You Can't Fake Pride!

August 24, 2015 at 11:48 AM

With thanks to Head of Sport, Mr Martin Piaggi

In a week of sport that brought many of the Auckland competitions to conclusion, our Premier teams experienced both losses and a win in their final games, but there was no denying the immense pride and passion with which they played, and the equal pride and passion that our ‘Blue and White’ spectators brought to the games in support of our top young sportsmen and women.

Girls’ Premier Football and Netball
On Wednesday, 19 August, a combined, parochial crowd of around 800 spectators watched the Premier Girls’ Football team and the Premier Girls’ Netball team play in their respective finals of the Auckland competition. Both teams played against Mt Albert Grammar. The quality of both games was exceptional as arguably the two best girls’ football teams in the country and arguably the two best netball teams in the country battled for supremacy. In both games Saint Kentigern came up a little short on the score sheet but definitely not in commitment and talent. Again, for both games the pride the teams played with and the pride the College community displayed in supporting our girls was truly moving.

Boys’ 1st XI Football
On Friday evening, in front of a crowd of 2000 spectators, the 1st XI Boys’ Football team took on Sacred Heart in a much anticipated ‘winner takes all’ season-defining match. Saint Kentigern fell behind early from a break away run which resulted in a mistake in defence and ultimately the first goal. Not long after we conceded a penalty and the boys found themselves 2-nil down. From that point on, Saint Kentigern played all the football. Time after time we pressured the Sacred Heart defence and eventually, midway through the second half, Dane Schnell scored. For Sacred Heart this was deja vu from earlier in the season when Saint Kentigern came back from being 2-nil down to draw 2-all. Again the pressure was applied and eventually the Sacred Heart defence was breached and Dane Schnell smashed the ball into the back of the net only to be denied by a lines official who deemed an offside play prior to Dane’s strike. Saint Kentigern then went a man down after Jared Schnell received his second yellow card and had to exit the game. With 15 minutes to play and down to 10 men, Saint Kentigern played with immense commitment, pride and passion spurred on by a huge vocal and proud crowd. In the end, the score remained 2-1 to Sacred but the team and the supporters knew that they had witnessed a truly courageous effort.

Rugby 1A Final
On Saturday, in perfect spring condition, on an immaculately manicured Eden Park and in front of 10,000 spectators, Auckland Grammar took on Saint Kentigern 1st XV in the final of the 1A Rugby competition for the fourth year in a row. The scene was set for an epic battle and that is exactly how it turned out.

From the kick off, Saint Kentigern went on the attack and off a Braydon Ennor half break, we recycled the ball and Etene Nanai went over to score. Carlos Price converted and with only three minutes on the clock, Saint Kentigern held a 7 point lead.

The game ebbed and flowed from there with both sides kicking for territory respecting the quality of their opposition. After a penalty and an unconverted try, Grammar led 8-7 at half time.

With the wind favouring Saint Kentigern in the second half, expectation was high. This expectation was short lived though, with Grammar scoring in the corner and Wiseguy Fiaine kicking the conversion from out wide. Auckland Grammar led 15-7 and had scored 15 unanswered points.

The game seemed to be slipping away. To our boys absolute credit though, they hung tough. The forwards took the game to Grammar and after being in their own half for a short time, Grammar conceded a penalty which Carlos Price converted and the score was 15- 10. In the following five minutes of the game, Saint Kentigern lost three senior Year 13 players to serious knee injuries. Sali Tukania, Braydon Ennor and Wesley Tameifuna were all stretchered off the field. We had lost our 12, 13 and 14, all strike players who were replaced by two Year 10 boys: Rivez Reihana, a genuine back and Sila Titiuti, a loose forward. Mitch Gibson was the other replacement, a utility who was covering both forwards and backs.

The game had to be played in the forwards and the big boys really stepped up. Strong running from Jerry Samania, Pari Pari Osborne Parkinson and Sesimani Tupou resulted in a try right next to the posts to Sesimani. Carlos converted and for the first time since the 3rd minute of the game, Saint Kentigern led 17-15.

What I can remember of the last 15 minutes of the game was unbelievable commitment to defence from 15 players who showed immense courage and pride for their jersey, for their team and for the College they represented. Spurred on by 5000 screaming blue and white fans, they tacked and tackled, scrambled and scrambled, repelling attack after attack. As you might imagine in such a tense final, they pushed the limits of the laws of the game and Grammar were given three opportunities to seal the game, culminating in a penalty 40 metres out and pretty much from right in front. With time up on the clock, the kick went wide and was caught over the try line by Mitch Gibson who kicked it out over the side line and the 1A championship was Saint Kentigern’s to savour.

In the space of four days, the College had played in four finals - two girls’ teams and two boys’ teams. All four teams played with immense pride and passion and all four teams were supported the same way by family, friends and Old Collegians alike; all so very proud of the teams’ commitment not just for the finals but in their year-long  trainings and performances that got them to the finals.

Week 5 of Term 3 in 2015 was a memorable week. Four Auckland premier team finals and a fourth  1A rugby title in 5 years.

The Premier teams were not the only ones vying for titles. We have a world champion and world record holder in Maddie Park who won a gold medal in the Team Pursuit Track Cycling in a world record time and then won a bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit.

It’s been a week of thousands of proud spectators donning their blue and white gear and supporting the teams and sharing in their success as any family would.

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