For the first time in three years the Waiheke U85kg Pirates celebrated a victory – other than by default – at Onetangi Sports Park on Saturday. After a thrilling 87-minute match, it came down to a penalty kick after the University Slugs opted for a lineout deep in their own half in extra time rather than kicking the ball dead. Both teams were hungry to record a win rather than a draw on their early season scorecard.
With the wind – but battling with set pieces in the first half – the Pirates nevertheless drew first blood after some on-field adjustments to their scrum platform. Johnny Henry went through and Aiden Hohnek slotted a crucial conversion from the sideline. A yellow card then put the Pirates under pressure at the end of the first half and they conceded two unconverted tries, leaving the score 10-7 in their opponents’ favour at halftime.
The Pirates came back from the break fired up and with cannons blazing. Playing into the wind and rain with the score tight, the home team knew all they needed to do was play out of their own half and earn the three-point opportunities. Forty metres out, the opportunity presented itself and once again Aiden’s boot delivered, evening up the score.
• Sarah Gloyer
Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!