Bruce Pulman Park played host to the U18 finals of the National District 9’s Competition on a windy day in the South of Auckland.
The National District 9’s final day kicked off with the seventh vs eighth playoff as Southland vs Canterbury kicked off a southern derby. In a tightly contested match, Southland’s three length of the field tries were not enough as they went down 16-12 in the day’s first game. Manawatu and Southland boys then took the field, with the contest going deep into golden point, where a late try in the left corner from Manawatu sealed the 16-12 victory.
Fifth vs sixth saw Waikato girls take on Auckland’s Glenora Bears. A fightback late was not enough for the Waikato side as Glenora won the match 18-10. Wellington then took on locals Manurewa Marlins as both teams traded blows during the half, with the scores at 4-4 going into the break. The Marlins took control of the second half, scoring two unanswered tries to win a comfortably, 12-4.
Otahuhu and Bay of Plenty girls played another scintillating golden point affair as both teams couldn’t be separated after 18 minutes. With only seconds remaining in golden point, quick thinking from the Bay of Plenty side saw them cross over and take the 14-10 win. Otahuhu boys went up against Waikato in their third vs fourth matchup as late tries from both teams saw another golden point thriller. Both teams went into the extra period on 18 points. When a 40-metre field-goal effort from Waikato excruciatingly hit the left upright, Otahuhu capitalised and took the game 22-18.
The first vs second finals kicked off as Auckland’s Howick Hornets faced off against the Wellington Orcas. Howick hit first to go up 4-0 early. Wellington, however, scored two consecutive tries off Howick’s mistakes to go into the half up 8-4. On the back of several penalties, Howick finally found a way through going over in the right corner to tie the game with under three minutes remaining. A late raid in the dying embers saw Wellington snatch the game at the death, winning 12-8 to capture the first U18s Girls National District 9’s title.
The boys saw Canterbury vs the Bay of Plenty after an early battle back and forth, Canterbury opened the scoring early and on the stroke as they took a convincing 8-0 lead into the break. The South Island side proved dominant, scoring three second-half tries to run out 20-0 winners and take home the U18s Boys National District 9’s trophy for 2022.
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