Sports sink Old Boys to stay unbeaten

Winger Cody Nordstrom to the fore with four tries

Justin Miezenbeek





Ecolab Te Awamutu Sports knocked off another top scalp in Waikato Rugby, outscoring a physical Hamilton Old Boys side five tries to four in a 33-24 victory in Hamilton. The team has opened the 2022 season with three wins from three games to sit second on the premiership ladder. Winger Cody Nordstrom starred with four tries while loose forward Niah Church-Jones picked up the other, with pivot Taha Kemara landing a penalty goal and conversion, and replacement Logan Karl adding another penalty. Old Boys, however, had the better start to the game after a Te Awamutu charge-down fell into Hamilton hands and a sweeping movement down the field resulted in the opening try within two minutes. Sports would answer back 10 minutes later, some quick thinking from a penalty by halfback Dean Ralph saw Nordstrom dive over in the right-hand corner to tie the score 5-5. Nordstrom would pick up his second soon after, reading a counterattack from Old Boys to intercept the wide pass and race 40m to score under the posts, Kemara’s conversion taking the lead 12-5. Kemara would add a penalty goal to stretch the lead to 15-5 midway through the first half. Old Boys would close the gap to three points with a try of their own under the posts before Nordstrom would pick up his third after midfielder Austin Anderson saw space in behind the defensive line, chipping ahead for Nordstrom to win the race. Te Awamutu would head into the break, up 20-12. Sports came out firing in the second, and after some slick lineout interplay between hooker Sean Ralph and fellow front-rower Manahi Goulton, put Church-Jones over for his third try in as many weeks to stretch his side’s lead to 25-12. Old Boys would answer again to close the gap to eight points, before Nordstrom barrelled into three defenders reaching out to grab his fourth, extending the lead to 30-17. Old Boys would continue grinding through their powerful forward pack, and were rewarded at the hour mark with their fourth try, pulling the lead back to six points with 20 minutes to play. Both defences would hold through the next 20 minutes, as Te Awamutu looked to strike the telling blow to seal their win, while Hamilton searched desperately for the winning score. It would be replacement back Karl who stepped to the tee as time expired to slot a pressure penalty goal to seal Te Awamutu’s win, and deny Hamilton a second bonus point. Fullback Latrell Smiler-Ah Kiong was outstanding from the back, his speed and vision igniting multiple counter-attack opportunities along with his kicking game keeping Old Boys pinned in their half. Hooker Sean Ralph was also outstanding around the ruck, getting through a massive breakdown workload. MVP Points: 3: Latrell Smiler AhKiong, 2: Austin Anderson, 1: Sean Ralph. This week Te Awamutu will play host to southern neighbours O¯ torohanga at Albert Park. ECOLAB PREMIER 2: Ecolab Te Awamutu Sports Premier 2 mirrored the Premier 1 side’s exploits, kicking the afternoon off with a win over Hamilton Old Boys 20-12 to also remain unbeaten so far and sit second on the points ladder. Racing out to an early 10-0 lead after tries to pivot Dillon Martin and winger Elijah Mataira (on debut for the club) after 20 minutes, Old Boys would answer with an unconverted try of their own to pull the score back to 10-5, which despite creating chances to extend their lead is where the score remained. Martin would add a penalty goal early in the second to stretch the lead by three. They were again guilty of creating chances but through mistakes and desperate defence, were unable to convert them into points. It took until the 63rd minute for the stalemate to be broken, Sports applying pressure to the left flank before sending the ball wide to the left, Mataira capping off a fine debut with his second of the match — Martin’s conversion leaving Sports with a lead of 15 points, 20-5. Old Boys, however, would have the final say of the match, scoring in the dying minutes to pull the score back to 20-12, and despite throwing the kitchen sink at the defensive line, that is where the score stayed. HONDA SHOP UNDER 21S: The Honda Shop Te Awamutu Sports Under 21s’ tough stretch of games continued, taking on Hamilton Old Boys also at Albert Park and despite trailing 0-7 early in the first, couldn’t keep pace as the game developed, eventually falling 13-36. Midfielder George Poolman continued his fine form from the tee with two penalty goals and a conversion, while fullback Cameron Lindsay scored his side’s only try as time expired.