A dominant first half set up Old Boys University to defend their Jubilee Cup after they defeated Norths 37-31 at the Petone Recreation Ground on Saturday.
OBU hang on to defeat Norths 37-31. Photo by Reef Reid
Four first half tries saw OBU lead 25-3 at the break, a score line that would eventually see them seal victory over a courageous Norths side.
If ever there was a way to start a final it was how OBU did as they dominated territory and possession.
More importantly, they took their chances as Norths struggled to contain their potent finishing.
OBU No 8 Teariki Ben Nicholas was the first to cross after just 10 minutes and when Wes Goosen crossed five minutes later they had a 10-0 lead.
Things got worse in the 24th minute for Norths when halfback Matt Fowler snuck around the side of the ruck to score and the defending champs had a fourth when Sam Coventry drove over.
Behind by 22 points, Norths needed to start the second half well. They did, bursting into the second half with tries to Kienan Higgins and Du’Plessis Kirifi to drag the score back to 25-17.
Just as the comeback looked likely OBU again surged ahead as they crossed through Nicholas to give his side what looked like a match winning lead.
That certainly appeared the case when Wes Goosen scored a brilliant individual try to take the score out to 37-17.
If OBU thought the game was over and the title theirs they had to hold their breath as Norths crossed for two quick tries with time almost up.
However, a great scrum right at the end saw OBU crowned Jubilee Cup winners for a second straight year.
Earlier, Norths won the Tia Paasi Cup with a 20-15 win over Oriental-Rongotai in another final full of drama and excitement.
Norths certainly enjoyed the better percentage of territory and possession in the first half as they worked out to a 10-0 lead in the first half.
While it looked like they might be the dominant team, Ories came right back into it with a really good period of their own before the impressive Joanah Ngan-Woo ran a great angle to score.
Both sides traded points, Norths going out to a 20-15 with half an hour to play.
Despite Ories dominating for the remainder of the match they were unable to get the points they needed, despite having numerous chances to at least level the match.
However, there was no denying the resolute nature of the Norths defence as they tackled themselves literally to a stand-still.
In other results, Petone pipped Wainuiomata 27-26 in the Hardham Cup, Old Boys University Colts made no race of the final in the John E Kelly Cup, beating Hutt Old Boys Marist 55-0 while Marist St Pats just got past Oriental-Rongotai 35-32 in the division one Ed Chaney Cup.
Old Boys University were also dominant in the Izzy Ford Trophy (division two women), beating Hutt Old Boys Marist 71-22, Johnsonville beat Petone 22-19 in the division two HB Morgan Cup while Oriental-Rongotai won the Colts division two Vic Calcinai Cup 33-22.
Old Boys University 37 (Wes Goosen 2, Teariki Ben Nicholas 2, Sam Coventry, Matt Fowler tries; Greg Mullany con, Dale Sabbagh pen, Adrian Seumanufagi con) Northern United (Du’Plessis Kirifi 2, Jackson Garden Bachop, Kienan Higgins, Johnny Teleaga tries; Garden-Bachop 2 cons, pen; Esi Komaisavai, Daley Harper cons).
Tia Paasi Memorial Cup
Norths 20 (Dora Laupola, Leah Conley, Dhys Faleafaga tries; Teina Puketapu pen, con) Oriental-Rongotai 15 (Joanah Ngan-Woo, Bernadette Roberton tries; Elizabeth Goulden pen, Amanda Rasch con).