Waimea Old Boys have more than one reason to celebrate after a clean sweep in Nelson’s club rugby finals.
The men’s team beat Marist and the women’s team beat Moutere in a dramatic day of finals footy on Saturday.
It again took more than 80 minutes to separate the sides, but this time it was Waimea prevailing in a scintillating Nelson sub-union final.
The unprecedented rivalry that is Waimea vs Marist in 2019 wrote another thrilling chapter in the saga at Trafalgar Park on Saturday with Waimea crowned the Car Company Nelson Bays Rugby Champions.
For the third consecutive time this season the teams were all square after regulation time.
With the scores locked at 20-all at full time, the sides were sent to an extra twenty minutes to decide a victor.
It came down to a moment of magic from lock Lee Mcbrydie who produced a spectacular chip and chase to score the match winner for Waimea.
Skipper Ben Eder says his fellow lock’s effort proved the pivotal moment in what was an epic encounter.
“Lee’s a bit of a legend, he started out with the B’s a few years ago as a winger so he’s still got a little bit of that in him.”
Ben says players from both sides gave it everything and it could not be a more fitting end to the season.
“So much credit to the Marist boys, what a final!”
Ben says the uncanny trio of drawn finishes this season comes down to two very evenly-matched teams.
“It’s just that passion to win and epitomises what club rugby is about.”
The win capped a memorable day for the club, with the women winning the Tasman Trophy for the first time in six years.
Waimea held off a spirited Moutere side 27-17 in a highly enterprising encounter. Skipper Stephanie Mitchell says she was beyond proud of her team.
“Stoked, just stoked to be bringing the trophy back home.”
Stephanie says it was that culture they cultivated which she credits for such a successful season.
“We love each other, we treat each other as a family.
“We have amazing coaches and support behind us, we are a very fortunate team.”
In the men’s final, Marist suffered a cruel loss early on in the men’s final as halfback Cleve Barrell was struck down with a serious knee injury.
Waimea first five Campbell Parata opened the scoring off the boot before a Marist mistake opened the gate for the visitors.
Marist failed to tidy up a high ball as Erenimo Tau pounced on the loose possession and had far too much speed for the cover as he went in for the first try of the final.
Hopo Taufa responded for Marist on the back of a midfield break by Lote Saulekaleka as Waimea winger Daniel Monaghan was sent to the bin for a professional foul.
With Marist looking to take advantage, Michael Stringer committed another deliberate knock down, reducing Waimea to 13 men.
Waimea survived till halftime and Monaghan then made up for his earlier transgression with a spectacular acrobatic dive in the right corner to get the second half scoring underway.
Shannon Frizell was brought off the bench for Marist and the All Black looked to get involved early but, as testament to Waimea’s defence, Marist opted to take a shot while hot on attack despite still trailing by 12.
The green machine started to get a roll on and Frizell proved too powerful close to the chalk as he went over for a crucial try to bring Marist within two. Parata pushed it back out to five with seven to go before Jamie Spowart evened the honours with a superb piece of individual brilliance.
After attracting the attention of several Waimea defenders, the fleet-footed fullback put Rahiri Witehira into space and the centre did the rest, drawing the last man to put Spowart in and tie the scoreboard at 20-20.
As the siren sounded, Spowart pushed his conversion to the right as the sides prepared for
twenty minutes of play.
Frizell started to show his All Blacks credentials with some big plays in the first stint of extra time.
His pilfer put Marist deep inside Waimea territory and Spowart put Marist in front with his
Parata hit the post from 45 out to see Marist take the advantage into the second period.
Just as Marist looked as if it would repeat its Tasman Trophy victory there was another twist in the tale.
Moving into halfback, James Lash produced a brilliant ball for lock Mcbrydie, who chipped over Spowart and regathered in a superb display of skill.
Marist hammered away as the clock wound down, but Waimea barely gave them an inch, eventually turning the ball over and sealing a famous victory.
Marist captain Jacob Norris says it was a hard loss to swallow but couldn’t fault the efforts of his men.
“That’s just finals footy – win some, lose some.”
Waimea 25 (Tau, Monaghan,
Eder, tries, Parata 2 cons, 2 pen)
Marist 23 (Taufa, Frizell, Spowart
tries, Spowart 2 pen 1 con)