HIKURANGI returned to the top of the East Coast club rugby competition with a 20-14 win against Ruatoria City at Whakarua Park on Saturday.
But the weekend will not be remembered for the win but for the death of Hikurangi co-coach Doone Harrison’s father, Jury, yesterday.
“Jury has been battling cancer but it didn’t stop him from listening to the game on Radio Ngati Porou as well as watching the All Blacks game Saturday night,” said his niece Leeanne Morice, wife of co-coach Monty Manuel.
Jury was a life member of the East Coast Rugby Football Union, and coached Hikurangi, the Ruatoria Sub Union and the Coast representative team.
His legacy in ECRFU rugby is huge, not only in what he gave to the game, but also through his sons Doone and Charlie.
Doone was a key player in the Joe McClutchie glory days, while in the Sky Blues’ Queen’s Birthday Weekend derby against Poverty Bay in 2015 Charlie became only the second player (Morgan Waitoa was the first) to bring up 100 first-class rugby games for East Coast.
Saturday’s Hiku-City clash also had a strong family connection. Jury’s son-in-law Graeme Walker and grandson Corey played for City and Charlie and another other grandson, Rhys Walker, played for Hiku.
The first half was close, with a try to Tanetoa Parata giving Hiku a 5-0 lead at halftime.
Parata ran 30 metres through City’s defence to score in the corner on the stroke of halftime.
In the second half, Hiku came out firing and winger Kris Palmer increased the lead with a penalty. Hiku continued to keep the pressure on and, after a forward rumble, Kareti Palmer scored a try to make it 13-0 to Hiku.
Hiku’s third try started from inside their 22 when a chip over the top from fullback David Manuel was chased by Kris Palmer, who recovered it beautifully before beating his opposite winger and dotting down under the posts.
Fabyan Kahaki converted to put his side in a commanding lead.
“City are a team who don’t lie down and they came back with tries to Wiremu Aupouri and Watarawi Ngata, both converted by Nate Fox,” Manuel said.
“It was a typical local derby, a tough game with lots of support from supporters. The heavy rain made the field very soft underfoot and some of the boys likened playing the game to playing in soft sand . . . draining on the legs.
“It didn’t really suit our backs, who prefer a harder track. Thankfully the forwards stepped up, led by the Parata boys Matanuku, Ngarimu and Tanetoa.
“Trent Proffit (No.8) and lock Rhys Walker also had outstanding games, as did midfield back Rob Ngarimu.
“For City, Paddy Allen and Jerry Mataira were standouts, constantly harassing our ball. Gerry made tackle after tackle and in their backs my old Coast mate Graeme Walker was in brilliant form.
“Corey Walker, coming back from an injury, was on the wing and played well.”
Hikurangi 20 (T Parata, K Palmer, Kris Palmer tries; K Palmer pen, F Kahaki con).
City 14 (W Ngata, W Aupouri, tries; N Fox 2 con)
WAIAPU returned to action after four weeks to host second-to-bottom Tokomaru Bay United in Rangitukia.
“After four weeks without a game, the boys were eager to get into it but Tokomaru had other ideas and scored two unconverted tries (Canaan Parata and Te Peehi Fairlie) before we had time to settle,” Waiapu manager Kahu Waitoa said.
Twenty minutes into the game, Waiapu started to get some territory and fullback Slade Tiopira kicked a penalty. Shortly after, right-winger Tariao Stevenson scored a try in the coner, to reduce the deficit to two points as the teams went to the break.
Toko then extended their lead through a try to Cristy Stuart, which Jason Babbington converted, and it was 17-8 to Toko.
Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Waiapu brought on Rihara Houia (lock) and he made an immediate impact, scoring a try following good work by the forwards. Tiopira added the conversion, 17-15.
Toko replied with a penalty, to Babbington, before Waiapu came back with a good move from the backline, finished off by left-winger Tihei Turei. Tiopira’s conversion had the home side in friont for the first time.
“Tokomaru put us under pressure for long periods after that but our defence was up to the challenge,” Waitoa said.
Tokomaru had three penalty opportunities to regain the lead but couldn’t convert. Houia sealed the win and earned Waiapu a valuable bonus point with his second try, converted by Tiopira.
Toko player-coach Joe Chaffey said prop Adam Williams was his player of the day.
WAIAPU 29 ( R Houia 2, T Stevenson, T Turei tries; S Tiopira 3 con, pen).
TOKOMARU BAY UNITED 20 (C Parata, T Fairlie, C Stuart tries; J Babbington con, pen)
HICKS Bay continued their run of good form with a 39-0 win against Tawhiti in a game that was called off at halftime, due to some Tawhiti players not having mouthguards.
The win has set the scene for a battle royal on Saturday, when sixth-placed Hicks Bay take on Waiapu.
HICKS BAY 39 (B Walker 2, Joshua King, Anton King, Ryan Buchanan, Te Whetu Waitoa, Le-Roi Waitoa, tries; A King 2 con).
Source: by John Hill http://gisborneherald.co.nz/