Crunch matches on Derby Day

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Hot on the heels of Wednesday’s seventh round of Swindale Shield matches is the the eighth round tomorrow that also doubles as the annual Derby Day. Six matches are played between neighbors, while the seventh is the battle of the Marist clubs. There is an interclub trophy on the line for each match too. 

It’s also the third round of the Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy, the third round of the Colts Division 1 and 2 competitions, the second round of the U85kg JC Bowl and Mike Copeland Trophy and the fourth round of First Grade, while a full round of President’s rugby is scheduled. 

Its Old Timers Day this weekend at both Marist St Pats and Paremata-Plimmerton.


Swindale Shield 

Avalon v Upper Hutt
Venue: Fraser Park
Referee: Colin Te Pohe 

Upper Hutt’s resurgence continued on ANZAC day when they pipped Ories 36-34 to achieve their third bonus point win in a row. NZ Sevens rep Daniel Schrijvers returned and scored a try for the Rams and was his usual industrious self. Tyler Tane continued his excellent form amassing 16 points.  

Avalon let a 12-0 lead slip against the Wellington Axemen to slump to their fifth consecutive defeat. The Wolves appear to be Hardham Cup bound, but will be eager to prevent the wheels falling off like they did in 2017. 

All three Ah Wong brothers, Liddy, Learuo, Laman played for Avalon on Wednesday ad return to the starting line-up together for this game. 

The last time these sides met Upper Hutt won 98-12. The Harper Vine Trophy is at stake. 


Marist St Pat’s v Hutt Old Boys Marist
Venue: Evans Bay Park
Referee: Daniel Mangin 

HOBM preserved their unbeaten record with a gripping 29-22 victory over Poneke. Nick Risdon produced a star turn at halfback for the Eagles, coming out of retirement on Monday to spearhead the Eagles effort. 

HOBM lost two front rowers against Poneke reducing the scrums to ‘golden oldies.’ 

MSP thrashed Petone 50-22 in a spectacular turnaround from their poor performance against OBU the previous Saturday. No.8 Matt Peni was in commanding form and his tussle with Lise Soloa will be a highlight.

The Father Cleary Shield is on the line on Old Timers’ Day at MSP. HOBM are the holders having won last year’s clash 31-28.


Old Boys University v Wellington
Venue: Nairnville Park
Referee: Greg Binning 

The Goats lost their two year unbeaten record at Nairnville Park on Wednesday when they were stunned by Tawa. OBU welcomed back veteran wing Joe Hill who was in sparkling form, but OBU leaked 42 points, the most they have conceded since 2016.

Wellington rallied from 12-0 down to beat Avalon 28-19. It was a great win for the Axemen with young halfback Callum Harkin stepping up behind an inspired forward effort. 

OBU have scored 44 tries in seven games. Wellington has conceded 251 points. Expect a lot of points in this one.

The Dean Gifford Memorial Cup in the interclub trophy up for grabs in this fixture.


Paremata-Plimmerton v Northern United 
Venue: Ngatitoa Domain
Referee: Steve Newson

Both sides have shown vast improvement recently. Norths have climbed to a 5-2 record after accounting for Johnsonville 36-15 on Wednesday. Kienan Higgins dotted down twice for Norths and Perry Hayman and Parekura Lalaga continued their fine form. 

Paremata-Plimmerton led Wainuiomata at halftime and scored four tries in a game for only the second time in 2018, narrowly losing 27-41. 

Paremata-Plimmerton have enjoyed relative consistency with their forward selections and welcomed back dynamic young lock Taisson Lealaisalanoa who scored a try at William Jones Park. Shane Hedges is in line to play his 200th match for Pare-Plim here and Norths left wing TK Bishop his 50th. 

The Ivan Hargreaves Trophy is an additional prize on the line.


Petone v Wainuiomata
Venue: Petone Rec
Referee: Michael Lash

There is always plenty of heat in the Darren Larsen Cup game and expect nothing different in this encounter.  

Wainuiomata are one point outside the top seven while Petone are sixth on 24 points 

Wainuiomata are hard to predict with a 3-4 record and two losses under a converted try this season. Veterans Daniel Farani and Uale Mai are reliable performers, but frequent change has made consistently difficult.

Petone were embarrassed by MSP. Expect a backlash from the Villagers. Lock Glen Angus will  come off the bench against his former club and watch for the two fullbacks Adam Simpson (Petone) and Justin Wilson. Also a battle of the coaches, with Dan Farani (Wainuiomata) and Piri Weepu (Petone) past stalwarts on the field of the opposite clubs they are now preparing. 


Oriental-Rongotai v Poneke
Venue: Kilbirnie Park
Referee: Jamie Fairmaid 

The Jim Grbich Memorial Shield is one of the highlights of the first round. Last season honours were shared in a thrilling 30-30 draw.

Poneke had their five game win streak snapped by HOBM, but still played some pretty decent footy with Greg Foe and Michael Sage in dangerous form and halfback Toshi Takahashi capturing the eye.

Ories have scored 32 tries in 2018, but their defence and some of their decision making is a concern dripping 212 points. No.8 Luca Rees is the leading try scorer with seven and Trent Renata has scored 40 points and can swap seamlessly between 10 and 15.


Tawa v Johnsonville
Venue: Lyndhurst Park
Referee: Richard Gordon

Tawa scored a huge win against Old Boys University to stay inside the top seven. A late try to centre Ryan Preston, one of three Preston brothers in the game, secured a dramatic triumph. 

In beating OBU, Tawa also won the Bill Brien Challenge Cup so this will be their first defence of that. 

Tawa lock Hemi Fermanis is firing and his potential tussle with Former Fijian international Api Naikatini will be essential viewing. 

Johnsonville are bound for the Hardham Cup having lost every game in 2018, but they could capture the Carman Cup if they break their duck on Saturday. 


Women’s and other grades 

The Rebbca Liua’ana Trophy moves into its third week, where Marist St Pat’s will host Northern United in an early season top-of-the-table clash at Prince of Wales Park. 

MSP have beaten OBU (38-17) and HOBM (35-19) while Norths won a close one over Petone (27-17) and then defeated OBU (53-31). 

Defending champions Ories started their season strong last week, posting 50 points against Petone, and they host last week’s bye round side Poneke at home at the Polo Grounds for the first time this year. 

Paremata-Plimmerton will want to build on their strong start to the year when they play host to Petone at Ngatitoa Domain.

The Old Boys University Impalas have the bye. 


In Division 1 Les Mills Colts action, early pacesetters Petone host Tawa who have yet to get off the mark, while Marist St Pat’s are also seeking their third win against winless Ories at Evans Bay Park.

OBU Green will hope to bounce back from their loss to MSP against the Upper Hutt Rams at Te Whaea on Friday night, while HOBM welcome Norths on to the Hutt Rec in the other game.

Johnsonville, Poneke and Paremata-Plimmerton are all unbeaten after two weeks of the Colts Division 2 competition. Pare-Plim and Johnsonville meet at Ngatitoa in a feature match, while Poneke plays Avalon at Kilbirnie.


The second round of the U85kg JC Bowl sees Wellington and the OBU Bunnies meet at Hataitai, Johnsonville and HOBM play at Helston, the Upper Hutt Rams and Paraparamu clash at Maidstrone, Tawa play Avalon at Redwood and MSP and Eastbourne meet at Prince of Wales Park.