The Turf Hotel Tasman Mako 7’s squad had a superb Bayleys National Sevens over the weekend in Rotorua.
The team progressed smoothly through the pool stages with impressive victories against Northland and Southland. The highlight of day one was an shredding of the more fancied Wellington team. The Mako dominated all facets of the game and controlled the match with a superb game plan.
On day 2 the Mako progressed through a hard fought elimination quarter final against Manawatu and then defeated a high quality Taranaki team in the semi final with the last play of the day. James Lash scored after the bell after the team travelled 90 metres to score a well-deserved victory. Taranaki again came unstuck against a Mako side in a semi-final.
In the National 7’s Final, Tasman were defeated 21-17 in a tough and close match which both sides played with a positive spirit.
Tasman opened the scoring in the first minute, with a try to one of the players of the tournament, co-captain James Lash. Waikato hit back with tries to Sevu Reece, who showed blistering speed as he raced through a gap on halfway, and Tyler Campbell to lead 14-5 at halftime.
Tasman mounted a comeback in the second half with a try to Glen Ballam in the right-hand corner, to reduce the deficit to 14-12. Waikato extended their lead once again, however, after a brilliant break down the right-hand side by Jordan Bunce, who put Sayarvat Srisawat over with a pass inside to make it 21-12. A Tasman try in the dying minutes to Tone Ng Shiu was not enough as Waikato held on for the win.
A highlight throughout the two days was the way in which Tasman played as a team, controlling possession of the ball for long periods of play and scoring some great tries, which often involved multiple touches from all seven players. In defence the players had a never give up attitude. Much credit to the coaching of Sam Gibbens who has done an outstanding job with this group of players since early September.
James Lash lead the team superbly and, alongside Jesse Pitman, created plenty of opportunities in attack using both speed, footwork and excellent passing. In the forwards Te Puoho Stephens and Tone Ng Shiu worked tirelessly on defence and were always a threat with ball in hand, often drawing two or three defenders.
Men's Cup Final: Waikato 21 (Sevu Reece, Tyler Campbell, Saynarvat Srisawat tries; Jordan Bunce 2, Isaac Te Tamati con) Tasman 17 (James Lash, Glen Ballam, Tone Ng Shiu tries; Lash con). HT: 14-5.