By: Adam Blackwell
Conditions were cold, damp, and slippery underfoot up at Porirua Park for the Victoria Tavern round seven matchup between Northern United and Old Boys University.
Norths started on the front foot creating early pressure which was almost held out by some good OBU cover defence but a slick offload led to a try in the corner to Norths openside Leah Conley. The opening try wasn’t without a bit of controversy however; the touch judge’s flag was up but referee Ben Van Berkel awarded a try regardless.
Norths early dominance continued with two more quick tries pushing the home sides lead out to 19-0 after only 15 minutes.
After their slow start OBU where trying hard to make up some lost ground and were now camped in the Norths 22 for nearly 10 minutes, on the back of multiple penalties. OBU were looking a different side from the first 20 minutes, making all the play and putting a good number of phases together. However, they couldn’t get over the line and convert that pressure into points.
Now spending a bit more time with ball in hand the confidence of the OBU side grew, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, Norths were able to snatch another try just before the halftime whistle. The score line reading 24-0 at halftime to Northern United.
Early in the second half Norths caught OBU napping with a quick tap which led to their 5th try of the day. 31-0 after 48 minutes.
OBU came back strong and applied another period of intense pressure deep in the Norths half but Norths looked dangerous from almost anywhere on the park. The ball was then turned over and Norths had too much pace out wide, outsprinting the OBU players to dot down under the sticks. The score now 38-0 after 55 minutes.
In the 65th minute Molly Humphreys of Norths was given a yellow card only minutes after coming on, taking the hit for multiple team infringements.
OBU were able to capitalise off a strong centre field scrum 22 meters out from the Norths line. Halfback Montana Heslop who had been great all day, took the ball off the back of the scrum and fooled two defenders with a dummy before carrying a third over for the try. A well deserved try for their continued efforts.
The full time score read 38-7 to Norths, but those at the ground would agree that it was a much closer contest than the score line might suggest. Both teams played some great rugby, not deterred by the tough conditions.