Away vs Sumner
Round 529th April 2017 - 2.45pm Venue : St Leonards 1
Result : 26 - 13
At St Leonard’s Square: New Brighton 26 (Walter Huata 2, Fili Waqainabete, Henare Faithfull tries; Scott Davidson 3 conv) beat Sumner 13 (Dylan Nel, Josh Loader tries; Logan Martin-Feek pen). HT: 7-8. Referee: Jeremy McAlister.
While this match was mainly a battle of attrition between two uncompromising forward packs, there were several brilliant tries scored by backs with the doosie of them all coming from Brighton fullback Henare Faithfull with 12min to play. Catching a clearing kick on the sideline and 40m out from Sumner’s line, Faithfull embarked on a weaving run which took him past the oncoming opposition backs, through some half-hearted tackles by tiring forwards, and finally away from the cover defence. He beat six tacklers on his extraordinary run to the line and little wonder he was swamped by his team-mates offering congratulations near the posts. The seven-pointer gave New Brighton its bonuspoint try and an 18-point buffer. Sumner scored a late try but it was of little consolation. The home team must have wondered how this match got away after it had ample possession and spent long periods inside its rival half. A try on the call of half-time had Sumner ahead, 8-7, and it threatened to increase that advantage early in the second spell as it lay siege to Brighton’s line. Then, against the run of play, Brighton second-five Walter Huata made the perfect interception 65m out and outsprinted the cover after 68min. Brighton again had to withstand Sumner pressure for a long period, but while the home team couldn’t convert territory and possession into points, Brighton did. A raking Scott Davidson penalty kick got his side to with 25m out. Brighton won a scrum and Davidson’s pass on the short side was gathered at pace by centre Fili Waqainabete, who showed deft footwork and good strength to reach the try-line. Waqainabete’s fellow Fijian opposite, Poasa Waqanibau, was equally an attacking force and perhaps could have been used more. He invariably beat the first tackle and set up Sumner’s late first-half try by stampeding through two tackles. He was dragged down a metre short, but ever present No.8 Dylan Nel was close by and from that close distance he was unstoppable. The rival packs went hammer and tong for 80min, neither wanting to bend the knee. Sumner’s scrum asked some serious questions, not all of which Brighton answered, and prop Samuela Tawake, lock Thomas Manley, flanker Jack Ingall and Nel drove forward hard and low. Brighton, too, had forwards willing to have their bodies bruised and battered. Locks Lucas Hill and Ben Nelson were in the fray throughout, No.8 Louis Harmon and prop Carisbrook To’omalatai had a no-nonsense approach, but the best of them all was hooker Feleti Kaituu. One of his bone-jarring mid-rib hits reverberated around the ground. The goal-kickers had an off-day with Davidson slotting only one of his first five attempts before landing two handy conversions. Sumner’s Logan Martin-Feek kicked his first penalty then missed his next four, one from almost in front. Hawkins Medal (MVP): Feleti Kaituu (New Brighton) 3, Walter Huata (New Brighton) 2, Poasa Waqanibau (Sumner) 1.