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Shore Premier Reserves win championship

Flagstaff Team

We are the Pride of the Union…. joint North Shore Premier Reserve captains Niwa Whatuira (with cup) and Ben Browne (left) lead their team in song after it beat East Coast Bays 39-8 at Vauxhall Rd last Saturday to take out the North Harbour Championship.

North Shore Rugby Premier Reserves thrashed East Coast Bays 39-8 last Saturday at Vauxhall Reserve to take the North Harbour championship.

Pre-match publicity encouraged rugby fans to make the trek to the “Pridelands” and many heard the call, with the terraces packed for what was expected to be a close match.

And for much of the first half it was with Shore leading 10-3 at the break. Shore hooker Metua Mitchell had made some telling runs, and the pack seemed to be gaining dominance as the half progressed.

But with a stiff breeze at the Pride’s back in the second half it was one-way traffic with Bays unable to get out of its half. The Shore forwards steamrolled over Bays a couple of times, the side cut out mistakes and managed to get the ball to dangerous outside backs Maui Hausia and Cam Dalzell. Add the rock-solid defence of the Keresoma brothers, Tama and Joey, in the midfield and Bays were shut out.

Shore also made the most of some sharp chances. Tama Keresoma chased down a kick-through, and gathered the ball with his momentum taking him over for a try. A dropout which turned into disaster proved it just wasn’t Bays day.

The wind caught the ball and blew it back towards the Bays line where it was chased down by Shore co-captain Niwa Whatuira. He unloaded to Trent Luka, who cantered in to score. The try of the match however, was scored by Hausia, who sidestepped and jinked past at least four defenders in a brilliant solo run.

On the break… Maui Hausia cuts through the Bays defence

Bays were down 39-3 and Shore were running riot before it scored one try close to fulltime.

The championship by the Reserves was something of a bitter-sweet moment for the club who had gone so close to making the premier championship final, narrowly losing to Northcote at the same ground only a month before. Reserves co-captain Ben Browne said the victory was a tribute to the side who had called on 50 players over the season, and with some playing up in the Premiers side to help out.

This article originally appeared in the August 9 edition of The Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.