SILVERWARE AND MORE AT STAKE FOR PONSONBY PREMIERS

This Saturday afternoon sees the final round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy competition, and Ponsonby are drawn to face the table topping College Rifles. The draw is perfectly scripted, seeing the first and second placed sides squaring off, with plenty up for grabs.

Ponsonby should start this match with a degree of confidence after their second half domination of Suburbs last week. Should Ponsonby win this encounter against Rifles and earn four competition points they will win the Comradery Cup, plus regain the Sir Fred Allen Challenge Cup. However if Ponsonby win, and achieve a valuable four try bonus point they will also win the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield, plus gain a guaranteed home advantage semi-final in the Gallaher Shield play-offs. Nevertheless the latter also requires Ponsonby to deny College Rifles any bonus points from the match, and that in itself will be a challenge given how Rifles has performed this season, and what they stand to gain should they win the match.

A victory for Rifles this Saturday afternoon will see them win or retain all the above mentioned silverware, plus they will be guaranteed a home ground advantage in the Gallaher Shield semi-final on the 23rd of July.

In its inaugural season, the Comaradery Cup is contested between Ponsonby and College Rifles, the cup being donated by club stalwart Sam Lawrence. The cup was won by Rifles following their victory back in April.

In 2016 College Rifles have been extremely impressive registering 12 wins from 13 encounters, amassing 462 points, and conceding 201. The only loss was to Suburbs in the 3rd round of the Alan McEvoy, by 33-27. Rifles are this season’s most improved side, and have risen to glory after failing to qualify for the top eight in 2015. It was a resounding 49-26 win by Ponsonby that crushed the chances of College Rifles advancing to 2015 Alan McEvoy round. Rifles then played the second half of the season in the Portola Trophy group, losing in the Trophy semi-final to Suburbs by 30-25.

Ponsonby and College Rifles played in the opening match of the 2016 competition at Western Springs back in April. The blue and blacks led by 13-10 at halftime, and then allowed the visitors to seize control of the game, going on to take the match by 26-13.

The run on side for this final round robin match features a few changes from last week’s side. Campbell Woodmass, Pryor Collier and Joe Beckett all return after being unavailable last week, and Danny Tusitala moves from halfback to the left wing. After a lengthy injury enforced break Waha Waitohi will start from the bench.

The Premiers play College Rifles on the artificial surface at their Remuera headquarters, kicking off at 2.45pm. The unbeaten Ponsonby Premier Reserves feature against the College Rifles opposites on the number two ground at Haast St, kicking off at 1.00pm.

PONSONBY:

1 Junior Halafuka; 2 Willie Uili; 3 Marco Fepuleai; 4 Leo Ngahe; 5 Jamie Lane; 6 Sam Slade;        7 Willis Hopwood; 8 Presley Tufuga; 9 Campbell Woodmass; 10 William Talataina-Mu; 11 Danny Tusitala;   12 Pat Tausie; 13 Pryor Collier; 14 Joseph Beckett; 15 Freedom Vaha’akolo;

16 Romero Tagi; 17 Steven Savali; 18 Anthony Diack; 19 Waha Waitohi; 20 Laki Tiatia; 21 Junior Cagiaceva; 22 Morrison Siliko