The Ponsonby Premier side recorded their first win of the 2017 competition on Saturday afternoon over Grammar-Tec at Western Springs Stadium. Ponsonby defeated the visitors by 34-13 after leading by 12-6 at the halftime break, scoring a quartet of tries and registering a valuable bonus point in the process. The win sees the blue and blacks move to fifth place on the competition table and with the race for a spot in the all-important top four about to heat up, bonus points will be very valuable.
This victory was built on a solid performance from the Ponsonby forward pack, setting the platform for an extremely satisfying result given the trying conditions that the match was played under. The Premiers result completed an excellent day for the Ponsonby club, with the Premier Development and the Under 20 sides also notching victories over Grammar-Tec.
In this match Grammar-Tec dominated proceedings in the opening minutes, and with the first penalty of the match going their way, Harry Plummer goaled from a handy position.
A short time later, Ponsonby went onto the attack, driving the visitors close to their own goal-line. A miscued clearing kick by Grammar-Tec gifted possession to Ponsonby who went on to attack. But an infringement at the breakdown saw a penalty go the way of the blue and blacks, William Talataina-Mu goaling for his side, drawing the scores level at 3-3.
Approaching the midway stage of the half, both Plummer and Talataina-Mu exchanged penalty goals, the scores locked at 6-6.
During the final ten minutes of the first half Talataina-Mu kicked two further penalty goals, putting Ponsonby in the lead on the scoreboard at 12-6, which they took to the halftime break.
This was the first occasion in this competition where Ponsonby had led their opposition on the scoreboard at the halftime break. The confidence amongst the Ponsonby side was visibly evident as they knew that they had achieved the necessary dominance over their visitors in the first spell, a dominance which they needed to maintain in the second 40 minutes.
Early in the second half Ponsonby went onto attack, forcing Grammar-Tec deep into their territory and with the visitors on the backfoot, the blue and blacks looked to strike. From a maul just eight metres out, the athletic Presley Tufuga burst through a half gap, scoring beneath the posts, much to the delight of his team-mates. The successful conversion stretched the lead to 19-6.
Ponsonby were starting to find holes in the Grammar-Tec defence, and a neat break by Talataina-Mu created space for fullback Pryor Collier to dive over in the right hand corner.
Ponsonby now led by 24-6 and indications were that they could run away with this match, but Grammar-Tec were not prepared to let this occur. Several well-constructed phases eventually saw them break, what had been, a very sound Ponsonby defensive line. Harry Plummer scored a five pointer for his side, which he also converted.
The blue and blacks continued their second half supremacy, forcing the visitors into fundamental errors. Some inaccurate passing by Grammar-Tec saw the ball go the ground, only to be pounced on by a vigilant Patrick Tausie. With possession now firmly with Ponsonby, some great work by debutant Cole Garrick and Pryor Collier took play close to the Grammar-Tec line. From a close position outstanding prop Marco Fepuleai charged over for Ponsonby’s third try of the match.
In the last ten minutes of the contest Ponsonby looked for opportunities to score their fourth try, a try which would secure a vital bonus point. Patience paid off, and with time almost up, an attacking scrum 15 metres out and a clever run from Talataina-Mu saw Freedom Vaha’akolo cross the whitewash.
Next week Ponsonby travel out to Te Atatu South to tackle Waitakere City on their home ground. These two sides have not done battle since May the 3rd 2014, Ponsonby overwhelming their opposites that day by 125-5.
Whilst not enjoying the most pleasing of seasons in recent years, Waitakere City in 2017 are showing signs of improvement with a win and two losses from the three outings.
The Premiers kick off at 2.45pm at Waitakere Stadium, with the Premier Development sides meeting in the curtain-raiser at 1.00pm.
Tries: Presley Tufuga, Pryor Collier, Marco Fepuleai and Freedom Vaha’akolo
Conversion: William Talataina-Mu
Penalties: William Talataina-Mu 4
Try: Harry Plummer
Conversion: Harry Plummer
Penalties: Harry Plummer 2
30 April 2017