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Victory for Greytown

Greytown fullback Nick Olson dives over for his second try in the Tui Cup grand final. PHOTO/CHRIS KILFORD

By Gary Caffell

It was the backs who provided the flashy bits but it was the forwards who laid that platform for victory in Greytown’s gripping 27-13 win over Carterton in the grand final of the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union’s Tui Cup premier division competition at Memorial Park, on Saturday.

Yes, the spectacular tries scored by fullback Nick Olson  and centre Glen Walters through a mix of individual brilliance and superb handling and passing skills will probably be the major talking point from this Greytown performance.

But, in reality, it was the ability of their forwards to lift the ante when it mattered most which actually meant more to the end result.

Down 13-0 in as many minutes and up against a Carterton team seemingly firing on all cylinders the early signs were that Greytown were in for a very hard day at the office, particularly up front where inspirational Carterton captain Johnie McFadzean, in his very last game for them, was setting the perfect example..He scored the opening try and was consistently at the head of the short passing rushes which were constantly making valuable metreage.

For Greytown to recover the lost ground it was plainly evident their forwards would do need more to combat the fire in the Carterton pack and, to their credit, they responded magnificently, raising their game to the point where they could claim dominance in the areas of physicality and possession.

Leading the Greytown resurgence were  No.8 Tavita Isaac, flanker Marcus Ale,locks Gareth van Dalen and Regan Pope and prop Kurt Simmonds who were all bruising runners with ball in hand. Interestingly Isaac, the team captain, has starred as a pacy winger in years past but Saturday’s display showed he has now fashioned into a hard-working No.8 with the quality of his cover defence matching his impact on attack.

The extra sting in the tail of the Greytown forwards meant, of course, that their backs had greater opportunity to also have an impact on proceedings and with the inside combination of Hamish Meyrick and Kingi Kaiwai calling the shots they made every post a winning one.

Fullback Olson was especially prominent, starring in several scything runs where his rapid acceleration invariably saw him left two or three would-be defenders grasping at thin air. He and winger AJ Manley both scored crowd pleasing tries before the break and by halftime it was all locked up at 13-13.

The Greytown momentum continued in the second half, both in general play and on the scoreboard where they added another 14pts without reply, thanks to a second try to Olson and another to Walters, whose eye for the gap in midfield  and strong running made him one of  the standout backs in this particular game.

There was, of course, disappointment in the Carterton camp that they had not been able to give Johnie McFadzean the send off this wonderful servant of their club deserved but while they were beaten by the better team on the day they still contributed mightily to what was an absorbing encounter despite the murky conditions.

McFadzean himself was grand value up front where his brother, Lachie, and Francis Muller also impressed and halfback Daryl Picking, second-five Andy Humerstone and the third of the McFadzeans, fullback Corey, were the pick of the backs.

Olson (2), Walters and Manley were the try scorers for Greytown and Abe Southey kicked one penalty and two conversions. Johnie McFadzean scored the sole Carterton try with Humberstone kicking two penalties and one conversion.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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