Latest News

Home   /   Latest News  /  Bears bring Hawks down to earth

Bears bring Hawks down to earth

Monday 29 July 2013

The Waitara Bears found the honey pot when they claimed the Taranaki senior grade rugby league title, beating the Hawera Hawks 42-26 in a pulsating final at Waitara’s Clifton Park on Saturday.

While the final scoreline indicated a comfortable win for the Bears, it was anything but, with the crowd – estimated to be more than 1000 – treated to some enterprising play from both sides.

The Hawks stung the Bears early with a slick try by fullback Ricky Gardner, who stepped his way through the defence.

Twice the Bears went close and it was no surprise when hooker Tipene Welch scored midway through the half, with the conversion giving the Bears the lead.

Another converted try soon after, this time scored by standoff Tyson Lewis, extended the lead to 12-4 with the home fans already starting to celebrate.

But in a stunning eight-minute period before the break, the Hawks swooped.

Three converted tries gave the visitors a 22-12 halftime cushion.

It was fullback Gardner who set things alight, angling back against the tide to leave the Bears’ defence in tatters to score under the posts. Then it was winger Tahi Davis who finished off a sweeping attack launched from deep inside their own territory.

The third try went to big sub Duane Boylan, who bumped off one defender, then dragged two with him over the line.

All three tries were converted from close range by Jamie Close-Adams.

If the Hawks thought they had the title in the bag, they were wrong.

The Bears exploded in the opening minutes of the second half.

Two quick converted tries saw the home side regain the lead 24-22.

The first, a length-of-the-field effort, was scored by prop Johnroy Kemp.

The second was by their backline general Cruz Rauner.

A fortuitous try to Davis in the corner after he looked to have lost the ball over the line, gave the Hawks’ supporters some hope, but that was shortlived when Bears sub Hamiora McLeod burrowed his way over for a try near the posts.

Big Bears prop Laquail Neilsen pushed the lead out to 36-26 when he crashed over near the posts with 10 minutes remaining.

Then centre Andre Olsson sealed the win after a blistering burst down the left flank following a bust by second rower Anisi O’Carroll-Leota. All seven Waitara tries were converted by Chance Teuira who kicked seven from seven, including a difficult final kick into a strong cross-wind from wide out.

There were plenty of standouts for the Bears.

Rauner controlled play superbly, with his eye for the gap key to sparking many attacks, while Olsson and fullback Tosh Clark both showed out on attack.

Welch, Kemp, O’Carroll-Leota and loose forward Henare O’Carroll hit the ball up strongly for the Bears, with Neilsen much more involved in the second half.

The Hawks had a number of willing workers in the pack with brothers Wirimu and Tyson Hori-Brown, along with cousin Damien Hori, all hard to stop with the ball in hand.

Hawera’s man-of-the-match was winger Delaine Mihaere.

He gave the Bears plenty of headaches on attack and his defence was outstanding.

Gardner also impressed on attack and under the high ball in the swirling wind.

WAITARA BEARS 42 (Tipene Welch, Tyson Lewis, Johnroy Kemp, Cruz Rauner, Lequail Neilsen, Hamiora McLeod, Andre Olsson tries; Chance Teuira 7 cons)

HAWERA HAWKS 26 (Ricky Gardner 2, Tahi Davis 2, Duane Boylan tries; Jamie Close-Adams 3 cons). Halftime: Hawks 22-12.