Away vs Christchurch
Round 214th April 2018 - 2.45pm Venue : Chch 1
Result : 21 - 21
A last-minute penalty attempt miss from 52m by New Brighton first-five Stefan Moir ensured the DCL Shield remained at Christchurch Park for at least another week after an enthralling 21-21 draw on Saturday.
The neutral spectator would say that a draw was a fair result. The final whistle brought no real emotion from either side, often the case when a draw is the result.
There was a boost for New Brighton before Kick-Off with the inclusion of Crusaders flanker Billy Harmon.
New Brighton led early with a Stefan Moir penalty after four minutes and doubled that lead just before the half hour mark when Moir added a second.
Five minutes before the half-time whistle a defensive lineout throw from Christchurch's Hamish Kilpatrick was overthrown and his opposite number Nathan Vella caught the ball and dived over the line. The conversion was missed but New Brighton led 11-0.
They say that those minutes before and after half-time are vital in a tight match and Christchurch made the most of them by scoring three tries in the space of seven minutes either side of the break.
Christchurch centre, Dallas McLeod scored his team’s first try when he slammed the ball up against the post. The try came after a patient build up from the home side that lasted a dozen phases inside the New Brighton 22. The conversion from Dan Dorgan brought about the half-time whistle.
Just two minutes into the second half, Kilpatrick was sinbinned by referee Blair Barclay but that seemed to spur Christchurch on as they went on to score two tries to nil in the time that the hooker was off the park.
The first came after Zac McKay made a break up the middle and drew in the last New Brighton defender beautifully before passing to McLeod who went over for his second next to the posts.
Three minutes later halfback Nick Annear strolled over untouched after half a dozen phases starting from 40m out. Dorgan’s conversion extended the lead to ten points.
Moir added a third penalty for New Brighton from 35m bringing the seasider’s back within touching distance then on the hour mark the visitors were back on even terms.
Substitute No.8 Aaron McCoy picked up a loose ball 40m out from the Christchurch line after it spilled out from a ruck and managed to see off the chasing defenders down the left wing to score in the corner. Moir converted under pressure from the sideline.
The final 20mins were tense, there were kicking duels as the teams wrestled for territory. At vital times lineout throws went astray from both sides.
If any team were going to win it at the death is was going to be New Brighton who were the side that finished the better.
Tries: Jordan French, Nathan Vella
Penalties: Stefan Moir (3)
Conversions: Stefan Moir (1)
3 Nathan Vella
2 Stefan Moir
1 Alex Frew