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.
Tries: Brenton Helleur and Conor McCowan
Conversions: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald 2
Penalties: Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald 2
Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 4