SHANE HURNDELL
Second five-eighth Davis Norman was the hero as Havelock North won the top-of-the-table clash in Hawke's Bay's Maddison Trophy premier club rugby competition on Saturday.
A last-minute try from Norman, which first five-eighth Pauro Collier converted, gave Havelock a 17-14 win against Clive in the last match of the host club's club day at Anderson Park.
"Clive had shoved us backwards for more than 20 metres when we ripped the ball off them. Davis received the ball and ran 40 metres," said a delighted Havelock coach Tom Blake (below).
"I yelled out to Pauro to miss the conversion as that would have left the score at 15-14 as they had 15 players and we had 14, but he wanted the points," Blake said referring to the fact winger Ola Alataua was sent off by referee Chris Pollock in the 30th minute for retaliation.
"Clive had a player sinbinned at the same incident but the fact we played with 14 men for 50 minutes made the victory even sweeter. We played with a lot of guts to bounce back from last week's loss with this win," Blake added.
Winger Herman Ah Kiong, halfback Leon Phillips and No.8 Justin Matheson all shone for a below-strength Clive outfit, which was outplayed at lineout time.
Defending champions Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports scored the biggest win in the round played in atrocious weather with a 63-7 walloping of Western Suburbs at Park Island. It was an appropriate display for long-serving frontrower Johnny Morrison's 200th outing for the team.
First five-eighth Chad Shepherd and No.8 Pama Petia both scored hat-tricks for the hosts. Suburbs managed to field 15 players for the match and loose forward Francis Brider was their best.
Suburbs have Taradale and Clive remaining, so appear destined for relegation should the division two champions be eligible for promotion.
Otane avoided the threat of relegation with their 9-7 win against MAC at Otane Domain. First five-eighth Kelly Graham kicked three penalties from four attempts at goal in the victory.
All of his forwards and second five-eighth Mike Kupa were others to impress in the victory. The MAC camp were happy with their bonus point which adds to Suburbs worries.
A superior forward effort was the key to United Gaming Hastings Rugby and Sports 12-0 win against Central at Central Park. New Zealand Sevens star Tafai Ioasa celebrated his return from international duties with a try for the visitors.
Napier Old Boys Marist scored a predictable 39-7 away win against Alexander Construction Napier Technical at Whitmore Park. Flanker John Phelan shone in the visiting pack while midfielder Waka Petera, winger Tim Coull and fullback Eddie Hekenui all impressed in the winning backline.
Captain and No.8 Jason Evans and substitute flanker Manga Palu were the pick of the Tech players.