The Premiers season came to an abrupt end on Saturday afternoon when they were defeated by University 27-22 in the Gallaher Shield semi-final.
Played at Colin Maiden Park in damp and often blustery conditions, Ponsonby scored three tries and trailed by 17-15 at the halftime break.
Ponsonby were forced to start this match without a recognised first five eighth after William Talataina-Mu was picked up by Southland for the forthcoming Mitre 10 Cup competition and was urgently required in Invercargill for training, throwing Ponsonby's pre-match preparations into disarray. The task of playing in this pivotal position against University was handed to winger Tilitili Puloka, who reportedly had never played here previously.
Ponsonby started strongly, and in the opening minutes a beautiful break by Keenan Masina freed Patrick Tausie to crash over the line, but the University defenders were able to turn him on his back, preventing the ball from being grounded. From the ensuing five metre scrum Ponsonby then constructed some good forward momentum and Robert Cobb charged over for the opening try. Jordan Trainor added the extra two points, giving Ponsonby a handy 7-0 lead.
Soon after both University put their first points on the board, a penalty goal from the boot of Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald.
Trainor then responded for Ponsonby with a magnificent 50 metre effort.
Midway through the first spell Ponsonby attempted an attacking move down the left hand flank, only to have Pryor Collier unnecessarily taken out of play. The subsequent penalty was drilled to the corner for the lineout. From the following ruck, Waha Waitohi stretched out to score. The Trainor conversion shaved the upright.
In the final six minutes of the half, University added two converted tries, giving them a 17-15 advantage on the scoreboard at the break.
University commenced the second half with their restart being kicked out on the full. From the scrum on the halfway mark Ponsonby were able to make some good ground, which included an outstanding run by the young prop Robert Cobb. Play then went to the left and Tausie crossed in the corner. Trainor added the extra two points from the sideline.
Ponsonby missed a penalty goal from 35 metes out in the 51st minute, these three points would have been beneficial.
In the 57th minute University regained the lead after they scored their third try following the charge down of an attempted Ponsonby clearing kick. Their successful conversion gave them back the lead in the match at 24-22.
With six minutes to play University added a penalty goal stretching their lead to 27-22.
In the final four minutes Ponsonby set up camp just metres from the University line. Despite being awarded a handful of penalties and scrums, Ponsonby were unable to break the impenetrable University defensive line.
Tries: Robert Cobb, Waha Waitohi and Patrick Tausie
Conversions: Jordan Trainor 2
Penalty: Jordan Trainor
Their win on Saturday afternoon over Grammar-TEC in the final round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield competition secured the Ponsonby Premiers a spot in next week’s Gallaher Shield semi-finals. Ponsonby will face University at Colin Maiden Park in St Johns in a sudden death encounter.
Against Grammar-TEC the Ponsonby side crossed for six tries in the 36-26 victory, earning them a valuable bonus point which was crucial in their quest for the semi-final place.
To clinch that spot in the finals Ponsonby not only needed a bonus point win against Grammar-TEC, but they also needed the result of at least one other competition match to go their way on Saturday. That came from the Eden and Suburbs encounter, with Eden unable to record a bonus point in their 23-21 win, which saw them miss out on the playoffs.
Ponsonby finished the round robin on equal points with College Rifles, but as the blue and blacks won that encounter back on the 10th of June they sneak into third place on the table, leaving Rifles with the unenviable task of doing battle with Suburbs at Shadbolt Park next Saturday.
The Ponsonby and Grammar-TEC match was played in superb conditions and the ground was perfect for an open running game, which Ponsonby were intent on playing.
In the opening minute Keenan Masina ran a perfect line on a 40 metre dash to the line for the first of Ponsonby’s six tries.
Just two minutes later a magnificent break by the athletic Presley Tufuga saw Ponsonby go back onto the attack. A well-executed grubber kick by William Talataina-Mu in behind the defence was gathered by Tilitili Puloka who scored out wide.
With three minutes on the clock Ponsonby had raced out to a 10-0 lead, and the frenetic and high paced game was not showing signs of slowing.
Ponsonby fed a lineout five metres from their own line, which was stolen by Grammar-TEC. The home side distributed the ball through their backline, and looked to have a created perfect overlap. However the vigilant Pryor Collier was lurking, and took his chance, grabbing an intercept and racing 95 metres to score. Talataina-Mu added the extra two points.
Grammar-TEC were unable to halt Ponsonby’s dominance of the match and had no answer for the fast pace and outstanding skills displayed by the blue and blacks.
At the mid-way stage in the first spell, Ponsonby nabbed a Grammar-TEC lineout, the loose forward trio combining in a move that would finish 80 metres down field. The mixture of pace and slick passing by Waha Waitohi, Aleks Dabek and Presley Tufuga saw play streak down the left hand touch, the final pass going to Charles Napa’a who crossed for Ponsonby’s fourth, and bonus point try. The successful conversion extended Ponsonby’s lead to 24-0, after as many minutes.
Ponsonby took their 24-0 lead to the halftime break, and knew that a lot of work was still required to take the win. On three occasions in the first half Grammar-TEC were agonisingly close to the Ponsonby line, but were unable to convert their possession and territory into points.
The halftime message from the Grammar-TEC management seemed to work, and in the first minute of the second spell the winger Kitione Taimani showed some remarkable pace on a 60 metre solo run to score. Jono Hickey added the extra two points.
Ponsonby were able to strike back soon after when Tili Puloka crossed for his second try.
Grammar-TEC continued to look for opportunities to score, and in the 56th minute of the match a dropped pass by one of their front rowers was snapped up by Keenan Masina who dashed to the line. Pryor Collier added the extra two points by way of a drop kick, taking the score to 36-7 in Ponsonby’s favour.
At the halfway point in the spell TJ Vaega crossed in the right hand corner for Grammar-TECs second try. Hickey added the conversion from the sideline.
In the final 13 minutes Grammar-TEC enjoyed a wealth of possession, crossing for two more tries, firstly to Lisati Milo-Harris and then to Matthew Storm,.
Ponsonby will now focus on next week’s encounter with University, and a win would see them advance to the Gallaher Shield final on the 29th of July. Despite Ponsonby being victorious over University less than three weeks ago, the students too will be eager for an opportunity to hold the coveted trophy aloft in a little over a week.
Ponsonby 36 (T Puloka 2, K Masina 2, C Napa’a, P Collier tries, W Talataina-Mu 2, P Collier conv)
Grammar TEC 26 (K Taimani, TJ Vaega, L Milo-Harris, M Storm tries, J Hickey 3 conv)
Halftime: 24 - 0
Other Senior Results from the weekend
- Premier Development 54 Marist 15
- U20's 19 Papatoetoe 43
- First Grade EP's 40 East Tamaki 7
- Restricted U85's 36 College Rifles 17
- Fillies WBD v East Coast Bays
- Falcons 30 Suburbs 20
In last Saturday’s penultimate round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield competition the Ponsonby Premiers grabbed a solid 37-19 win over Pakuranga, keeping their Gallaher Shield semi-final hopes very much alive. The five competition points earned from this fixture has Ponsonby placed fifth, on equal points with College Rifles and Eden. A win next week over Grammar-Tec and the result from at least one of the other competition matches next week should see Ponsonby be amongst the top four qualifiers and then advance to the Gallaher Shield semi-finals.
Coming into this match Pakuranga had recorded one solitary win from their previous five matches, and were out of Gallaher Shield play-off contention, but were always going to be hungry for a victory in this game.
The blue and blacks crossed for four tries against Pakuranga, including one scored by William Talataina-Mu, who added 17 points from the boot for a personal tally of 22 points and now leads the season’s top point’s scorers in the Auckland competition
Ponsonby started strongly in this must win match, looking very composed and focused on the job at hand. Pakuranga on the other hand looked were struggling to win their own lineouts, twice in the first five minutes opting to throw long, which on both occasions were gratefully nabbed by Waha Waitohi.
It was on the second of these occasions that Ponsonby were able to prosper. Waitohi made some good ground from the Pakuranga error, and then some excellent support from Matai Fakautoki saw a ruck form 30 metres from the visitor’s line. From the base of the ruck Campbell Woodmass scooted down the left hand touch, passing to Presley Tufuga who ran untouched to the line, scoring in his 40th and Blazer game. Talataina-Mu added the extra two points.
Soon after, Talataina-Mu goaled a handy penalty giving Ponsonby a handy 10-0 lead after as many minutes.
From the restart Pakuranga endeavoured to get into the game, only to concede a turnover to Ponsonby. The ball ended up in the hands of Freedom Vaha’akolo, who displayed some superb pace on a lengthy run down the right hand flank, eluding several would be tacklers. It appeared that Vaha’akolo may go all the way to the line, but a desperate covering tackle saw him bustled into touch at the visitors 22 metre mark. Pakuranga opted to throw long to the lineout, and once again it was gratefully accepted by Waitohi who charged toward the line, only to be dragged down short. From the ruck, Talataina-Mu sliced through the gap to score beneath the posts, which he duly converted.
Pakuranga were able to get into the game midway through the half with a converted try.
A high tackle by the visitors had them penalised close to their own posts, which Talataina-Mu goaled with ease.
Ponsonby went to the break with a commanding 20-7 lead.
The first 18 minutes of the second spell was a tight tussle, with both sides unable to gain any significant advantage. A slippery surface ensured that ball handling became an issue.
Pakuranga were first to add points in the second spell, with an unconverted try.
With a lead of 20-12 and only having scored two tries, Ponsonby’s task of finishing strongly with a bonus point win from four tries became a little tougher when Tom Fisi’ihoi was shown a yellow card.
Being a man down on the field saw Ponsonby tighten their game, and within minutes they were on attack very close to the visitor’s line. Replacement prop Phil Viane barged over from close range, and again Talataina-Mu converted.
Pakuranga responded a few minutes later with a seven pointer.
With seven minutes to play Talataina-Mu goaled his third penalty of the match, extending Ponsonby’s lead to a seemingly unassailable 30-19.
Then with two minutes left on the clock Ponsonby put the icing on the cake with a gem of a try. From inside the Ponsonby half a move was initiated by Pryor Collier, who wrong-footed the defence on a deceptive run which went one way then another. Play then went wide to Vaha’akolo who ran round his opposite and an excellent run by the right winger he then drew the final defender before passing infield to the supporting Keenan Masina to score beneath the posts.
Attention now swings to next week’s away match against Grammar-Tec, and whilst they are out of Gallaher Shield play-off contention, they will be a tough opposition. Ponsonby join University, College Rifles and Eden who are all vying for three spots in the semi-finals. Grammar-Tec have recorded only two wins from six outings in this round, and last week were on the receiving end of a 43-12 hiding by Eden. As an old foe of Ponsonby’s , Grammar-Tec will be eager to halt the blue and blacks progress to the finals.
In the curtain-raiser on Saturday between the Ponsonby and Pakuranga Development teams, a last gasp try by halfback Roger Tuamoheloa secured the win for Ponsonby by 23-22.
Tries: Presley Tufuga, William Talataina-Mu, Keenan Masina and Phil Viane
Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 4
Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 3
Tries: S Afoa, M East, T Latu
Conversions: S Vaevae 2
Must-win game for our Premiers this weekend! Here is your lineup. A particularly special game for our Number 8 Prez Tufuga. He'll take the field this weekend for the 40th time and receive his blazer! Development KO at 11:30am followed by the Prems at 1:45pm (note earlier time due to Lions Test Match) #noezy
Other Senior Teams:
U20s will face College Rifles away at 11:45am
Fillies take on Manurewa away at 1:45pm
The PRC Annual Raffle has been drawn - major prize winning numbers are
08390, 07644, 08100, 01114, 02999, 06235, 03861, 05551, 07680
All Winners have been notified, we would like to thank you all for your support
The Ponsonby Premier side have kept their Gallaher Shield semi-final aspirations alive with a gutsy 26-24 win over University at Western Springs on Saturday afternoon. In what had been billed as the match of the round, the intense encounter was played in testing conditions with drizzly rain falling throughout the 80 minutes.
Ponsonby produced some classic rugby in their come from behind win, and are now placed fourth equal with Eden on the all-important points table. The Premiers result capped off a satisfying afternoon of rugby for the club in the senior grades, with the Premier Development, the Under 20’s and the Under 85kg sides all recording victories.
Waha Waitohi, William Talataina-Mu and Tom Fisi’ihoi all recorded their blazer game on Saturday afternoon, joining the list of remarkable players who have achieved this notable milestone for the club.
The match did not start as Ponsonby would have planned with the visitors racing out to a 21-0 lead from three converted tries in the first 18 minutes.
The first seven pointer was registered in the opening 30 seconds. The University halfback Basil Aholelei gathered the ball from the first ruck and raced 40 metres untouched toward the tryline. A desperate tackle halted him just short of scoring, but the hooker Kurt Eklund was on hand to barge over for the try which was converted by Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald.
Ponsonby appeared to have some early defensive difficulties, allowing the visitors to score their second try just minutes after their first. The number eight Uini Fetalaiga secured a lineout throw and raced 30 metres to the line eluding several would be tacklers. Elkington-MacDonald again converted.
While a 14-0 score line after seven minutes many in the University camp were predicting a cricket score, as promising Ponsonby attacks could not be completed and defensive gaps were evident.
University were quick to capitalise on any Ponsonby deficiencies, and their third try came from a turnover in Ponsonby’s half. Some slick passing from the forwards, then a good run from Blues loose forward Steven Luatua, followed by a clever offload to fullback Sam Lawson who crossed for the try.
The Ponsonby side glanced at the scoreboard and this seemed to provide the necessary impetus to launch a fightback.
Within minutes of the Lawson try, the blue and blacks found themselves just metres from the University line. A successful lineout and a classic drive to the line resulted in Willie Uili barging over, the try being converted by Talataina-Mu.
Ponsonby’s second try of the match was scored from another lineout close to the visitor’s line. A penalty in Ponsonby’s favour was drilled to the corner. The lineout win and a rolling maul saw Marco Fepuleai crash over. The conversion was unsuccessful and Ponsonby were clawing back the deficit, now trailing by 21-12.
Ponsonby had dominated the latter minutes of the first spell and with a few minutes to play they were awarded an attacking scrum 22 metres from the visitor’s line. Daniel Bowden and William Talataina-executed a perfect wrap-around move, which looked to have been halted by the defence, but Bowden threw a deft pop pass to Freedom Vaha’akolo who eluded the defence to race to the line. Talataina-Mu added the extra two points, taking Ponsonby to 21-19 down going to the break.
In the second spell the visitors looked for opportunities to again control of the match, and to increase their lead. However Ponsonby were playing the smarter game given the conditions. University were struggling to control the slippery ball, and were making fundamental errors.
It was in the 61st minute that Ponsonby seized the lead in the match. A magnificent move from 40 metres out saw Pryor Collier slice through a yawning defensive gap, wrong-footing any potential tacklers, and then score underneath the posts. Talataina-Mu added the extra points, seeing him pass 100 points for the season, and Ponsonby now lead by 26-21.
With ten minutes to play an Elkington-MacDonald penalty goal narrowed the deficit to 26-24, and a late rally his side team was not successful, Ponsonby holding on for the victory.
The win keeps Ponsonby’s semi-final hopes alive and claimed five valuable competition points from this game. To secure their place in the semi-finals Ponsonby will need to win against Pakuranga next week, and then Grammar-Tec in the final round the following week. Additionally, other results will need to go their way.
The Premier Development side successfully defeated their University opposites by 13-11, whilst the Ponsonby Under 20’s beat Eden by 21-20, and the Under 85’s won their encounter with Grammar-Tec by 16-12.
Tries: Willie Uili, Marco Fepuleai, Freedom Vah’akolo and P Collier
Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 3
Tries: Uini Fetalaiga, Kurt Eklund and Sam Lawson
Conversions: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald 3
Penalty: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald
This is the Premier line up to take on University at Western Springs this Saturday 1 July 2017 at 2:45pm.
The Ponies Association Day starts at 1pm and for only $20 you get a roast lunch and beer! Come down and catch up with old friends and by doing so you'll be helping the U20's tour to Samoa in November.
If you want to receive the line up directly, email Dennis Mansfield on firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Tries: Junior Halafuka, S Ulufonua and Freedom Vaha’akolo
Conversion : Jordan Trainor
Penalty: Jordan Trainor 2
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
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 email@example.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!
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
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.
Tries: T Lam, N Costa, B Lam
Conversions: R Costa 2, N Costa
Penalty: R Costa
Drop Goal: R Costa
Tries: M Fepuleai, F Vaha’akolo
Conversions: W Talataina-Mu 2
Penalty: W Talataina-Mu
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.
Tries: Pryor Collier and Antoine Pallette
Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 2
Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 3
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
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.
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