Away vs University
Round 21st July 2017 - 2.45 Venue : Ilam 1
Result : 24 - 40
At Ilam 4: University 40 (Nic Brooker 2, Brad Hemopo 2, Seamus Bardoul, Jared Mitchell tries; Bardoul 2 conv, 2 pen) beat New Brighton 24 (Ryan Hooper 2, Feleti Kaitu’u tries; Stefan Moir 3 conv, pen). HT: 18-17. Referee: Karl Hancox. Sin-bin: Brad Hemopo (University).
``Keep the foot on the throat, we don’t slow down,’’ exhorted a University player after the students scored early in the second half to extend their one-point half-time lead to six. Those words certainly did not fall on deaf ears. From the kick-off, captain Brad Hemopo, who had galloped 20m to open the second-half scoring, collected the ball 12m from his line and embarked on a 50m burst with defenders left everywhere in his wake. When the strapping, athletic No.8 was finally dragged down, University had the numbers out left and centre Seamus Bardoul was over. Five minutes later Hemopo had his second try after another break out from inside the University 22m. This time it was the equally impressive flanker Sam Godwin who initiated the try. University’s pack was being marched backwards in a scrum when the ball popped to the side and Godwin pounced. He made many metres and found plenty of support before Hemopo again broke the final tackle and ran 15m to the line. In the space of 8min, New Brighton had gone from a point behind to be 18 points in arrears. Game over. In the last quarter, Brighton gave itself a chance of a bonus point when flanker Ryan Hooper burrowed over from a 5m lineout drive. He had also scored his team’s first after No.8 Tom Brock had driven to metres of the line and the ball was recycled for Hooper just to get it on the white chalk. University was never headed after opening the scoring with a first-minute penalty and left wing Nic Brooker scampering 70m and veering infield to beat the fullback with ease 5min later. It all came when Brighton coughed up the ball inside the University 22m. That was a common theme throughout for the seasiders. They did not treasure possession, turning over the ball too often and throwing some no-look passes that did not have to be made. Against such an attacking team as University this was akin to playing with fire and getting burnt. Still when hooker Feleti Kaitu’u crashed across after a series of penalties, lineout wins, and fullblooded drives, Brighton trailed only by two points after 35min. Brooker’s second try close to halftime – the wing had no opposition after Brighton defenders had been sucked in to stop a string of drives by the forwards at the line – hurt deeply and University’s rip-roaring third quarter inflicted more pain. Godwin and Hemopo, both fit and fast, were outstanding in general play, although Hemopo was sinbinned after 30min for a heavy tackle on Brighton wing Henare Faithfull as he jumped for a bouncing ball. Faithfull was on the ground for several minutes before being helped off. Hooker Trent Lawn was very mobile as was loose-head prop Oliver McCowan and lock Ryan O’Sullivan was responsible for several turnovers at broken play. The speedy Brooker made the most of limited chances. Prop Carisbrook To’omalatai was typically industrious for Brighton, driving the ball up and making some thumping tackles. Brock was disruptive at the front of the lineout as was Hooper at the back. Lock Ben Nelson was the lineout king. It was a difficult day for the backs who had to defend for long periods. First-five Stefan Moir eased pressure with some raking touch-finders.
Hawkins Medal (MVP): Sam Godwin (University) 3, Brad Hemopo (University) 2, Ryan Hooper (New Brighton) 1. Bob Schumacher