Three tries during extra time propelled Napier Old Boys to their third Hawke's Bay premier club rugby Maddison Trophy title in four years today.
After trailing 24-10 20 minutes into the second half and playing with 13 players for a couple of minutes when props Lee Moleili and Chris Benson were in the sinbin WIT Napier Old Boys Marist managed to claw their way back and finished tied at 24-all at the end of regulation time. They then went on to beat Auto Super Shoppe Hastings Rugby and Sports 43-24 in front of 5500 spectators at Napier's McLean Park.
All three tries, scored by locks Tyler Symon-Burke and Sean Skeet and fullback Liam Edwards, came during the first half of extra time.
NOBM head coach Craig Gowler praised superior fitness levels and skillset of his players during the extra time period.
"We were also making good decisions and had the clarity required," Gowler said.
"That was definitely the best of three finals we won. It was definitely the best opposition we faced in the three and I hope Hastings have a good night tonight because they deserve it," he added.
Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava made a huge difference when he took the field as a second half replacement and scored two tries within 10 minutes.
Hastings captain and prop Jason Long said his troops switched off with a minute remaining in regulation time.
"I thought we were good enough to win it. This loss will make us more determined for next year and I'm pretty sure all of us will be back," Long added.
In the curtain raiser, the Pat Ryan Memorial Trophy colts final, Taradale Rugby and Sports pipped Hastings Rugby and Sports 22-18. Taradale appeared to be well in control with a 22-8 lead after 41 minutes of play.
However, Hastings Rugby and Sports fought back well and with the assistance of a 16-1 second half penalty count in their favour contributed to a thrilling final nine minutes. Powerful No 8 Majella Tufuga, lock Kyaan Tawhai and flanker Morgan Bestford were prominent in the winning pack.
Captain and fullback Luke Johnson and Caleb Harmer, who had stints on the wing and at halfback were classy in the Taradale backline. Captain and second five-eighth Finn Fairbrother and No 8 Billy Crosswell were the pick of the Hastings players.
Maddison Trophy final: Napier Old Boys Marist 43 (R Hayes 2, P Fatialofa, T Symon-Burke, S Skeet, L Edwards tries; J Lauano 5 cons, pen), Hastings Rugby and Sports 24 (M Emerson, A Vuki, F Fakatava 2 tries; P Smith 2 cons ). HT: 10-5.
Colts final: Taradale Rugby and Sports 22 (Tevan Nuku, Majella Tufuga, Caleb Harmer, Joshua Steele tries; Wiremu Erkell con ), Hastings Rugby and Sports 18 (Finn Fairbrother, Billy Crosswell 2 tries; Fairbrother pen). HT: 17-8.