Rathkeale College defending their line in the dying stages. PHOTO/SUZANNE OLIVER
By Jake Beleski
A last-gasp try to Wairarapa College centre Joe Gordon ensured neither team would claim bragging rights in Tuesday’s first XV match against Rathkeale College at Rathkeale.
It was a different story in the first XI football clash, however, as Rathkeale did enough to come away 2-1 winners.
Gordon had crossed in the final play of the game to level the scores at 12-12 and give his side a chance to snatch victory from a fired-up Rathkeale side, but the conversion attempt sailed wide, leaving both teams deflated at the final whistle.
Rathkeale had raced to a 6-0 lead through two penalties to second five-eighth Jeremy Osborne, but Waicol slowly worked into their rhythm and were soon in the lead when Ben Cheetham crossed for a try.
They unleashed wave after wave of attacks on the Rathkeale line, but the hosts stood firm for the remainder of the half.
Those missed opportunities would come back to haunt Waicol early in the second half as Rathkeale turned the tables and began to dominate territory and possession.
Two more penalties to Osborne gave Rathkeale a 12-7 advantage, and from there the priority was to hold Waicol out.
A long-range penalty attempt may have put the game beyond Waicol, but it was pushed just to the right of the posts and kept Waicol in the game.
They eventually managed to work their way into an attacking position with time winding down.
Again, Rathkeale managed to repel a long series of attacks, but Waicol finally created an overlap and Gordon strolled over to level the scores.
Both sides will rue missed chances to close the game out — Waicol would have been furious at only being ahead by one at half-time after dominating the first 40 minutes, while Rathkeale were aware they had let a prime opportunity slip in the second half.
In the football, Wairarapa United player Callan Elliot had given Rathkeale a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Coach Steve Coleman was left frustrated with several opportunities to extend their lead going begging.
The second half saw further goals to Stephen Sprowson for Rathkeale and Jackson Burling for Waicol, allowing Rathkeale to take the honours by a narrow margin.