Our annual Old Timers Day was a resounding success, both on and off the field. The clubrooms were packed for lunch with keen interest in the launch of Tim Donoghue's new book C'mon Red!
The crowd made its way down to Evans Bay Park where they were treated with a glorious winters day and some exciting rugby on the field. After the Premier Reserves dispatched their OBU counterparts by 29-8, the Evans Bay faithful would be on tenderhooks for the next hour and a half.
The first half of the Swindale Shield match was a tight affair, with both teams feeling things out. After trading penalties it was the home side that would cross the chalk first after Valentine Meachen emerged from a maul 25 metres out, dashing to the 5 metre line before offloading to the hands of Willie Schutz who juggled the ball before dotting down in the corner.
OBU struck back almost immediately with two quick tries, including a charge down of a clearing kick deep in our 22 which was regathered to score. It was that try that was the difference on the scoreboard for most of the game. We entered the halftime break trailing by 8-15.
Coach Zak Feaunati was clearly running to a plan and rolled on most of his bench early in the second half, this proved to be a shot in the arm. In the first 20 minutes of the second half the teams were exchanging penalties but we narrowed the gap to 14-18. It was then a staunch defensive effort that kept us in the game. OBU attacked our 22 for ten solid minutes but it wouldn't crack - player of the day James Proctor relieved the pressure with several 50 metre clearance kicks.
With the defensive line holding, we started to put some phases together and slowing gained field position. With five minutes to play our forward put together waves of attack five metres from the OBU line which eventually cracked with James Tuiatua scoring the match winning try, pushing the Red Machine ahead by 19-18.
As the clock ran down Aidan Morgan nudged over a drop goal to secure victory, much to the delight of the Old Timers.
Over the road on Kilbirnie Park, the Under 85s upset recent champions Avalon and the Internationals got their first win of the season over OBU.
The celebration of Marist St Pats continued at the clubrooms on Saturday night as Premier Women's players Paige Va'auli and Jane Bryce were presented their 50th game blazers and were greeted by a rousing haka by our Senior Men's teams.
The Premiers now sit first equal on the table after six rounds and will play Avalon at Fraser Park on Friday night.
Full club results