Rugby union: Wests Scarborough claims back-to-back premierships with 27-15 win over Associates

Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne
Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne
Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne
Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne Picture: Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

WESTS Scarborough has secured back-to-back Premier Grade premierships, taking down Associates 27-15 in an entertaining grand final at Tompkins Park on yesterday afternoon.

Associates shot out to an early 15-0 lead but led by a man-of-the-match performance from backrower Kane Koteka, the Boars piled on 27 unanswered points for a hard fought, physical victory.

Soaks opened the scoring with the Boars caught offside and PG Hampshire winner Brendan Owen made no mistake to put his side ahead 3-0 in the early stages.

Continuing its strong start, Associates opted for a quick tap in front of the posts and the gamble paid off with Jasper Warren sending backrower Michael Hardwick over in the left corner just a few phases later.

Wests looked to play itself into the contest as it threatened inside Soaks’ 22 but strong defence from the Swanbourne side forced a knock on and released the pressure.

A knock on from Wests handed Associates a golden opportunity inside the 22 and the men in gold did not let it slip with Michael Ninkov flinging the ball out for Brendan Owen to skip inside and dart over.

Owen converted his own try to extend the lead to 15-0 after 27-minutes.

Sensing the momentum of the contest, Wests’ backrower Kane Koteka took matters into his own hands running a brilliant line to charge through the Soaks defence before offloading for Ryan Burge to score.

Walter Koteka converted to bring the margin back to eight points, 15-7.

Koteka further steadied the ship for Wests nailing a simple penalty after Associates were penalised for incorrect entry, pulling the margin back to five points at half time, 15-10.

Sustained pressure from Wests Scarborough to begin the second half wore down the Associates defence with forwards Nick McLennan, Matt O’Brien and Eru Smith-Wano getting the Boars moving forward.

Wests eventually made the most of the territory and possession with outside centre Joshua Tinomana barrelling over the line from close range to level the scores.

Koteka could not convert leaving the scores locked at 15-15.

With its back-to-back title chances hanging in the balance, Wests again camped inside Soaks’ 22 before DJ Ferris burst through a gap and kept his feet in a tackle to offload to the Premier Grade’s Most Improved Player Jordan Luke who finished in the corner with style.

In a huge moment in the match, the Boars pack won a scrum against the feed just 10m from the line and after numerous pick-and-drives bulldozing prop Nick McLennan bullied his way over the line.

Associates looked to wrestle back the momentum and worked its way into Wests 22 but a massive hit from Louie David followed by a forced penalty from Sama Malolo got Wests out of danger.

Soaks continued to push in the closing stages but it was never going to be enough as Wests controlled the closing stages to claim back-to-back Premier Grade premierships sparking wild celebrations at Tompkins Park.

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