Home vs Linwood
Round 422nd April 2017 - 2.45pm Venue : Rawhiti 1
Result : 45 - 13
At Rawhiti Domain: New Brighton 45 (Fili Waqainabete 2, Alisi Tupuailei, Aaron McCoy, Carisbrook To’omalatai, Marcel Cumming-Toone, John Vili tries; Scott Davidson 5 conv) beat Linwood 13 (Wesley Harvey try; Kazan Watanabe conv, 2 pen). HT: 21-13. Referee: Scott Cunnold.
Just when New Brighton needed its backline general to step up, first-five Scott Davidson rose to the occasion. Davidson can be a little hot and cold at times, but he was never worse than warm against Linwood. Under pressure many times in the first half when Linwood had the nor’easter at its back, Davidson cleared his line with meaty licks that took play outside his team’s 22m. He produced some prodigious kicks with the wind his friend in the second half. His goal-kicking, too, was very good, slotting all three conversions into the wind, including two from wide angles. He was not shy to tackle the opposing loose forwards and handled and passed with aplomb. He needed to be on his game because Linwood played with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, especially in the first spell. The visitor started poorly, allowing hulking Brighton centre Alisi Tupuailei to shrug off four tackles when opening the scoring after 4min. Then there was some soft defence of the short side of a 5m scrum which allowed Brighton No.8 Aaron McCoy to almost stroll to the line giving the seasiders a 14-3 lead after 18min. But Linwood had the better of the second quarter. Brighton had kicks charged down, threw passes to the opposition, and missed too many tackles as Linwood, with captain and No.8 Tepasu Thomas to the fore, pressurised the line and was duly rewarded with Thomas slipping a little inside pass for flanker Wesley Harvey to run onto and score by the post. In the final minute before half-time, Linwood trailed by a point, 14-13, but Brighton struck a telling blow in the last play. Davidson angled a little grubber kick behind the defence and inside the Linwood 22m. Fullback Henare Faithfull got a kind bounce and slipped an inside ball to wing Fili Waqainabete, who showed strength to turn in a tackle and stretch out to dot down on the line. That seven-pointer hurt Linwood and the team, although never tossing in the towel, seldom threatened Brighton after the break with the home team scoring four tries. The best of them was Waqainabete’s second after 62min. He angled infield, took an inside pass, and used his step and speed to race 40m and dive over in the right-hand corner. Brighton also took delight in its last try when replacement wing John Vili, chasing hard a kick to the corner, leapt between two defenders to catch the ball and plummet over the line. Twin tower locks, Ben Nelson and Lucas Hill, proved their worth in the lineouts while contributing plenty in the tight and open. Nelson made a vital lineout steal in the second half then won the ball off Linwood at the breakdown near Brighton’s line soon after. McCoy had a storming first half. Tupuailei brushed off tacklers as if they were pesky flies while halfback Matthew Burleigh worked nicely in tandem with Davidson. Thomas was typically competitive in the lineouts and made one rampaging run for Linwood while tight-head prop Trent Harris, if blowing hard at times in the second half, scrummed well and hit the one-offs powerfully. Big wing Sam Limu-Franklin made several ground-grabbing runs, showing speed and strength, and midfielder Louie Devery charged fearlessly at the defence without ever quite making a clean break. Hawkins Medal MVP: Scott Davidson (New Brighton) 3, Ben Nelson (New Brighton) 2, Fili Waqainabete (New Brighton) 1. Bob Schumacher