Above: Former All Black Sevens player Taleta Tupuola makes a break for it when Hutt Old Boys Marist beat Northern United 20-19 at Porirua Park this week in 2011.
In association with Lovelocks Sports Bar on Bond Street in Wellington, some highlights from this week in Wellington club rugby history are below.
1954: The Dominion reports that All Blacks Ron Jarden and Jim Fitzgerald excel in “completely bewildering the opposition with speed and clever changes of direction” in a key win for University over Athletic. Trailing 3-9 at halftime, University come back in the second half to win 17-9. This match is also notable for being Brian Fitzpatrick’s last game for the club ahead of transferring north. University had provided four players - backs Jarden, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick and flanker Bill Clark - to the 1953/54 All Blacks to Europe.
1982: The Wellington Axemen beat Wainuiomata 29-13 to win the Swindale Shield outright, after nearest rivals Petone are held to a 3-3 draw by Poneke and HV Marist and University also draw, 10-10. Wellington finishes the first round on 20 points, ahead of Petone, MSP and HV Marist all on 19.
2004: Petone win the Swindale Shield for the first time since 1993, beating Avalon 38-7 and scoring the four tries it needs in today’s final round match. After early losses to MSP and to HOBM, Petone has won seven straight matches. Poneke finishes second.
1936: Play is ‘hard and exciting’ as Poneke beats Athletic 12-3 on Athletic Park in today’s big match played to a big crowd. Despite the loss, Athletic go on to win their maiden Jubilee Cup title.
1981: MSP’s Wayne Gray and Petone’s Mike Clamp continue their hot try-scoring. Gray scores four tries in MSP’s 31-0 win over Ories to take his season tally to 17 tries in 12 games. Clamp scores just once in Petone’s 19-0 win over Poneke, but he now has 20 tries in 12 matches. MSP and Petone are neck-and-neck and heading for a showdown in next week’s Swindale Shield decider.
1992: First five-eighth Allan Henderson kicks a late penalty for Johnsonville to see them beat Western Suburbs 15-13 and send them into the Jubilee Cup for the first time since World War 2. Johnsonville had led 12-0 at halftime, but Wests came back with the wind to lead 13-12 before the winning kick.
1998: Northern United have had a week to remember. In the space of five days, they have beaten both of last year’s Jubilee Cup finalists. Norths defeated MSP 20-17 on Tuesday and have followed that up with a 13-5 win over Petone. The loss is Petone’s fourth in succession. Elsewhere, Wests are running hot, beating Poneke eight tries to nil, 49-0, at Kilbirnie Park.
2009: Swindale Shield form is turned on its head in the first week of Jubilee Cup play, with first round co-champions Northern United and Petone both losing their opening matches. In a first round boilover, previously rampant Norths lose to eighth ranked Tawa 15-24 at Porirua Park and Petone meet a 10-13 defeat to Poneke at Kilbirnie Park.
1930: With three current All Blacks – Frank Kilby, Don Oliver and Hugh McLean - plus Jimmy Page – an All Black next year - the Wellington Axemen find themselves playing in the Senior B competition this season. This is due to last season’s temporary loss of some top players and an injury toll that decimated the team that saw the club relegated in 1929. Unsurprisingly, the Axemen cut a swathe through the second division. On this day they thrash Selwyn [now defunct] 60-0, scoring 48 points in the second half. Oliver scores six of the 16 tries.
1986: Swindale Shield winners Petone close out an unbeaten first round campaign with a 16-9 win over Wellington in today’s feature match. Petone’s only blow so far this year has been a 6-6 draw with MSP. The Villagers end the first round having scored 374 points and conceded 99. Fullback Allan Hewson has scored exactly 150 of their points.
2008: Northern United and Marist St Pat’s are destined to draw 10-10 in the Jubilee Cup final later in the season, but today both win their first round matches. Newly crowned Swindale Shield champions MSP defeats cross-peninsula rivals Ories 41-12, with Brendan Watt scoring two tries and Victor Vito also dotting down. Norths wing Sinoti Sinoti scores his 12th try of the season and schoolboy halfback TJ Perenara dots down in Norths’ 26-11 win over HOBM.
1957: Poneke beats leaders Petone in a result that creates a logjam at the top of the table. After eight rounds, Poneke, Petone and University are locked together on 12 points with Marist Brothers Old Boys on 11. It’s a game of two halves as Poneke are beaten up in the set-pieces by the Villagers and trail 0-8 at halftime. But a much more cohesive Poneke comes out in the second spell and turns the match in their favour, winning 12-8. Petone go on to win their second successive Jubilee Cup title.
1985: Upper Hutt beat MSP 18-17 to clinch their Jubilee Cup spot with a week to spare. Sam McLean boots over most of Upper Hutt’s points to give them an eighth win in their last 10 matches after losing their first two. The Wellington Axemen, meanwhile, wrap up the Swindale Shield outright wth a match in hand, defeating newly promoted Paremata-Plimmerton 38-6.
2013: Poneke are desperately unlucky to lose to Ories at home. Centre Michael Sage's second try of the contest draws them level at 16-16 before Ories' replacement hooker Charles Paese scores at the death to give Ories the win 23-16. Elsewhere, OBU are impressive in blowing MSP away 46-18 but Tawa are the team to beat after steamrolling Petone 55-18.
1984: A death-knock penalty gives Petone a penultimate Swindale Shield round 15-13 win over Wellington – moments after Wellington’s fullback Evan Hopkin has seemingly claimed victory by kicking a booming 60-metre penalty. The loss for the Axemen, their first of the season, means that Wellington (on 22 points) and MSP (22) will meet next week in a ‘virtual’ first round final.
1990: Upper Hutt and Petone will meet in next week’s Swindale Shield decider after centre Dave Rennie and No. 8 Issac Adams score key tries in Upper Hutt’s 25-15 win over Hutt Old Boys and Petone scrapes past Poneke 19-15. Elsewhere today, Wellington snap a four-game losing streak to beat Tawa 29-12 and qualify for the Jubilee Cup.
2007: MSP No. 8 Alex Tulou provides the pot of gold in his side's upset 12-10 come-from-behind win over champions Northern United in the first round of Jubilee Cup matches. With a rainbow beaming down on Evans Bay Park, Tulou scores the winning try late in the second half, taking a quick tap penalty himself and skirting 15 metres to score. Norths had clung to a 10-5 lead throughout the second half. Hutt Old Boys Marist are also impressive first round winners, beating Poneke19-9. HOBM and MSP will meet in this year’s final.
2012: Marist St. Pat's and Tawa emerge as emphatic winners as atrocious conditions accompany today’s opening afternoon of the second round Jubilee Cup. In a biting southerly and squally showers, MSP announce their credentials with a resounding 28-11 win over first round champions Hutt Old Boys Marist. At Lyndhurst Park, Tawa underline their first round dominance over Petone, scoring a decisive 37-3 win over the visiting Villagers.
1967: Petone retains the lead at the halfway stage of the season by beating defending champions university 9-6 courtesy of two tries and a dropped goal to first five-eighth John Dougan and a fantastic game by halfback Ian Stevens.
1978: Athletic capture the first round Swindale Shield, beating MSP 22-18 in a ‘virtual’ first round final. Prop Kevin Phelan scores an inspirational try that sets up victory.
1989: Hutt Old Boys (on 46 points) and Poneke (44) are fitting ‘finalists' in today’s Swindale Shield decider, and in a gripping conclusion to the first round, Hutt lead 9-3 at halftime, before pulling away with Poneke a player day after being red carded and winning 21-9.
2006: A Tana Umaga inspired second half comeback helps Petone scramble to a 25-25 draw over MSP after the visitors had opened up a sensational 25-13 lead at halftime with two quick tries. halfback Reece Poutawera scores the first and flanker Dane Coles for his fourth try in a fortnight. But Petone talisman Umaga, in his second appearance for the Villagers this season and on the back of Jerry Collins’ popular performance for Norths last week, helps put in motion a valiant fightback.
1955: A three-way fight at the top of the table has developed between Onslow, Petone and hotshots University after each win their games today. Ron Jarden scores 14 of 29 points and livewire flanker and Jarden’s All Blacks teammate Bill Clark is on fire for University in their win against Oriental. Elsewhere, Petone edge out St Pat’s Old Boys and Onslow dispatch minnows Taita 31-3 with former Petone first five-eighth Jackie Dougan running the ship at Nairnville Park. Onslow go on to win the 1955 Jubilee Cup.
1988: MSP first five-eighth Peter O’Shaughnessy scores a try and kicks nine from 10 shots on goal in MSP’s 55-12 win over Tawa. O’Shaughnessy has now scored 130 points this season in just eight outings. Wellington beats Petone 25-13 in their match today, and MSP and Wellington will meet next week in a ‘virtual’ Swindale Shield final at Athletic Park.
1994: Brothers Mike and Tana Umaga put on a club rugby clinic in unbeaten Petone’s 49-10 win over Johnsonville. The pair is on fire, launching several sweeping movements and setting up two tries to second five-eighth Jason O’Halloran. Elsewhere, a last-gasp Steve Hirini dropped goal gives Poneke a 24-22 win over Norths.
2011: At Porirua Park, Hutt Old Boys Marist survives a late comeback and two late tries to Nene Va’alepu to beat defending champions Northern United 20-19. Beaten up by Poneke in round one, HOBM comes out firing against the Norths side missing its points scoring fullback James So’oialo. The Eagles lead 20-7 at one point but hang on to inflict a first defeat of the year on Norths.