Aotea captain and No8 Tobias Allison was the toast of his Dannevirke-based club on Saturday night.
The former Hawke's Bay age group representative and Napier Technical premier frontrower scored a 100th minute try to secure Aotea a berth in this Saturday's promotion-relegation game against Tamatea at Bill Mathewson Park, Hastings. Twenty minutes of extra time was required in the Northfuels Arthur Bowman Cup division two final against Otane which Aotea won 18-14 at Dannevirke's Rugby Park after the score was 11-all at the end of regulation time.
"I'm still struggling to believe it ... Otane go unbeaten all season until the final two weeks of the comp and we beat them two weeks in a row," an elated Aotea coach Ken Todd said yesterday referring to the fact his troops had beaten Otane 27-13 the previous week to secure home advantage for the weekend's final. "It's going to be a big ask against Tamatea but we will give it a good go ... from what I hear we won't be short of supporters," Todd said.
He was full of praise for 40-year-old prop Brent Withey who played all 100 minutes. Along with Allison, blindside flanker JJ Carberry, first five-eighth Mitch Nation and former Magpies fullback Jearrad Stephenson were all prominent for Aotea.
Captain and prop Hayden Rapana, openside flanker Mike Singer and fullback Matt Hill were Otane's best.
Halfback and club chairman Kelly Graham played his 379th game for the side.
Tamatea premier reserve grade side's Mika Aiolupotea praised his entire squad after their 23-16 win against Napier Old Boys Marist in the Premier Reserve grade Jack Swain Cup final at Bill Mathewson Park. He told each player to step up another level for the final and they responded.
Flankers Kurt Chambers and Koro Miringaorani and lock Joe Teki were tireless workers in the NOBM pack and first five-eighth Issac Atkins the pick of the backs.
Maraenui club president Doug Laing praised the heart within his club's flagship team after they won the Ron Parker Memorial Cup division three final at Maraenui Park with a 19-12 win against Western Suburbs One at Maraenui Park. Suburbs led 5-0 at halftime and the hosts ran in three tries while conceding one in the second half.
First five-eighth Braxton Robinson and fullback Vinnie Wildermoth were classy in the winning backline. Hooker Ray Rima and No8 Rangi Ellerby were inspirational in the Suburbs pack while second five-eighth Kruize Nuku operated well in the visiting backline.
One thousand spectators watched Central pip Onga Tiko 15-14 in the Pat Ryan Memorial Trophy Colts final at Tikokino's Matthews Park.
Central manager Graeme Dudley praised his players for the manner in which they defended for the final four minutes after Onga Tiko scored a late converted try to close the gap to one point.
Lock Matt Cooper and loosies Stan Robinson and Tom Nicol impressed in the Onga Tiko pack.