NZ Herald Weekly College Sport Column

NZ Herald Weekly College Sport ColumnPublished: Tue, 13 Jul 2010

League hopefuls lose chance to impress

The failure to find a suitable ground has cost Auckland's budding league stars the chance to impress and force their way into a combined Central/Counties team to play the Warriors development team next week.

Two 20-strong squads had been selected to square off yesterday in a game which was expected to attract more than just family members and keen supporters.

It was expected that scouts from not just the Warriors would be leaning on the fence and casting their eye over the city's best young talent as they put their hands up in the chase for a place in the 20-strong squad to play the development team at Mt Smart Stadium next Wednesday.

Now the selectors will make their selections based on what they have seen this season.

Many of the players in the Central squad had been selected from the St Paul's 1st XIII who overpowered Southern Cross 24-4 in last week's University Shield final.

The victory continued St Paul's domination of the code. It was their ninth title in 10 years and continued an unbeaten run over the past seven years for the team coached by Mark Rice and his assistant, Junior Fui.

Captained by Siliva Havili, St Paul's ran in five tries - Havili and Tonga Afu scored two each - in another show of strength.

There is already a strong Warriors connection for St Paul's with head boy John Palavi in the club's under-20 squad.

Jerome Ropati and Sione Lousi, who turned out for the Warriors in Sunday's thumping of the Eels, are St Paul's old boys as are a number of the club's Toyota Cup (under-20) squad.

It is not all league at the inner-city school, however, with St Paul's boasting three rugby teams and having around 20 players who turn out for both league teams in their midweek competition and Saturday rugby matches.

Demoted to the 1B rugby championship, the school is making a concerted bid for a quick return to the 1A championship next year.

Unbeaten this winter, St Paul's is keen to get back to the top grade and hopefully to the not-too-distant glory days when they contested the 1A semifinals.

St Paul's claimed a second title on finals day when they beat Manurewa 32-28 in golden point extra time to lift the Graham Lowe Cup.

Ahead 18-8 at one stage, St Paul's fell 18-28 behind to a very good Manurewa team in the 9-a-side final before rallying to sneak home in a game which produced 12 tries.

CYCLING

With no major climbs to split the fields, close finishes were very much the order of the day in the Waikato-based North Island secondary schools road championships.

The biggest winning margin in the 12 individual races was a mere one second with seven winners recording the same time as the second-placed rider as the titles were all won in all-out sprint finishes.

WBHS had the wood on their cross-harbour rivals Auckland Grammar, winning the teams' time trial at Gordonton. The next day Westlake's star performer, James Oram, took the senior boys' road race, holding off Daniel Gate (AGS) and his WBHS teammate Daniel Cross in a torrid finish.

The championships thankfully beat the oncoming inclement weather as 500 riders went head-to-head on the circuit off River Rd in Ngaruawahia.

Oram, who won the King of the Mountains at the Australian Junior Tour in Canberra in February, showed his all-round ability in the 43km race on the flat course.

An initial bunch of 13 riders went clear before five broke off the front - two each from WBHS and AGS and Rangitoto's Ben Park.

Oram controlled the sprint best to win in 48min 37sec ahead of Gate and Cross, who were given the same time. Sam Morreau (AGS), the national under-16 triathlon champion, was fourth ahead of Park just behind the leading trio.

Brittany Thompson stepped up after winning the North Island under-17 honours last year to win the senior girls' under-20 title but her Waikato Diocesan School had to be content with finishing runner-up to St Cuthbert's (Auckland) in the team time trial.

The under-20 girls' individual race was another tight affair with no one able to break away over the 32km race around the mainly flat circuit.

The 25-strong peloton could not be broken up with Thompson, the national under-15 champion last year and moving up to the senior ranks for the first time, having the last say. She edged the rest in the bunch sprint to win in 33m 29s, ahead of Laura Gretton (St Peter's School, Cambridge) and Danyela van der Sande (St Cuthbert's) who recorded the same time.

The other winners in the boys' races were Sam Brothers (AGS) in the under-17, Chad Elliston (St Peter's College, Auckland) under-16, Fraser McDonald (St Kentigern) under-15, Sam Dobbs (Hamilton BHS) under-14, and Matthew Manning (St Kentigern) under-13.

The girls' winners were Racquel Sheath (Whangaparaoa) in the under-17s, Robyn Hacker-Cary (Waikato Diocesan) under-16, Madi Farrant (Waikato Diocesan) under-15, Jemima Wasson (WGHS) under-14 and Neve Doak (St Cuthbert's) under-13.

HOCKEY

North Harbour champions WBHS hit the turf running with an encouraging 3-0 win over AGS in the first round of the boys' inter-city competition.

Goals to Elliot Bartholomew, Warren Wild and Craig Jones earned Westlake their win.

Auckland champions King's were even more emphatic with their 7-2 win over Rangitoto after leading 6-0 at halftime. Alex Hannon led the charge with a hat-trick for King's. Michael Ritchie and Kim Kingstone completed the rout with two goals each.

RUGBY

NORTH HARBOUR

No-nonsense Orewa continued their hold on the Woodhouse Shield with a solid bonus point 31-8 win over Rosmini.

From the time Luke Spratt crossed for the first try and Andrew Fluker added the conversion, Orewa were always in control.

A lucky charge down by Rosmini's Ryan Thompson gave his team the chance of a much-needed try but they had to content themselves instead with an Ignatio Costa penalty.

Encouraged by some good plays, Rosmini made inroads with Kenny Niko prominent but they could not turn that advantage into points and the teams turned with Orewa still 7-3 ahead.

They increased their lead when Hunter Nelson scored. Fluker's conversion and a penalty goal stretched their lead to 17-3. A Josh Airey charge down looked set to bring a third try but he was denied by Rosmini fullback Heath Gibb's great save.

In a determined bid to lessen the damage, Rosmini's Jordan Brock scored in the corner after a nice draw and pass. Just as quickly, Orewa responded with Franck Friconnet scoring under the posts. Nathan Cargo ensured the bonus point when he touched down.

The coveted Woodhouse Shield remains with Orewa, who were impressive in continuing their charge. Rosmini were uncharacteristically sloppy and did not show the fire that they had at the start of the season.

In the other 1A games, WBHS beat TGS 52-0 at Forrest Hill and Massey overcame a feisty Mahurangi 26-10 at Moire Park.

TABLE TENNIS

The WBHS team of Hanson Ling, Yoichi Fukuda, Ben Jung and Bryn Lindsay beat Kristin 10-2 in the premier A final of the North Harbour competition.

Rangitoto beat WBHS in the play-off for third by the same score.

The intermediate school league premier grade final was won by Wairau Intermediate, who beat Northcross Intermediate.

The Secondary Girls' Cup is played in the third term.

Attention now turns to the NZ Secondary Schools championships at North Harbour in August's secondary school tournament week.

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