Spirited Shirley score massive Metro club rugby upset over HSOB

Saturday 16 April 2016

A pessimist supporting Shirley in their Canterbury Metro club match against HSOB on Saturday may have started searching for their car keys to prepare for an early exit.

That would been a terrible mistake. What unfolded at Burwood Park in the final quarter was the reason why people of all sizes, creeds and colours play and follow rugby, because Shirley launched a stunning comeback that resulted in an unexpected 31-30 victory.

So, what happened?

How could HSOB, the Plate champions and with Crusaders rep Reed Prinsep in fine form at No 8, let an 18-point lead with 13 minutes remaining slip? Maybe they were asking themselves the same question by the time referee Carl Johnson blew the final whistle to give Shirley a memorable victory.

Everything seemed to be going so well for HSOB, who led 16-7 at halftime. Even when Shirley No 9 Oli Mills scooted away for a try following the restart, HSOB didn’t look like a side that was running of ideas, with lock Angus Cameron and first-five Percival scoring tries – the latter converting both.

If the form book had meant anything Shirley, having lost their previous games against University and Linwood, should have folded. No way. They began moving the ball and in the final 13 minutes scored three long-range tries to replacement backs Keanu Taumata, Jake Vernall and centre Junior Taia. Nathan Smith converted two of them to put them ahead by a point and they survived the frantic final minutes to survive.

“We have been trying to get the boys to play until the 80th minute and this was very satisfying, given it has been six years since we beat HSOB,” Shirley coach Jimmy Hema. “This has been brewing for a few weeks. It’s satisfying to score long-range tries because that hasn’t been like Shirley teams in the past. Yes, we had a good night in the club rooms to celebrate.”

Shirley’s victory elevated them to mid-table status, while and New Brighton and Lincoln University remain unbeaten at the top of the log.

At Burwood Park: Shirley 31 (George Akerei, Oli Mills, Keanu Taumata, Jake Vernall, Junior Taia tries; Nathan Smith 3 con) beat HSOB 30 (Jarred Percival 2, Angus Cameron tries; Percival 3 con, 3 pen). HT: 7-16. Referee: Carl Johnson.

Points as at 16th April

Team Played Wins Draws Losses Defaults Bonus For Against F/A Points
New Brighton Div 1 3 3 0 0 0 3 128 43 85 15
Lincoln University Div 1 3 3 0 0 0 3 109 44 65 15
University Div 1 3 2 0 1 0 3 116 34 82 11
Christchurch Div 1 3 2 0 1 0 2 101 77 24 10
Linwood Div 1 3 2 0 1 0 2 78 92 -14 10
Marist Albion Div 1 3 2 0 1 0 1 90 92 -2 9
Shirley Div 1 3 1 0 2 0 3 66 80 -14 7
Sumner Div 1 3 1 0 2 0 1 74 80 -6 5
HSOB Div 1 3 1 0 2 0 1 63 74 -11 5
Sydenham Div 1 3 1 0 2 0 0 37 56 -19 4
Belfast Div 1 3 0 0 3 0 2 47 160 -113 2
Burnside Div 1 3 0 0 3 0 0 28 105 -77 0