Double Delight For Town In Wellington Traditional
Two goals in the last ten minutes earned Town a thrilling 4-2 victory. Four goals were scored in the last quarter as Wellington rallied from 2-0 down to square the ledger only for Town to rediscover their groove and win the George Adams Trophy for 2020.
It was a back and forth encounter throughout most of the first half, with both teams having clear cut chances to take the lead. Town played with the wind at their backs and had the first opportunity, winning a free kick on the edge of the area. A low drive was drilled just past the left-hand post by Josh Apaapa-Preston.
Oscar Crowe was evident down both edges for Wellington and almost set up an opener for Levi Bank who scuffed his effort.
It was on the hour mark when Town, at last, broke through. Harry Kidd fired a rocket of a shot from outside the box that sent goalkeeper Ben Collins sprawling in vain.
Town coach Liam Wood went to the bench in the 70th minute introducing Arbi Yedenkechow with immediate effect. Liam Coleman was put in space and finished with a fierce drive into the bottom right-hand corner.
Cameron Gen picked a good time to score his first goal for Wellington College and when substitute Chris Mairs leveled the scores in the 84th minute the game had turned around completely.
However, the drama was far from over and Town retook the lead when Riley Manuel, dangerous in midfield throughout, lashed his first shot into the post only to collect the rebound and find greater precision with a second effort.
Yedenkechow scored the winner when he pounced on a mistake by Wellington at the back. St Pats’ victory snaps a two-game losing streak.
St Pat’s Town has retained the Centennial Shield for a third consecutive year defeating Wellington College 39-19 in the 135th annual traditional fixture.
With a one-man advantage, and only down 20-14 at halftime, Wellington had a real chance to reverse the ascendancy. Instead, two poor clearances cost two tries as Town deservedly pulled clear.
Diminutive Year 11 fullback Francis Mettrick was at the heart of both strikes, both occurring from kicks taken on the full and with pace in space.
Wing Sapati Tagoai collected the first gift just outside his own 22, weaving and dashing clear before setting up Mettrick to his left who slipped the fullback.
Moments later it was Mettrick who turned provider, even bumping off a tackler, before putting workhorse flanker Jordan Chapman away. Two conversions by Christian Stenhouse blew the score out to 34-14.
Prior to the break Town lost prop Salesa Semanufagi to the sinbin, so both these telling tries were achieved a man down.
Earlier, the match started in spectacular fashion when powerhouse prop Siale Lauaki bullied through congestion to open Town’s account after two minutes.
Wellington responded from the restart when a Stenhouse kick was charged down by lock Bryn Jones. Openside George Murray was first to the loose ball, a habit that would repeat itself in a stellar effort.
Generally, Town used their greater size to good effect, especially with blindside forward surges.
Lock Xavier Bell scored the second try using his reach in a tight space to finish after another blindside assault and halfback Jermaine Collins try was vindication for Town’s direct attacking approach. Collins slipped clear up the middle of a ruck.
Town won at least two tightheads and three penalties from the scrum. The entire starting pack deserves acclaim for their effort, though concentration lapses remain a concern.
Rory Tapsell returned at blindside for Wellington and battled gamely. Bailee Laursen-Tupai tackled bravely and halfback George Sims shows obvious leadership qualities.
-Story Courtesy of College Sport Media