Napier Old Boys Marist retained Hawke's Bay's Maddison Trophy premier club rugby title with a 31-26 win against Clive in today's final at Napier's McLean Park.
It was the Green Machine's 34th consecutive win and their closest this season. Clive exceeded expectations with their competitive effort and were unlucky to have prop Nathan Bruce sinbinned for a foot trip in the 57th minute. It was Bruce's final match after 15 years of service to the riversiders.
"Nathan was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's had a few yellow cards over the years so it was a little bit fitting," Clive head coach Blair Cross quipped afterwards.
"At the moment this loss is tough to swallow but in a couple of days time the boys will look back and be proud of their season and how far they came," Cross said.
Like Cross, NOBM head coach Craig Gowler, will make a decision over the summer on his availability for next year.
"I told the club I would give them four years and I've done that. The boys might be sick of my old war stories," Gowler said.
"I'm just so happy for the boys and their families. There's been massive commitment from so many towards this from October last year when we set the goals of retaining the Nash Cup and the Maddison Trophy and we've ticked those goals off," Gowler added.
Earlier today the Hawke's Bay Saracens team, which included numerous contracted Magpies but no 2017 Super players, was thrashed 57-7 by Waikato in Taupo after trailing 17-7 at halftime. Fullback Hayden Hann scored the Saracens try and first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon kicked a conversion.
Hann, flanker Tony Lamborn and prop Pouri Rakete-Stones were the best of the Saracens.
Hastings Boys' High School secured a home Super 8 final next Saturday against Hamilton Boys' High School with a 20-16 win against the same team in Hamilton today. The score was 10-all at halftime.
"It was a game which could have gone either way and both teams knew how to shut each other down," Hastings Boys' High School manager Jason Bird said.
Fulback Danny Toala, winger Trent Hape and openside flanker Jeriah Mua scored tries for Hastings and Toala kicked a penalty and conversion.In the McLean Park curtainraiser Onga Tiko beat Hastings Rugby and Sports 34-11 in the Pat Ryan Memorial Trophy colts final. In other finals Taradale beat Napier Old Boys Marist 26-14 in the premier reserve grade final at Park Island, Otane pipped Porangahau 12-5 in the division two final at Porangahau and up in Raupunga YMP took out the division three final with a 48-24 victory against Flaxmere.
From today's Tui HB Maddison Trophy premier club rugby final:
Napier Old Boys Marist 31 (L Edwards 2, P Bickle, J Penitito, J Aoake tries; J Lauano 3 cons), Clive 26 (J Tangaere 2, L Goodin, B Hokianga tries; T Poto 3 cons). HT: 17-14.