The opening round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Shield last Saturday saw the Ponsonby Premiers travel up the road to Gribblehurst Park to tackle Eden. The result left the statisticians scrambling for the record books to see when it was that Ponsonby last lost to Eden. After Ponsonby had led by 7-0 at the halftime break, Eden went on to win by 27-17. Ponsonby scored a try in each half, and the balance of the points was from the boot of William Talataina-Mu.
Eden are one of the most improved sides in Auckland Premier rugby in 2017, and coupled with their clubs 95th anniversary celebrations this weekend, Ponsonby were never going to find this match a walk in the park.
The opening 30 minutes were nothing short of a massive arm wrestle, with neither side able to gain significant ascendancy. However Ponsonby recorded the first try of the match, courtesy of the outstanding prop Marco Fepuleaii.
Eden struck back early in the second spell with a penalty goal and then a converted try a few minutes later.
Talataina-Mu levelled the scores at 10-10 soon after with a penalty goal.
Ponsonby looked to up the tempo in the match, but were unable to stop a combined effort from Rodrigo and Nicholas Costa, the latter sneaking over for a five pointer next to the posts, which was converted.
A drop goal by Eden’s Rodrigo Costa extended the lead for his side to 20-10.
A well worked try for Ponsonby by Freedom Vaha’akolo, converted by Talataina-Mu, brought Ponsonby to within striking distance at 20-17 down.
With time in the match running out, Ponsonby staged a late comeback, but a stray pass was intercepted by Eden’s Brody Lam, and then converted.
Ponsonby will now regroup and focus on next week’s match back at home against College Rifles, which will be another tough encounter. Last Saturday College Rifles came from 10-6 down at the break to edge Grammar-Tec by 21-20.
Tries: T Lam, N Costa, B Lam
Conversions: R Costa 2, N Costa
Penalty: R Costa
Drop Goal: R Costa
Tries: M Fepuleai, F Vaha’akolo
Conversions: W Talataina-Mu 2
Penalty: W Talataina-Mu