Above: Eden celebrating their back-to-back title win after beating Napier Old Boys Marist in the Cup final. Photo credit: Eden Rugby Club Facebook
Auckland’s Eden has become the first club since Otago’s Alhambra-Union in 2009 to defend the Middlesex County Wavell Wakefield Cup, winning the National Club Sevens title in style at home at Gribblehurst Park on Sunday afternoon.
In wet conditions, Eden beat Hawke’s Bay Champions Napier Old Boys Marist, winning 24-14 in the final.
Earlier on day two, Eden had defeated Northland’s Old Boys Marist 19-0 in their quarter-final and overcome Waikato’s Hamilton Marist 14-5 in their semi-final.
In the Cup final against Napier Old Boys Marist, Eden scored two converted tries in the first spell to lead 14-0 at halftime. Nico Costa made a booming break to split the defence and Ignacio Costa was on hand at the next phase to open the scoring. Gareth Williams-Spiers grubbered ahead in broken play, won a penalty at the next ruck and took a quick tap to dive over and double the score.
NOBM pressed hard early in the second half, but Eden regathered possession and searched for an opening deep inside their own territory. It came for Williams-Spiers who broke on the outside, drew the last defender and set up a try for Brodie Lam to make it 19-0.
The Hawke’s Bay side scored to close the deficit to 19-7, but once more Eden broke out and scored the match-winner. NOBM’s Rikki Hayes chipped and regathered to score a well-deserved consolation try.
Northland’s Old Boys Marist won the Plate final, beating North Harbour’s Northcote 19-14. Old Boys Marist won the Plate final with a three-try burst just before and after halftime. Trailing 0-7 they scored on halftime and Issa Nawaqa converted from the sideline to level it up. They then scored twice more, Jared Burns sliding over for the winner. Northcote scored a runaway consolation try moments from fulltime.
North Harbour champions East Coast Bays edged Hawkes’ Bay’s Havelock North 14-7 in the final of the Bowl to finish 9th. East Coast Bays led 7-7 at halftime, but Havelock North scored to tie it up at 7-7. The second half remained tight but a sole try to East Coast Bays proved the difference.
The Upper Hutt Rams beat Pakuranga 14-12 to win the Shield final. The Rams scored first and held a 7-0 halftime lead, but Pakuranga struck with an equalising converted try. The Rams went desperately close to scoring in the corner, but subsequently scored in closer through Josh Brown off a 5 metre scrum to put them ahead 14-7. Pakuranga weren’t done yet, scoring on fulltime 10 metres to the left of the posts. But they missed the conversion and the Rams celebrated the consolation spoils, after earlier in the day losing to East Coast Bays and then beating Greerton Marist.
Eden 14 – Hamilton Marist 5
Napier Old Boys Marist 19 – Tauranga Sports 17
The two best performing teams from the first day and a half of the tournament collided in the first Cup semi-final. Eden held possession throughout the opening minutes but were met by patient Hamilton Marist defence. The Ravens broke out and scored the first try of the semi-final in the far corner to take a 5-0 lead. Eden hit back with a converted try and then it was their team to hold their line. Eden counterattacked and Igancio Costa set up the winning try. Final score: 14-5.
The second semi-final was a thriller, and it took a Mike Buckley special to win the game. With NOBM holding a 12-10 lead, Buckley broke a tackle and scooted clear to score to put his side ahead 19-10. Tauranga Sports came right back and scored a seven-pointer through Josh Honey to close the gap. There was stil time remaining, but NOBM held on. Earlier, NOBM had scored twice early and led 12-5 at halftime. Final score: 19-17.
Eden 19 – Old Boys Marist 0
Napier Old Boys Marist 40 – Marist Albion 0
Hamilton Marist 19 – Auckland University 0
Tauranga Sports 14 – Northcote 12
Eden made a fast start to their Cup quarter-final with tries toGareth William-Spiers and Brodie Lam. Old Boys Marist applied pressure but the game was in the bag moments before halftime with an 80 metre kick and regather for a try putting them ahead 19-0. There was no further scoring in the second half. Final score: 19-0.
Napier Old Boys Marist made an even faster start against Christchurch’s Marist Albion – scoring from the kick-off. They then saw off a concerted raid and saved a try in the corner, before breaking out and scoring again. Mike Buckley scored a customary try on the halftime to put NOBM ahead 21-0. Mitchell Drew and Paul Bickle scored straight after the interval and at 35-0 it was all over. Final score: 40-0.
After capitalising on an early yellow card and scoring, Hamilton Marist were pushed all the way by Auckland champions University. They added a second try immediately before the interval to take a 12-0 lead before absorbing a long period of pressure and scoring the only try of the second spell from a chargedown and 50 metre runaway. Final score: 19-0.
The fourth Cup quarter-final was the closest. Now in pouring rain, Northcote started strongly and scored first for a 7-0 lead. Tauranga Sports worked their way upfield and equalised through Leroy Carter. Northcote scored again before the interval and led 12-7 at halftime. Tauranga maintained pressure, but gave away a defensive penalty and a golden chance was lost. But they broke through on the far side soon after to score the match-winner. Final score: 14-12.
Fraser Tech 19 – Greerton Marist 7
Havelock North beat Pakuranga
East Coast Bays 17 – Upper Hutt Rams 5
Rangataua 33 – Patumahoe 7
View full results here