Marist defeated Grey Valley 60-10 at Ikamatua on Saturday, in a match played in brilliant sunshine and on a hard and fast Pendy’s Park, with the conditions suiting the men in Green who’s pacy backline and mobile forward pack, ran in nine tries to Grey Valleys two, both scored by their outstanding open side flanker Steve Soper.
Marist played as a well drilled unit with forwards and backs combining brilliantly for a number of their tries, with the first being scored by inform second five Hamana Peipi after just two minutes, when cashing in on an earlier Valley knock on. The Marist forwards pounced on that defensive error just out from the Valley line by producing quick ruck ball for the ball to be spread wide for Peipi to crash over between the posts, a try Corey Deans duly converted.
Marist scored their second try in the 10th minute after electing to kick for touch for an attacking line out, where hulking Marist lock Gabriel Waipouri crashed over after an impressive forward drive. Corey Deans then kicked a 23rd minute penalty goal before Grey Valley hit back two minutes later, when stand out flanker Soper took a quick tap from an attacking penalty to catch the Marist defence napping, then proving too strong to drive over for an uncoverted try to make the score 15-5.
Marist were quick to restore their advantage almost immediately after the restart, when pacy centre Gilbert Fahey sprinted away from a fine backline move from a scrum, to score close to the posts for Deans to convert, pushing the score out to 22-5. Grey Valley then had some fine moments on attack with first five Thor Manawatu a constant threat, while number eight David Crouchly in the pack was menacing with ball in hand.
Just when it seemed there would be no further scoring in the half, Marist lock Gabriel Waipouri danced within millimetres of the Valley deadball line to dot down for his second try of the afternoon after crashing past numerous attempted tacklers to give the Greens a 27-5 lead at the break.
The second 40 minutes started the same way as the first ended, this time with debutant Marist number eight Shaun Burkett diving over the line from a dominant Marist scrum, for Deans to calmly convert from the sideline on the 43rd minute mark. Marist then put the game out of sight with a further two quick tries, first to rampaging hooker Liam Wiggins who raced away for a fine 30 meter run to the line, then the try of the match set up by blindside flanker Liam Hewlett.
Hewlett showed true pace to sprint 30 meters down the sideline before a great offload to the supporting lock Hector Bright, who galloped like a gazelle past several desperate defenders the remaining 30 meters, to score untouched behind the posts. Deans again converted to put Marist out to 48-5.
Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Grey Valley team still had good periods of attack, and pressured the Marist side at different spells, and a highlight for the home side must be that the players never once dropped their heads, and kept throwing everything at the visitors, and they were rewarded for that display, with their everywhere man flanker Soper scoring his second try on the 57 minute mark.
Marist then quickly hit back however with the final two tries of the game, the first to live wire fullback Jonah Huntley who stepped several players to score from a swift backline move from an attacking scrum, before Corey Deans dived over in the corner to finish the scoring, and to bring his personal total to 20 points, and a final score of 60-10.
Grey Valley Coach Alan Steel paid credit to the Marist team for their performance, but also said he was pleased with the way his team hung in for the full match, and never threw in the towel. “We had some players who never stopped tackling all day, and for us our flankers Steve Soper and Vincent Milhas put in a great shift, and lead the way for the team, and they should be proud of their efforts” Steel said. “The crucial part of the game was the three quick tries we conceded after the break, but we still had times where we dominated and if we can have more periods like that, we’ll improve and that’s a real positive and something we’ll be working hard on at trainings”.
Marist coach Josh Costello was happy with how the team played and was thrilled the way the team stuck to the game plan “The boys stuck to the system and were rewarded with some great rugby, with hooker Liam Wiggins and centre Gilbert Fahey being standouts, while new recruit Shaun Berkett fitted straight in on his debut at number eight” Costello said.
Marist lock Hector Bright on the way to the try line.