The Ponsonby Premiers recorded an outstanding 41-23 victory over Waitemata on Saturday afternoon, scoring seven tries in the match, and having their line crossed only twice. Ponsonby earn five valuable competition points, and now have three wins from three in the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy round, propelling them to second place on the points table. This win was Ponsonby’s first over Waitemata since 2013, and accordingly the Anton Begovich Memorial Cup returns to the Western Springs clubrooms.
The victory over Waitemata was extremely satisfying, and it was not just an ordinary win – this was an outstanding win, and it was the way in which the victory was achieved. All 22 players in the match day squad contributed to this outstanding performance, one that left the Waitemata players and management, and its supporters, astonished, at the skills and athleticism of this young side. Ponsonby were exceptional on attack, and merciless on defence.
The match was the 40th and blazer game of the unprecedented Pryor Collier, and he celebrated the occasion in style crossing for a hat trick of tries in the match. The 22 year old has achieved his blazer in just three seasons, and has been an automatic selection in the Premier side since 2014.
It was appropriate that it was Collier who opened the scoring in the match, in what would become a high scoring and pulsating first half. Collier scored the first try of the match in just the third minute when Ponsonby had a golden opportunity to capitalise on a wonderful position in Waitemata’s territory. A Ponsonby throw to the lineout just 22 metres out from the home side line was cleanly tapped down by Presley Tufuga, and a beautiful half break by William Talataina-Mu allowed Collier then burst through to score beneath the posts.
Waitemata responded with two penalty goals in quick succession to their ace goal kicker Karl Siemsen. Then it was Siemsen that was on the end of a classic backline move, scoring in the left hand corner. He then converted his own try, extending the Waitemata lead to 13-7.
Ponsonby responded almost straight away. Pryor Collier intercepted a stray Waitemata pass, and raced the 50 metres to the try line, cleverly staying away from the opposition defenders. Talataina-Mu converted, the lead going back the way of Ponsonby at 14-13.
Ponsonby’s lead on the scoreboard was short-lived, Siemsen adding his third penalty goal of the match, taking his side to 16-14.
The subsequent restart was claimed by Waitemata, and they went back onto the attack. But Pryor Collier was proving to be a handful to the opposition, forcing a vital turnover, and with good support play went close to the home-side line. A deft crossfield kick from the masterful Talataina-Mu fell neatly for Joe Beckett to claim, and fall over the line for a brilliant try. The conversion was short, but the lead was back the way of Ponsonby at 19-16.
Five minutes from the halftime break, Talataina-Mu attempted a long range penalty goal, the kick falling short. The Waitemata restart fell neatly for Ponsonby. Play then went down the right hand touch, including a magnificent turn of speed and a crafty dummy by Willie Uili, and replacement back Pat Tausie burst to the corner for Ponsonby’s fourth, and bonus point try.
In the dying moments of the half Waitemata looked to reclaim the lead on the scoreboard, but their efforts were thwarted. A loose ball was nabbed by Willis Hopwood, the flanker feeding possession to the backs. Talataina-Mu ran down the right hand touch toward Waitemata’s territory, then off-loading to Joe Beckett who had the pace and expertise to step away from the opposing defenders, crossing for his second try.
Ponsonby went to the break ahead by 29-16, and were looking dangerous with the ball in hand.
Waitemata were first to score in the second spell, the fullback Sam Aolele crossing in the 5th minute of the half, which Siemsen converted.
Soon after Ponsonby were awarded a penalty on the halfway mark, which Talataina-Mu drilled to touch. The ensuing lineout was won by Presley Tufuga, play then going through the backline, Charlie Hubert scything through the opposition defence for the try.
The restart by Waitemata was claimed by the hard working Willis Hopwood, who then freed Talataina-Mu. After some outstanding work by Sam Slade and Anthony Diack, the Ponsonby backs exploited the opposition defence, and Collier raced in for his third try of the match. Talataina-Mu added the extra two points, taking the lead to 41-23.
Ponsonby were able to hold out Waitemata in the second spell, producing a massive defensive effort and spoiling several possible attempts at the blue and black line and sealing the emphatic victory.
The Ponsonby Premier Reserves continued their unbeaten run in 2016 with their solid 24-14 win over Waitemata in the curtain-raiser match on Saturday afternoon. Ponsonby scored two tries in the first half, the first to Josh Hawkins, and the second to Junior Cagiceva, both being converted by Chico Huch. Waitemata scored two tries in the second spell, but another try to Cagiceva and a Willie Gibbons penalty secured the win for Ponsonby.
Ponsonby will now look ahead to their fourth round assignment, against Papatoetoe, due to be played at Western Springs stadium next Saturday afternoon. The Fred Allen Challenge Cup will again be on the line. Papatoetoe will be reeling after their 44-5 loss at the hands of Pakuranga in the last round, and they are still looking for their first win in this competition. This latest loss will make their chances of being amongst the all-important top four finalists in the competition somewhat tougher so they will be desperate for a win next week.
PONSONBY PREMIERS: 41
Tries: Pryor Collier 3, Joe Beckett 2, Pat Tausie and Charlie Hubert
Conversions: William Talataina-Mu 3
PONSONBY PREMIER RESERVES: 24
Tries: Junior Cagiaceva 2, Josh Hawkins
Conversions: Chico Huch 2, Willie Gibbons
Penalty: Willie Gibbons