There were smiling faces aplenty among the large crowd of Johnsonville supporters at Helston on Saturday when the premier reserves led Paremata-Plimmerton 16-7 at halftime in the curtain-raiser.
There weren’t so many happy faces when the final whistle blew and we’d been beaten 23-27.
And the earlier happy demeanour had noticeably changed to one of general concern when we found ourselves 3-16 down towards the end of the first half of the prems’ game. For quite some time it was looking as though we would be drowning our sorrows in the post-match aftermath.
Thank god for the introduction in the second half of highly-experienced loose forward Kane Thompson whose quick thinking led to him scoring two tries and that sour beer was suddenly, at last, tasting a whole lot better.
Tiwi Davies had given us the early lead with a penalty but then it appeared as if we just waited for things to happen and hadn’t planned on Paremata-Plimmerton coming out with such a ferociousness and commitment.
Some very suspect defence led to P-P’s first try and then a series of high tackles led to impressive P-P fullback Blake Neve slotting three penalties for the visitors and suddenly, down 3-16, we had our backs to the wall.
Davies ambled over for a try on halftime and we were back in it, but still with some work to do.
Coach Logan Tauiliili decided it was time to introduce Thompson midway through the second spell and the desired result was forthcoming almost immediately. He scored within a couple of minutes, burrowing over from a quick tap penalty and used the same guile to score an almost identical try 14 minutes later.
Thompson, a former Highlanders, Southland, Chiefs, Turbos and Manu Samoa player, was suddenly the toast of the JRFC, in just his second game for us. Long may it continue.
We managed to hold P-Plim out over the final few minutes and take the honours 25-19 but they were obviously disappointed after taking the game to us for so much of the 80 minutes.
Apart from Davies and Thompson, loose forwards Marcus Ale and Siaosi Mafi were especially prominent for us, in the thick of the action throughout.
Run of play:
2m: Tiwi Davies slots an easy penalty, 3-0 J’ville. 9m: Some weak defence sees Pare-Plim cross for a try and convert, 3-7. J’ville are conceding penalty after penalty culminating in sinbinning of Frankie Bryant for a high tackle. 14m: P-P penalty, 3-10. P-P grab a tighthead, much to their delight. 19m: Another P-P penalty, 3-13. 25m: And another, 3-16. J’ville turn down shot at goal from kickable penalty then knock on from the resulting lineout win. 39m: A concerted attacking effort by our forwards before first-five Levi Kemp delivers a slick little flick pass to put Tiwi Davies in the clear and he strides over untouched. Davies converts and it’s 10-16 at halftime.
8m: Davies a penalty and we creep closer, 13-16. 22m: Davies makes a heap of ground along the western touch before we’re awarded a penalty; super, super sub Kane Thompson has only been on the field a matter of minutes but he’s not waiting, a quick tap and he charges over for the try; Davies converts and we’re up 20-16. 24m: A Pare-Plim penalty, 20-19. 36m: We’re awarded another penalty close to the line and again Thompson is not hanging about; he catches P-P out with another quick tap and dives over in front of the screaming clubhouse mob, 25-19. Davies’ conversion attempt hits the upright and bounces away and P-P still have a chance with a couple of minutes to play, but we hold on.
Our premier reserves couldn’t follow up their first-round win over Wellington the previous week with another success but did gain a bonus point in going down 23-27 to Pare-Plim.
The Quay Marine J’ville premier reserves were looking good when up 16-7 at halftime but some poor tackling and equally poor handling led to Pare-Plim piling on 20 unanswered points to scoot out to a 27-16 lead in the second half.
J’ville prop Simi Navoka barged over for a good try right on fulltime and Levi Grace was able to convert from the touchline to grab the bonus point.
Grace was again the standout player for J’ville, having scored 16 points in the first round match against Wellington last week.
He scored a brilliant try 10 minutes into the game, scything through the Pare-Plim backline, and added three penalties and two conversions for his 18 points, giving him 34 from the two games to date this season.
Others to impress for the reserves were scorer Navoka and speedy right-wing Wise Yabakivou (formerly Tawa) who was very dangerous whenever he touched the ball.
This week we’ve got OBU at Nairnville, the prems at 2.45pm and the prem reserves at 1pm. We’ll need all the support we can muster so please head down the road and take your loud voice with you.
Social member subs:
Social members can now pay their subscriptions for the 2017 season:
- $35 for social members.
- $15 for partners of social members and partners of players.
- $20 for country members.
Bank acc no for subs: 010 5190 0701 9500
Also, a reminder that players’ subs are due by May 31.
The club thanks the following Johnsonville juniors for their great job as ballboys and on the scoreboard on Saturday:
Monty, Jacob, Ben, Daniel, Aiden, Tino, Satine, Christian and Jake.
We still need a manager for our premier reserves to take some pressure off coach Bob Selkirk. This is not an overly taxing task so if you are interested, or know of someone who is, please contact club captain Perry Barber or chairman Kerry Walsh immediately.
We are also still on the lookout for players for our colts team; if you are interested or know of anyone who may be, please steer them in the direction of either of the above.
Old Timers’ Day:
Pencil in May 27 as Old Timers’ Day at the club; we play Petone.