Horowhenua Kāpiti Rugby's premier team fulfilled their union's heart's desire to win a championship in its 125th year.
HK won the Lochore Cup after a thrilling game against Wairarapa Bush at home in the Levin Domain. It's been 25 years since Horowhenua Kāpiti brought home a championship.
HK put the first points on the board within minutes of starting off the game and were well ahead of Wairarapa Bush by halftime. Bush came back quickly in the second half and put the pressure on the home team until the end.
Seven minutes before the end HK were in front again thanks to David McErlan, who slid over the chalk. Despite Wairarapa's best efforts the score remained 26-23 until the end.
First five-eighth James So'oialo, who scored 122 points over the season, making him the top scorer in the competition, didn't miss a beat kicking penalties as he landed penalty goals in the 3rd, 10th and 16th minutes and converted both tries.
Coach Chris Wilton is very happy with the result, but said there were a few monumental shifts in the game, including a disallowed try for HK early on and the moment Timoci Serawalu, while trying to crash of the Wairarapa tryline, had the ball ripped from him by Bush's Soli Malatai, who had an unchallenged 80m run to the opposite tryline.
"Wairarapa's defence was great.We hammered their tryline, but their defence remained strong.
"The game was a cliffhanger at times. It was great for us to win a major championship in our 125th year," said Wilton.
Scorers: Horowhenua Kapiti 26 (Aaron Lahmert, David McErlean tries; James So'oialo 2 con, 4 pen) Wairarapa Bush 23 (Soli Malatai, Sam Gammie tries; Tipene Haira 2 con, 3 pen) HT: 16-7