The Ponsonby Premiers secured a vital win over the neighbouring Eden side in the third round of the Alan McEvoy Championship last Saturday afternoon.
The Eden side came to Western Springs, complete with big tackles and hard line breakers.
The match was a spirited contest, and after some fumbling and bumbling Ponsonby emerged the victors by 27-3, scoring five tries in the process. Despite the blue and blacks enjoying a wealth of possession in the match, they were guilty of not being able to complete what would have been promising moves, with regular turnovers at crucial times.
Ponsonby played most of the first 15 minutes of the encounter in the opposition territory, and in this period were awarded seven penalties and free kicks, but were unable to convert these opportunities into points. It wasn’t until an Eden player was despatched to the sinbin for a professional foul that Ponsonby capitalised.
A penalty kick was drilled to the corner, and from the ensuing lineout the forwards drove to the line for a well-constructed try to Romero Tagi.
During the time that they had the one man advantage on the paddock, Ponsonby were unable to benefit further on the scoreboard.
For the balance of the half Ponsonby continued to enjoy a lion share of the possession, and it wasn’t until late in the half that the reward came. After some helter skelter rugby, the home side managed to exploit the Eden defence, resulting in Freedom Vaha’akolo crossing in the left hand corner. The conversion attempt by William Talataina-Mu drifted wide, and Ponsonby went to the break with a 10-0 advantage.
Eden managed to get on the scoreboard in the 13th minute of the second spell, Rowan Hurinui slotting a penalty goal.
The subsequent restart yielded some enterprising play from Ponsonby. The kick-off from Talataina-Mu was not claimed cleanly by Eden, possession being gifted to Ponsonby, the forward pack then taking play to within metres of the Eden line. After a five metre scrum, Talataina-Mu skipped through some ordinary defence and dotted down beneath the posts. He then landed the conversion, stretching the lead to 17-3.
Ponsonby’s fourth try of the afternoon was scored after a lineout win just short of the Eden line. Jamie Lane went high, securing possession, and after a drive to the line it was the replacement hooker Willie Uili who peeled away and charged over in the corner.
The final try of the afternoon came after a move that swept almost the length of the field. A superb run down the right hand wing by Danny Tusitala took play inside Eden’s territory, and some excellent support from Campbell Woodmass then delivered a clever offload to Pat Tausie, who raced away to the line.
Ponsonby will now regroup and prepare for a huge match against Grammar-Tec, the encounter scheduled to be played at Orakei Domain next Saturday afternoon. Ponsonby will be eager to secure a victory over Grammar-Tec, something that had eluded them for the past few seasons, and one that will help their aspirations of finishing the round amongst the all-important top four qualifiers.
In the curtain-raiser on Saturday afternoon, the Ponsonby Premier Reserves overcame a determined Eden side and led by 10-7 at the halftime break. Ponsonby successfully withstood a late rally by the visitors and emerged the victors by 15-10.
Tries: Romero Tagi, Freedom Vaha’akolo, William Talataina-Mu, Willie Uili and Pat Tausie
Conversion: William Talataina-Mu
Ponsonby Premier Reserves:
Tries: Josh McCombie, Simon Gibion-Sheehan and Doug Halley