Plate Final vs Sumner
Round 129th July 2017 - 2:45 Venue : Rawhiti
Result : 19 - 17
At Rawhiti: New Brighton 19 (Stefan Moir try, 4 pen, conv) beat Sumner 17 (2 penalty tries; Nik Cumming pen). HT 16-10. Referee: Blair Barclay.
The plate final between the two seaside clubs produced a dramatic finish with the hands on the trophy changing in the final minutes before the home side clinched victory with a last-gasp penalty to New Brighton first-five Stefan Moir. With 3min remaining, New Brighton were clinging to their 16-10 half-time lead but were under siege from a powerful Sumner scrum which produced a penalty try, their second of the game, to take a 17-16 lead. From the re-start, Sumner seemingly only had to keep their hands on the ball to wind the clock down. However after a sequence of pick and go, a tackled player failed to release the ball and from the resulting penalty a cool, calm Moir stepped up to slot a 40m kick and claim the trophy. In doing so, he scored all of his side's 19 points. With both teams producing strong defensive screens the main attacking thrust came from the two forward packs _ Sumner with their powerful scrum producing two penalty tries and New Brighton, with flanker Billy Harmon to the fore quicker, getting more players to the breakdown and frequently winning turnover ball. All the early pressure came from New Brighton, who scored the only "touchdown" of the game after 10min when Harmon split the defence open with a strong midfield run to put Moir over in the corner. Sumner went to their strength after 20min to even the scores when they earned a penalty but opted for the scrum, the power of which produced their first penalty try. Both sides traded penalties, three to Moir and one to Nikos Cummings-Toone for New Brighton to take a 16-10 lead into the break. The kickers were both astray with penalty attempts before the flurry of points produced the thrilling finish. Harmon was a strong ball carrier and received good support from his skipper, blindside flanker Ryan Newman, in speed to the breakdown. Moir was an asset, not only with his reliable goal-kicking but his tactical kicking in general play kept his side moving forward. The Sumner eight were a powerful unit. No.8 Dylan Nel was strong off the back of the scrum, making many metres with his bulldozing runs. Fullback Marshall Suckling was a committed runner on the counter-attack and centre Zach Kiribirige a strong tackler in midfield.