Skills and thrills in early Senior 1 matches – The Gisborne Herald

Published on April 28, 2022 12:01

SUPER CENTRE: Te Peehi Fairlie of the Senior Division 1 YMP Bumbles showed his form on Saturday with a try in the dying minutes of the game to make it 22-22 against the Pirates. Photo by Paul Rickard

The quest for the Lew Patterson Rugby Cup began with a bang on Saturday.

The ultimate prize in Civil Project Solutions Senior 1 rugby is held by Charteris Choppers Wairoa Athletic, who beat Roseland Tavern Tapuae 22-15 in last year’s final at Rugby Park.

This season opened with a 29-7 victory in Tapuae, at home against Harvest/Matawhero Transport Ngatapa.

Next is the 22-all thriller between Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates and YMP Bumbles on Oval No.2.

The last game to start was Wairoa Athletic’s 32-24 win over Nuhaka at Athletic Park

Tony Barbarich, who with co-coach Brent Mills-Wyllie took charge of the Bumbles from YMP legend Ron Tamatea, has been involved with this group of players for six years.

“We started training at the end of January with 18, had 28 at one point and 18 at Barry Park last Wednesday night,” Barbarich said.

“The match was excellent, physical rugby against the Pirates, and thanks to our guest referees from Ngati Porou East Coast – Troy Para Snr, who made our Senior 1 match, and Jackson Reuben-Swinton, with the Prems.”

YMP vice-captain and first five-eighth Waiti Tamatea, replacing his skipper, open flanker Shyann Wyllie, won the toss and opted to play with the strong southerly breeze. Pat Kaliopasi of the Pirates chose to kick off.

YMP hooker Keanu Barbarich, with six, was the Bumbles’ top try scorer in 2021.

He opened the scoring – with the first of his two tries on the opening day – nine minutes later.

After a Buccaneers kick from their own goal line, the ball dipped short and Barbarich pounced on it to score wide of the right post for 5-0.

On the quarter hour, right winger Kobe Wyllie scored YMP’s second try. Wyllie converted and the halftime score was 12-0.

The Anthony Kiwara-coached Pirates needed to hit back first after the restart, which they did, with second five and MVP (most valuable player) Tyreke Casey, in the 45th minute.

He converted the first try of what was to be a brace to close the score at 12-7.

Kaliopasi scored the next try for the Pirates to level at 12 all in the 48th minute.

In the 53rd minute, rake YMP Barbarich completed his try-double.

His try – in the left corner, for 17-12 – was not converted.

Charlie, blind flanker of the pirates

Kepa forced his way in to score the game’s sixth try eight yards from the left touchline to level the score after 61 minutes.

In the 68th, Casey headed home in the left corner to give the Buccaneers their first lead of the game at 22-17.

YMP super center Te Peehi Fairlie’s 76th-minute try for 22-22 ended the scoring.

Fairlie ran hard and straight to pose a danger throughout the game, but YMP picked as their team’s most valuable player Monty Kora, who played at lock, left wing and center on Saturday.

Pirates manager Anthony Kiwara has praised promising prop Tupou Green, reserve No.1 Moko Kiwara, starting hooker Moui Paongo and big prop Tosh Paongo.

Green’s improvement played a big part in the Pirates’ performance at scrum time, and he circled the pitch smartly in a quick game.

“We didn’t have the ball for long stretches, but our defense was amazing,” Kiwara said.

“Tyreke (Casey), front five Nare Kepa and full-back Karauria Whaitiri-Te Miha have been exceptional there, against a quality young team with a lot of talent.”

Para played halfback under Jimmy Whaitiri in the top YMP teams that won the Lee Bros Shield from 1991 to 1993, and he coached Ngati Porou East Coast with Wayne Ensor between 2016 and 2020. He loved every minute of his time on the ground on Saturday where his blacks and whites faced Old Boys, Marist, Horouta, GMC and the Buccaneers.

“I really enjoyed being on the Ring again because the YMP-Pirates game was smooth,” Para said.

“Teams went trial for trial. The players featured were very promising and both clubs – although they seemed to know each other – gave the ball plenty of air.