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Brooking breaks Greytown’s heart


Ben Brooking was the hero for Carterton as he slotted an 82nd-minute penalty to secure their second consecutive Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup championship on Saturday.

With 80 minutes up on the clock, the match looked almost certain to be heading to golden point sudden death when Greytown replacement prop Tolu Fahamokioa conceded a needless penalty at a breakdown, 25m out and 7m in from touch.

Up stepped Brooking, who had been solid off the tee all game, to calmly slot the winning goal, sending the big band of maroon and black supporters in the crowd into raptures and being swamped by his teammates, including a thrilled captain Daryl Pickering.

“As soon as we got that penalty, he walked up to me and said he wanted it,” Pickering said.

“I love the confidence in that man. He’s kicked us to victory so many times this year, and I back him in those situations over and over.

“We said we’d do whatever it takes to get the win, and it took until the 80th minute to do that.”

Expectations before the final were that it would be tight and uncompromising and not much would separate the sides at the end, and that is how it panned out, with both teams having their periods of dominance.

Greytown had the better of the first 20 minutes, going out to a 9-3 lead, courtesy of assured goal-kicking from former Hurricane Andre Taylor, with Carterton’s only response coming from Brooking’s boot.

Carterton were beginning to gain some dominance at the breakdown and in the loose with their Fijian trio of flanker Inia Katia and brothers Malakai and Isireli Biumaiwai to the fore with prop Tupou Lea’aemanu and lock Logan Wakefield not far behind.

That pressure paid off when lock Malakai Biumaiwai crashed over close to the posts for the opening try.

Just when it looked as if the defending champions would take a 16-9 lead into the break, Greytown winger Joseph Te Naihi dived in to score in the corner but was hit in a high tackle. After consultation with his assistant referee Scott Andrew, referee Alistair Payne awarded the penalty try.

Katia restored Carterton’s lead shortly after the resumption with a well-deserved try, but five minutes later, he went from hero to zero when he was yellow-carded for a high tackle. That opened the door for Greytown, and halfback Sam Walton-Sexton found a big gap and ran 15m to score.

Taylor and Brooking then traded penalties making for a tense finish, but with errors creeping into the game and the scrums becoming messy, it led to a stop-start final few minutes until the drama of the clinching penalty.

Winning captain Pickering was naturally thrilled with winning back-to-back titles.

“It’s always harder the second time around with a target on our backs, but we were prepared for whatever was to be thrown at us today from Greytown and anything that was out of our control.”

Pickering said the whole team put in a massive effort, but he made special mention of the team’s Pasifika connection.

“They’re outstanding, eh? They carry our team forward, as well as everyone, to be fair, but those boys have really been putting it together, with Inia at the forefront, and those boys have all brought us tighter.”

The victorious captain was also full of praise for a brave Greytown side.

“As soon as we thought we had the foot on their throat, they would always bounce back and find something, and it was to and fro there for a while, but it comes downs to moments like that [late penalty] in games like this.”

Greytown also had their outstanding performers, none more so than Taylor, who was brilliant at first-five, with his astute kicking in general play and assured goalkicking.

Blockbusting prop Lewis Bush wasn’t as prominent as in some games but still made several telling runs, while underrated Rihi Brown was a workhorse at blindside flanker. Greytown also suffered a massive blow after veteran No. 8 Tana Isaac walked off with an injury.

Although gutted with the loss, veteran second-five Cyrus Baker was rapt with his team’s effort and felt the game could have gone either way.

“It was a game where the momentum changed a few times. I think once we got into their half and played our own game, that’s when we mounted some pressure, but it was the ones who could mount the pressure in the 22s, and I think Carterton did a bit better,” Baker said.

“The game changer there was their Fijian trio. They seemed to march quite easily through the middle and got them going forward. It’s pretty tough to contain them when they get going, and they got going pretty early, so it was tough.”

Baker was also proud of making the final after a rocky start to the season, which saw them suffer heavy losses to Carterton, Martinborough and Marist.

“To turn the season around like that is something special, and that would’ve been the icing on the cake, but either way, I’m pretty proud of this team and what we’ve achieved.”

Hats off also to referee Payne, who was whistling his ninth consecutive final. Payne was calm and in control, and most importantly, made the crucial calls – the penalty try and the last-gasp penalty – and again showed he would not look out of place on the Heartland panel.


Carterton 29 [Malakai Biumaiwai, Inia Katia tries, Ben Brooking 5 pens 2 cons] Greytown 26 [Penalty try, Sam Walton-Sexton try, Andre Taylor 4 pens, con] HT 16-16


Tuhirangi completed an unbeaten season, winning the Senior Reserve championship with a convincing 44-31 victory over Masterton Red Star.

Tuhirangi scored six tries to Red Star’s five in an entertaining game which saw the lead change four times. The third quarter proved to be decisive, with Tuhirangi scoring three tries in 15 minutes to put the game out of reach.


Marist were untroubled in winning the bottom section of the Senior Reserve competition, running in nine tries in their 53-19 defeat of surprise finalists Martinborough.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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