SURF grind out table-toppers derby

Gallant fightback by O¯ haupo¯ v SURF A

Jesse Wood





Abeautiful South Waikato afternoon played host to two rugby clashes between Division 1 and Division 1B table-toppers Southern United (SURF) and O¯ haupo¯ at Tokoroa Memorial Sportsground. In the first match between SURF B and O¯ haupo¯ B, there was no score for the first 15 minutes, before 29 unanswered points were scored by SURF in the rest of the half. SURF held the 29-0 lead at halftime. The game was fairly one sided with handling errors, injuries and yellow cards preventing O¯ haupo¯ from getting onto the scoreboard. However, in the last 10 minutes of the game, first five-eighth Baylee Davies took a penalty that struck the upright before going over, giving O¯ haupo¯ B a consolation three points. Player of the day for the O¯ haupo¯ side was club legend Kerry “Kooza” Matthews. The evergreen loosehead prop worked hard for the whole 80 minutes before taking a place on the bench for the A¯ side in the next match. SURF B hold on to their first place on the table, clearly at the top of Division 1B while Ohaupo¯ sit in ninth. Division 1 table-toppers SURF A then took the field against secondplaced O¯ haupo¯ A. The two teams went into the match as the only unbeaten sides with three wins each, a stat that was bound to end after this heavyweight bout. The first try of the match was scored off a lineout drive by O¯ haupo¯ No. 8 Charlie “Stu” Matthews in the fourth minute. First five-eighth Josh Thomas converted and O¯ haupo¯ took the lead 7-0. SURF managed to grab two converted tries, one in the 12th minute and one in the 32nd, to take a 14-7 lead into the break. Five minutes into the second half, Ohaupo¯ ¯ conceded a penalty near the sticks and SURF took the shot. This pushed their lead to 17-7 — but Ohaupo¯ ¯ weren’t finished yet. After a big scrum just past the 60-minute mark, O¯ haupo¯ made their way towards the SURF try line and were awarded a penalty 5m out. A quick tap and some hard work from the forwards had co-captain Hayden “Dos” Thomas burrow over and score in the 63rd minute. Brother Josh slotted his second conversion, making it a three-point game, 17-14 to SURF. Ten minutes later, SURF were penalised in their own 22 after some great play and a kick from O¯ haupo¯ winger Roy Huggard. The visitors took the quick tap, and headed towards the posts, winning another penalty. After a second quick tap and a few more phases, Matthews pushed over for his second five-pointer. The conversion missed, but O¯ haupo¯ took a 19-17 lead with four minutes to play. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, as SURF grabbed an 82nd minute penalty, running out victors 20-19 in what was a true top-of-the-table derby. O¯ haupo¯ ‘s man of the match award went to second five-eighth Chris Ferguson. This week, Ohaupo¯ ¯ host two home games (B - 1pm, A - 2.45pm) for their sponsor’s day, taking on their Hinuera counterparts.