Graeme Culton's Waihi Rugby Report
Both Waihi senior rugby sides started their respective second rounds with home games on Saturday.
The Senior B side, who have been promoted to the A grade for this second round took on a very strong Hauraki North A side. North proved to be too good on the day running out comfortable winners. Their match next Saturday against Whangamata will have the Ainsley Shield up for grabs with a very close game expected.
In the Premier (top six) division Waihi took on Mercury Bay, Waihi played into a strong breeze in the first half and were good enough to make the most of their few scoring opportunities. Flanker Tate Van Duyvenbooden crossed early with front rower Brad Nightingale adding to his impressive try tally.
A 14-9 Half time lead had the large local crowd feeling optimistic about the second half. A good chat between players and coach at the half proved valuable with a good game plan taken into the half.
Using the growing wind to their advantage, Waihi pinned the opposition deep int their own half. This pressure finally told with two fine tries. The first to returning fullback Jesse Dodunski while second rower Dylan Horne dotted down after some great lead up work.
With a 26-9 lead Waihi fell foul to some refereeing decisions, resulting in two Waihi Players spending some time in the sin bin. Down to thirteen men the locals dug deep and with some great goal line defence kept their lead intact. With time ticking away Mercury Bay finally crossed for a consolation try to make the final score 26-14 in Waihi's favour. A great team effort with Karl Douglad and Jerome Hill picking up the player of the day awards.
Waihi’s player depth is getting severely tested with up to ten players currently on the injury list.
Hopefully, some of these players are available next Saturday when they take on the combine Paeroa side, the team that inflicted Waihi’s only loss of the season so far. Motivation should not be an issue for this one.