tufuga and then some great supporting play by Phil Viane and Willie Uili took play within metres of the visitor’s line. Danny Tusitala went right from the maul and a very deft pass from Talataina-Mu allowed Keenan Masina to cross for the five pointer. The successful conversion saw the lead go to Ponsonby for the first time in the match.

College Rifles then hit straight back, their elusive runners momentarily catching the Ponsonby defence off guard, and they notched up their third try of the match, the number eight Sione Talitui scoring. The conversion was unsuccessful, but the visitors had the lead back at 17-14.

The Ponsonby pack raced back to halfway indicating their intent to recapture the lead in the game. The restart was knocked on by the visitors and the ball was now back in Ponsonby’s hands. Some good work by Pryor Collier, Tufuga and Waitohi resulted in play going inside the visitors 22. A magnificent cut out pass from Talataina-Mu to Freedom Vaha’akolo saw the right winger cross for his ninth try of the season. The conversion allowed Ponsonby to once again have the lead at 21-17.

College Rifles successfully claimed the restart, only to concede a turnover to Ponsonby. Tusitala then initiated a promising counterattack. Play went right to Talataina-Mu and what evolved was a sensational 60 metre move, which was finished by Tusitala. The conversion fell away, and Ponsonby went to the break at 26-17 ahead, and looked confident going into the remaining 40 minutes.

 College Rifles struck first in the second spell, Broc Hooper goaling a penalty. The scoreboard now read 26-20 in Ponsonby’s favour, the visitors sensing an opportunity to regain the lead. But this was to be the end of their scoring in the match.

Ponsonby’s fifth try was a real gem. A sweeping move involving most of the team was finished by the skipper Waitohi. Talataina-Mu added the extra two points, taking the score out to 33-20.

It was Talataina-Mu who had the final say in the match, with a chip kick and regather for the try. His conversion put the icing on the cake.

The curtain came down on what had been, in the most, a scintillating and entertaining 80 minutes of rugby.

Next Saturday’s third match in this round has Ponsonby drawn to play the competition leaders Suburbs on their home ground at Shadbolt Park. Suburbs have two wins from two outings in this competition, the most recent being a 24-19 victory over Pakuranga in the last round.

Ponsonby’s last meeting with Suburbs was on the 1st of April this year in the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup final, Suburbs winning that day by 31-15. Ponsonby’s last venture to Shadbolt Park was on the 23rd of July 2016, being the Gallaher Shield semi-final. The result that day went the way of Suburbs by 18-7, ending Ponsonby’s hopes of progressing to the Gallaher Shield final, the final which Suburbs went on to win the following week. Suburbs have always been a traditional adversary of Ponsonby, and they will be aware of the dangerous attacking ball carriers within the Suburbs ranks, and how vital it will be to collect the maximum competition points.                

Despite the outstanding Premier result, the outcome of the Premier Development sides who played the curtainraiser at Western Springs on Saturday did not go in Ponsonby’s favour. The blue and blacks led by 23-19 with time virtually up on the clock, but a last gasp converted try by College Rifles saw the visitors win by 26-23. The Under 85’s were too strong for their Eden opposites, Ponsonby winning by 28-0, whilst the First Grade Emerging Players pipped Manukau by 20-10.

 

PONSONBY PREMIERS: 40

Tries: Waha Waitohi, Danny Tusitala, William Talataina-Mu, Tili Puloka, Keenan Masina and Freedom Vaha’akolo

Conversions: William Talataina-M 5

College Rifles: 20

Tries: Lolohea Loco 2, Sione Talitui tries,

Conversion: Broc Hooper

Penalty: Broc Hooper

Halftime: 26 - 17

PREMIERS FALL TO EDEN

The opening round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield last Saturday saw the Ponsonby Premiers travel up the road to Gribblehurst Park to tackle Eden. The result left the statisticians scrambling for the record books to see when it was that Ponsonby last lost to Eden. After Ponsonby had led by 7-0 at the halftime break, Eden went on to win by 27-17. Ponsonby scored a try in each half, and the balance of the points was from the boot of William Talataina-Mu.

Eden are one of the most improved sides in Auckland Premier rugby in 2017, and coupled with their clubs 95th anniversary celebrations this weekend, Ponsonby were never going to find this match a walk in the park.

The opening 30 minutes were nothing short of a massive arm wrestle, with neither side able to gain significant ascendancy. However Ponsonby recorded the first try of the match, courtesy of the outstanding prop Marco Fepuleaii.

Eden struck back early in the second spell with a penalty goal and then a converted try a few minutes later.

Talataina-Mu levelled the scores at 10-10 soon after with a penalty goal.

Ponsonby looked to up the tempo in the match, but were unable to stop a combined effort from Rodrigo and Nicholas Costa, the latter sneaking over for a five pointer next to the posts, which was converted.

A drop goal by Eden’s Rodrigo Costa extended the lead for his side to 20-10.

A well worked try for Ponsonby by Freedom Vaha’akolo, converted by Talataina-Mu, brought Ponsonby to within striking distance at 20-17 down.

With time in the match running out, Ponsonby staged a late comeback, but a stray pass was intercepted by Eden’s Brody Lam, and then converted.

Ponsonby will now regroup and focus on next week’s match back at home against College Rifles, which will be another tough encounter. Last Saturday College Rifles came from 10-6 down at the break to edge Grammar-Tec by 21-20.

Eden 27 

Tries: T Lam, N Costa, B Lam

Conversions: R Costa 2, N Costa

Penalty:  R Costa

Drop Goal: R Costa

Ponsonby 17 

Tries: M Fepuleai, F Vaha’akolo

Conversions: W Talataina-Mu 2

Penalty: W Talataina-Mu

 

PREMIERS GRIND OUT TOUGH WIN OVER MARIST

Last Saturday afternoon’s seventh and final match of the first round of club rugby had Ponsonby drawn to face Marist on their home turf in Panmure. The blue and blacks faced a very belligerent Marist side, and despite being outscored by three tries to two, Ponsonby triumphed by 23-21 after leading by 6-0 at the break. The victory sees the Tom Johns Memorial Cup return to the Western Springs clubrooms until next season at least.

In the perfect autumn weather conditions the match did not always run as Ponsonby would have planned, with Marist producing one of their best performances of the season to date. Having missed out on a place in the Alan McEvoy Trophy and Gallaher Shield play-off, Marist were tenacious in their approach to the contest. Nonetheless Ponsonby remained resolute for the full eighty minutes, producing a superb defensive effort.

Ponsonby started strongly, and their early momentum should have yielded a seven point return.

A blundered drop out by Marist from their 22 metre line was gratefully accepted by Ponsonby, and a clever passage of play by William Talataina-Mu paved the way for Keenan Masina to slice through a small gap toward the line, however a shoulder charge on Masina by a Marist opponent halted the move just short of the line. The Marist offender earned himself a ten minute spell on the sideline for his indiscretion and Talataina-Mu goaled the subsequent penalty.

During the spell that Ponsonby had a one man on field advantage they were unable to increase their score, however five minutes short of the halftime break Talataina-Mu added his second penalty, seeing the blue and blacks go to the break with a narrow 6-0 advantage. Despite what the scoreboard read, Ponsonby had been clinical in the half, and had the match firmly in their grasp.

Marist took their opportunities straight from the start of the second spell, spending the first five minutes on attack. Their pressure paid off and a converted try resulted, giving them a 7-6 lead.

The converted try added confidence to the Marist performance.

As the second spell progressed one started to feel that the game for Ponsonby could be taking a nasty turn. The bounce of the ball, the 50/50 passes, and the penalty count were beginning to sway the way of Marist, and the home crowd were sensing an upset win.

To turn the tide, Ponsonby needed something special.

From deep inside the Ponsonby half, the exciting Jordan Trainor initiated an exhilarating move, and with some skilful involvement from Talataina-Mu and Pryor Collier, the replacement flanker Antoine Pallatte completed the lengthy move, scoring in the left hand corner. Talataina-Mu skilfully landed a magnificent goal from the sideline, seeing the lead going back the way of Ponsonby by 13-7.

Talataina-Mu then further extended Ponsonby’s lead to 16-7 with his third penalty of the match.

In the 67th minute of play some blistering pace from Presley Tufuga initiated a sweeping move, resulting in Ponsonby's second try.  What followed was a period of sustained pressure and some wonderful support play, a deft pick up from the ground and a thirty metre dash by Pryor Collier saw him sprint between several defenders and score beneath the posts. The successful conversion extended the Ponsonby score to 23-7.

In the final 13 minutes, the momentum of match changed. Marist added their second try in the 70th minute, the conversion drawing them to within striking distance.

With five minutes remaining on the clock Ponsonby needed to remain composed, and to defend as they had done in the previous 75 minutes. Alas a marginal tackle by replacement back Matai Fakautoki resulted in him being despatched to the sideline for the remainder of the match. Almost straight away Marist added their third seven pointer, taking the score to 23-21.

Ponsonby stoutly defended their territory until the final whistle, capping off what was a nail-biting last four minutes.

Ponsonby now progress to the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy round, which commences next Saturday. The blue and blacks will be joined in the competition by University, Pakuranga, College Rifles, Grammar-Tec, Eden, Manukau Rovers and Suburbs. The draw for this round is being compiled, and will see a round robin competition run from the 3rd of June until the 15th of July, the top four sides on the table then progressing to the Gallaher Shield semi-finals and final.

Three other Ponsonby sides were in action against Marist last Saturday afternoon. The Premier Development sides squared off in the curtain-raiser at Dunkirk Rd, with the Ponsonby side taking the honours by 34-25. The Ponsonby Under 85kg Hustlers were victorious in their match with Marist by 28-10, whilst the Under 20’s were defeated by their Marist opposites 28-8. Meanwhile the Ponsonby Women’s Premiers edged past East Coast Bays by 17-16, and the First Grade Emerging Players were narrowly beaten by Pakuranga by 18-17.

  

Ponsonby 23

Tries: Pryor Collier and Antoine Pallette

Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 2

Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 3

Marist 21

Tries: S Rayasi, E Muliufi 2

Conversions:  J Saena 3

 

Ponsonby Premier Development: 34   Marist: 25

Ponsonby Under 20: 8   Marist   28

Ponsonby First Grade EP’s:  17   Pakuranga   18

Under 85 Hustlers:  28    Marist:  10

Women’s Premier:  17ECB:  16

PREMIERS CRUISE TO VICTORY OVER EAST TAMAKI

Another commanding performance from the Ponsonby Premiers forward pack paved the way for a 67-21 trouncing of East Tamaki in the penultimate match of the first round on Saturday afternoon. The victory sees the Pita Fatialofa Memorial Trophy continue its residence at the Ponsonby’s Western Springs Stadium.

This victory assured Ponsonby of a spot amongst the top four sides from its group who will progress to the next round – the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield competition, which commences on the 3rd of June.

Ponsonby outscored 10 tries to three against East Tamaki, and have now amassed 191 points in the previous three fixtures, whilst only conceding 31 points.

Against a physical East Tamaki side, Ponsonby were relentless on attack, and solid on defence. Jamie Lane and Sam Ulufonua were dominant in the lineouts, with Lane able to intercept several of the visitor’s feeds with considerable ease. In the loose Waha Waitohi, Waimana Riedinger-Kapa and Taina Fox-Matamua were imposing, ensuring East Tamaki were starved of possession.

For the second consecutive week, the Ponsonby backline displayed some sublime and silky skills, this group of young men contributing nine of the ten tries recorded.

The first try of the match came with only 25 seconds on the clock. An East Tamaki touchfinder kick was claimed by Freedom Vaka’akolo, who quickly threw the ball into an unmarked Stephen Perofeta who raced to the line, much to the shock of the visiting team. The conversion from William Talataina-Mu was successful, and the blue and blacks had a very early 7-0 lead.

Perofeta recorded Ponsonby’s second try after he threw a perfect dummy pass, then sliced through a narrow gap to score beneath the posts. The conversion stretched Ponsonby’s lead to 14-0 after 11 minutes of play.

Stephen Perofeta was a major factor in Ponsonby’s domination early on, and extended his personal tally to 13 with a handy penalty goal in the 15th minute.

East Tamaki tightened their game, and began to challenge Ponsonby at the breakdown, and became more committed to the tackle.

It was another 15 minutes before Ponsonby could register more points.

During a period of spirited play by East Tamaki, an attempt to drive out of their own half resulted in numerous wild passes being exchanged amongst themselves and it was inevitable that one would eventually go astray. A vigilant Freedom Vaha’akolo latched onto a pass and ran in a straight line to the whitewash to record Ponsonby’s third try of the match.

From the ensuing restart Ponsonby set onto the attack from deep inside their half. Some excellent work initially by the loose forward trio took play close to the halfway mark, then a great run by replacement prop Junior Halafuka, allowed Vaha’akolo to sprint to the line, crossing for his second try in as many minutes. Ponsonby had a very respectable 31-0 lead with five minutes to play in the first spell.

In the last few minutes of the half the visitors started to put some phases together and eventually found some defensive gaps. A quick tap penalty saw them cross for their first score of the afternoon.

The first penalty of the second half went Ponsonby’s way and a scintillating move involving many of the team was finished by Vaha’akolo, scoring his third of the match.

The visitors notched up their second score of the game in the 46th minute. A penalty in their favour on the Ponsonby 10 metre line saw them make some significant ground, the promising move seeing them close to scoring in the left hand corner. The ball was recycled and play came to the right, and the try was scored.

At the three quarter mark of the game East Tamaki were awarded a lineout feed ten metres from the Ponsonby line. With some intervention from the blustery breeze, the lineout throw went the way of Ponsonby. The replacement halfback Shigeru Kohiyama quickly gathered the ball, feeding his captain Waha Waitohi, who ran a direct line through the defence to score under the posts. Perofeta added the extra two points, taking the score to 43-14 in Ponsonby’s favour.

Ponies next try again included some tremendous team work and outstanding support play, and with Presley Tufuga displaying his usual athleticism and strength, the final pass went to Pryor Collier who sprinted down the left hand touch to score in the corner.

East Tamaki went onto the attack once more, making the game look like a seven a side match rather than a Premier rugby fixture. This assault on the Ponsonby side lasted several minutes, however the fatigue on their side was very obvious and possession changed hands inside the Ponsonby 22 metre area. A quick pass from Kohiyama went to Jordan Trainor, who broke a couple of tackles and then displayed some blistering pace on his 80 metre dash to the tryline. Perofeta converted the Trainor try, taking the score out to 55-14.

The fatigue factor was now telling on the Ponsonby side, and East Tamaki took their chances from another quick tap penalty, adding another seven pointer.

From the restart the visitors looked to attack yet again, but failed to observe Declan O’Donnell lurking and looking for an intercept opportunity. O’Donnell seized his chances with both hands and set sail on a 40 metre run to the line.

With time virtually up on the clock East Tamaki were not going to lie down and continued to seek  their fourth try of the match, but their plans failed to materialise. A stray ball was uplifted by O’Donnell who ran round the tiring defence, touching down for his second of the match.  

Next weeks final match of the round has Ponsonby away to Marist at their Dunkirk Rd headquarters. Marist have not enjoyed the most happiest of seasons to date in 2017 with two wins from their six outings. In their most recent fixture last Saturday they despatched lowly placed Otahuhu by 32-12 after leading by a slender 10-5 at the break. Marist always rise to the occasion against Ponsonby and with a lengthy history between the two clubs, and the Tom Johns Memorial Cup at stake, Marist are certain to have saved their best performance of the season for this fixture.

Ponsonby 67

Tries: Freedom Vaha’akolo 3, Stephen Perofeta 2, Declan O’Donnell 2, Pryor Collier, Jordan Trainor, Waharai Waitohi tries,

Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 4, Stephen Perofeta 2, Jordan Trainor

Penalty: Stephen Perofeta

East Tamaki 21

Tries: T Moala, K Manu, J Liaina

Conversions:   T Iosua 3

Premiers demolish Otahuhu

The Ponsonby Premiers flexed their muscle and displayed some outstanding athleticism on Saturday afternoon over Otahuhu at Western Springs Stadium, producing a ten try, 68-10 rout.

The match featured several young and extremely exciting stars, including first five eighth Stephen Perofeta and fullback Jordan Trainor, who had both been released from the Blues squad for club rugby duties.  Perofeta ran in three tries, whilst Trainor also joined the try scoring sheet. Of the ten tries recorded, nine were converted by William Talataina-Mu, who looked very accomplished in the second five eighth position.

The Premiers started this match after a satisfying eight try, 56-0, demolition of Waitakere City in the previous round.  Otahuhu on the other hand had recorded their first win of the competition in that round, a solid 16-12 victory over East Tamaki.

With the superb overhead and underfoot conditions, the match was always going to be conducive for an open running and entertaining spectacle.

Right from the start Ponsonby showed a willingness to run, and the first try of the match came in the opening few minutes. A penalty awarded to the blue and blacks five metres from the visitors line was turned over, and then cleared by Otahuhu, however the kick failed to find touch. The kick was cleanly claimed by Jordan Trainor who wrong-footed the defenders, taking play back inside the 22 metre area before linking with Freedom Vaka’akolo who raced down the right hand touch for the try in the corner. Talataina-Mu added a magnificent conversion from wide out.

Ponsonby’s enthusiasm to run continued, and gaps were evident in the Otahuhu defensive line. The second try of the match bore many similarities to the first. A miscued Otahuhu clearing kick was again claimed by Trainor, who changed direction and after gaining some good ground produced a superb offload to Vaha’akolo, who went agonisingly close to scoring in the corner. The Otahuhu defenders halted the move before the ball could be grounded, but not before a neat pop pass to Waha Waitohi who crossed the line. The conversion from wide-out again was struck sweetly, and Ponsonby had a 14-0 lead after only ten minutes play.

From this point Otahuhu tightened their game and the very apparent defensive gaps in the opening stages of the match started disappearing.

The next 20 minutes became a constricted tussle, with Otahuhu thwarting any attempt for Ponsonby to gain any ascendancy, in addition to forcing the blue and blacks into fundamental errors.

However persistence paid off, and Ponsonby recorded their third try of the game, Keenan Masina crossing the line in what was a superb move. An Otahuhu touchfinder was quickly thrown in by Vaha’akolo to Trainor, who linked with Pryor Collier, and with the defence napping Masina was able to race to the line. The conversion sailed away, but Ponies had a handy 19-0 lead.

Soon after Otahuhu chanced their arm, and in a spirited move they were able to place some heavy demands on the Ponsonby defence. A desperate tackle by Danny Tusitala on an Otahuhu player was accidentally high, and Tusitala found himself going to the sideline for ten minutes. The resulting penalty was goaled by the visitors, giving them their first three points of the match.

With one man short on the field, Ponsonby successfully defended their line for the remainder of the half, going to the break at 19-3 ahead.

Ponsonby’s first score of the second spell resulted from a scrum penalty some 12 metres from the Otahuhu line, Trainor waltzing through a yawning gap for the try.

In the 57th minute of the game Ponsonby again prospered from a scrum penalty close to the visitor’s line. Taina Fox-Matamua picked up the ball from the scrum base, linking with Danny Tusitala, and then Perofeta, who stretched out for the five pointer. The successful conversion extended the Ponsonby lead to 33-3.     

Soon after Ponsonby launched a long range attack on the visitors territory, and some great work by Vaha’akolo took play inside Otahuhu’s 22. What had been a promising move stopped close to the line, and from an ensuing 5 metre scrum the very promising Matamua-Fox barged over.  

Another sweeping move from Ponsonby, starting from deep inside their own half, resulted in a superb try by Vaha’akolo.

Perofeta scored Ponsonby’s eighth try of the match, and his second, in the 69th minute. A magnificent Trainor break commencing starting inside the Ponsonby 22, and tremendous support from Waitohi, freed Perofeta who raced the remaining 25 metres to the line.

Pryor Collier joined the list of try scorers, after a nifty chip kick from the base of a ruck by replacement halfback Shigeru Kohiyama, the ball gathered neatly by Collier, who beat two would-be defenders, then running away for the try.

Perofeta scored Ponsonby’s final try of the match, the first five eighth capping off a splendid debut performance.

With time up on the clock, Ponsonby looked to score one final try, but a spilt pass inside Otahuhu’s 22, was scooped up by the visitors and an 80 metre move was finished off by replacement Mikaele Kapeli.

Whilst eight of Ponsonby’s tries were scored by the backs, the forward pack produced a mammoth effort, with some outstanding work at scrum and lineout time, and at the breakdown, in addition to the big men being called upon to make numerous tackles on the physical Otahuhu opposites.

This win sees Ponsonby shift to third place on the competition table, and with two matches remaining they will be focused on achieving maximum points in those games to maintain their place amongst the top four qualifiers who progress to the Alan McEvoy Trophy round. Next week Ponsonby face East Tamaki at Western Springs, and then an away match with Marist in the final round on the 27th of May. East Tamaki pushed competition leaders Pakuranga last week, going down by 32-20, whilst Marist secured their first win of the round, defeating Waitakere City by 30-16.

The two other fixtures between Ponsonby and Otahuhu on Saturday at Western Springs both produced victories, the Premier Reserves winning by 27-3, and the Under 20’s thrashing their opposites by 53-5.

 

Ponsonby Premiers: 68

Tries: Stephen Perofeta 3, Freedom Vaha’akolo 2, Waharai Waitohi, Keenan Masina, Jordon Trainor, Taina Fox-Matamua and Pryor Collier

Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 9

Otahuhu Premiers: 10 

Try: M Kapeli

Conversion: T Tavae

Penalty: T Tavae

Halftime: 19-3 

PREMIERS SECURE WIN OVER GRAMMAR-TEC

The Ponsonby Premier side recorded their first win of the 2017 competition on Saturday afternoon over Grammar-Tec at Western Springs Stadium. Ponsonby defeated the visitors by 34-13 after leading by 12-6 at the halftime break, scoring a quartet of tries and registering a valuable bonus point in the process. The win sees the blue and blacks move to fifth place on the competition table and with the race for a spot in the all-important top four about to heat up, bonus points will be very valuable.

This victory was built on a solid performance from the Ponsonby forward pack, setting the platform for an extremely satisfying result given the trying conditions that the match was played under.  The Premiers result completed an excellent day for the Ponsonby club, with the Premier Development and the Under 20 sides also notching victories over Grammar-Tec.

In this match Grammar-Tec dominated proceedings in the opening minutes, and with the first penalty of the match going their way, Harry Plummer goaled from a handy position.

A short time later, Ponsonby went onto the attack, driving the visitors close to their own goal-line. A miscued clearing kick by Grammar-Tec gifted possession to Ponsonby who went on to attack. But an infringement at the breakdown saw a penalty go the way of the blue and blacks, William Talataina-Mu goaling for his side, drawing the scores level at 3-3.

Approaching the midway stage of the half, both Plummer and Talataina-Mu exchanged penalty goals, the scores locked at 6-6.

During the final ten minutes of the first half Talataina-Mu kicked two further penalty goals, putting Ponsonby in the lead on the scoreboard at 12-6, which they took to the halftime break.

This was the first occasion in this competition where Ponsonby had led their opposition on the scoreboard at the halftime break. The confidence amongst the Ponsonby side was visibly evident as they knew that they had achieved the necessary dominance over their visitors in the first spell, a dominance which they needed to maintain in the second 40 minutes.

Early in the second half Ponsonby went onto attack, forcing Grammar-Tec deep into their territory and with the visitors on the backfoot, the blue and blacks looked to strike. From a maul just eight metres out, the athletic Presley Tufuga burst through a half gap, scoring beneath the posts, much to the delight of his team-mates. The successful conversion stretched the lead to 19-6.

Ponsonby were starting to find holes in the Grammar-Tec defence, and a neat break by Talataina-Mu created space for fullback Pryor Collier to dive over in the right hand corner.

Ponsonby now led by 24-6 and indications were that they could run away with this match, but Grammar-Tec were not prepared to let this occur. Several well-constructed phases eventually saw them break, what had been, a very sound Ponsonby defensive line. Harry Plummer scored a five pointer for his side, which he also converted.

The blue and blacks continued their second half supremacy, forcing the visitors into fundamental errors. Some inaccurate passing by Grammar-Tec saw the ball go the ground, only to be pounced on by a vigilant Patrick Tausie. With possession now firmly with Ponsonby, some great work by debutant Cole Garrick and Pryor Collier took play close to the Grammar-Tec line. From a close position outstanding prop Marco Fepuleai charged over for Ponsonby’s third try of the match.

In the last ten minutes of the contest Ponsonby looked for opportunities to score their fourth try, a try which would secure a vital bonus point. Patience paid off, and with time almost up, an attacking scrum 15 metres out and a clever run from Talataina-Mu saw Freedom Vaha’akolo cross the whitewash.   

Next week Ponsonby travel out to Te Atatu South to tackle Waitakere City on their home ground. These two sides have not done battle since May the 3rd 2014, Ponsonby overwhelming their opposites that day by 125-5.

Whilst not enjoying the most pleasing of seasons in recent years, Waitakere City in 2017 are showing signs of improvement  with a win and two losses from the three outings.

The Premiers kick off at 2.45pm at Waitakere Stadium, with the Premier Development sides meeting in the curtain-raiser at 1.00pm.

 

PONSONBY: 34

Tries: Presley Tufuga, Pryor Collier, Marco Fepuleai and Freedom Vaha’akolo

Conversion: William Talataina-Mu

Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 4

 

GRAMMAR-TEC: 13

Try: Harry Plummer

Conversion: Harry Plummer

Penalties: Harry Plummer 2

 

Terry Hodges

30 April 2017

PONSONBY v GRAMMAR-TEC 29 APRIL 2017

This Saturday afternoon Ponsonby host an old foe, Grammar-Tec at the Western Springs Stadium. The Premiers kick off at 2.45pm, and the Premier Development sides and the Under 20 sides meet at 1.00pm.

The Ponsonby Premiers played Grammar-Tec twice in 2016, the blue and blacks registering wins on both occasions. The first came in May when Ponies won by 40-33, and then a month later they overcame their opposites by 23-20.

Coming into this match Grammar-Tec had recorded two wins from two outings – firstly 23-22 over Otahuhu and a 29-19 success at the expense of Waitakere City in the second round. By their own admission, these victories had been rather fortuitous over two sides that have traditionally languished at the lower end of the competition table in recent seasons.

The Ponsonby starting XV for this match includes a handful of personnel changes in the backs from that which started against University last Saturday. Danny Tusitala and Pat Tausie move from the bench to start at halfback and centre respectively, and Pryor Collier switches to fullback for this match. Ben Meredith has his first start of the season on the right wing, with former Waikato Juniors representative Cole Garrick featuring on the left wing.

1.Steven Savali

2.Charles Napa'a

3.Marco Fepulea'i

4.Tom Fisiihoi

5.Jamie Lane

6.Waharai Waitohi (c)

7.Aleks Dabek

8.Presley Tufuga

9.Danny Tusitala

10.William Talataina-Mu

11.Cole Garrick

12.Keenan Masina

13.Patrick Tausie

14.Ben Meredith

15.Pryor Collier

16.Jacob Scott

17.Alex Matapo

18.Moteiva Ngauamo

19.Taina Fox-Matamua

20.Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa

21.Shigeru Kohiyama

22.Freedom Vaha'akolo

PREMIERS FALL SHORT AGAINST UNIVERSITY

The Ponsonby Premiers came up short on the scoreboard against University in the second round of the 2017 club competition, going down by 20-12 at Western Springs on Saturday afternoon.

After falling to Pakuranga in the first round two weeks earlier, Ponsonby would have been seeking a polished performance, with a greater defensive effort. Against the students Ponsonby produced a mammoth defensive effort, but on attack the all-important accuracy and execution was absent.

On paper Ponsonby fielded a very exciting side, including Blues squad member Jordan Trainor at fullback. However Trainor’s appearance was brief, being forced from the field early in the match with a nasty injury. The pack for this game included the very athletic Tom Fisi’ihoi, who last ran out for the Ponsonby Premiers in 2015. The experience gained by Fisi’ihoi overseas was evident as he added some much needed impetus at scrum time.

University enjoyed a lion share of possession throughout the match, feeding off numerous Ponsonby errors, however for 39 minutes of the first spell the visitors could only register three points, being a penalty goal from the boot of Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald.

Ponsonby were forced to defend their line in the dying moments of the first half, and right on the stroke of halftime University took a quick tap penalty and the try was scored. The successful conversion gave them a 10-0 advantage at the break.

In the first minute of the second spell William Talataina-Mu goaled a superb 44 metre penalty to put the blue and blacks on the board. However another attempt just three minutes later fell short.

Approaching the midway point of the half, Ponsonby were reduced to 14 men when Presley Tufuga was despatched to the sinbin. The ensuing penalty was goaled by Elkington-MacDonald, extending the University lead to 13-3.

Whilst Ponsonby were down to 14 men, Talataina-Mu added two more penalty goals in the 61st and 68th minute bringing Ponsonby closer on the scoreboard at 13-9 down.  A further penalty goal by the Ponsonby flyhalf took his side closer at 13-12 with eightminutes to play.

However a converted try in the last few moments against the run of play by University sealed the victory for them.

Next Saturday afternoon Ponsonby host Grammar-Tec, who were not totally convincing in the last round against a resurgent Waitakere City side. Grammar-Tec trailed by 16-11 at halftime, but two second half tries saw them run out the victors by 29-19.

In last Saturday afternoon’s curtain-raiser at Western Springs the Ponsonby Premier Reserves defeated their University opposites by 25-19.

UNIVERSITY 20

Tries: Brenton Helleur and Conor McCowan

Conversions: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald 2

Penalties: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald 2

PONSONBY: 12

Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 4