Cellar dwellers last season, Thames Valley opened their 2010 Heartland rugby competition with a bonus point 36-18 win over West Coast at Paeroa today. The home side began with a try in the opening minutes. Thames Valley were then put under pressure but rallied as halftime approached to take the lead 14-7 at the break, thanks to three penalties by fullback and captain David Harrison.
West Coast winger Luke Hughes closed the gap with an early second half penalty, but Thames Valley struck back quickly with a well-taken try by Harrison. Harrison and Hughes traded penalties and when the Coasters produce an excellent 75-metre passing move for winger Maleli Mudu, who featured three times, to score wide out the score closed to 19-18.
Over the final quarter Valley took a slight edge across the field and were rewarded with tries to props Alan McLean and Bart Thompson. Harrison converted both tries to give himself a personal tally of 21 points: a try, two conversions and four penalties.
Halfback Aaron McDonald, McLean and Harrison led their young charges by example. West Coast had good servants in No 8 Mark de Goldi, flanker Tom Gilmore and second-five Phil Thompson.
Former Bay of Plenty and Chiefs first-five Glen Jackson controlled his debut first-class game in an impressive manner.