Collingwood take out the Division 2 title after scores locked up 3-3 at the end of extra time
By Les Edwards [Tasman Rugby Union]
A very large crowd of more than 600 people gathered at Collingwood Recreation Park and witnessed an epic Car Company Nelson Bays Division 2 Final between Collingwood and Stoke.
Gold and black jerseys dominated the sidelines however there was a very supportive group of red jerseys giving their all for the Stoke cause. Collectively they watched 100 minutes of rugby as scores were locked up 3-all at half and full-time, with the same score on the board after 20 minutes of extra time.
At that stage, under the competition rules minor premiers Collingwood, having won their match in the preceding round robin play, were determined the winners of the John Goodman Division 2 Trophy.
The only scoring occurred in the first half with Ryan McKay for Collingwood and Stoke’s Jacob Curtis exchanging penalties midway through.
That’s not to say it was a dour affair, in fact it was the opposite. Both teams were willing to have a crack either up the middle or out wide, probing for an opening. The forward battle was outstanding, both packs getting stuck in and playing as tight units. When breaks were made out wide, the defence of the backs was outstanding.
The match was played in sunny conditions, a stark difference to conditions the previous weekend.
Collingwood’s Daniel Dixon was a colossus, doing everything for his team, winning and stealing lineouts, making runs and cover tackles. Remember his name as next season he will play Division 1 for Kahurangi and enter the Crusaders Academy in Nelson. Also, for Collingwood centre Dave Miller was awesome in the mid-field while openside flanker William Curnow and first-five McKay had very good games in a great team effort.
Likewise in a top team effort by Stoke, inside centre Nathan Dempster, openside flanker Ryan Green and hooker Kody Coleman stood out. First-five Will Jacka directed play well the Stoke, creating a couple of clear chances that weren’t finished off.
Hosting the match was a big occasion for the Collingwood club and community, and the large crowd would have injected much required funds from the gate, food and bar. President Mark Strange and his willing and long serving committee and the team did an amazing job getting the field ready for play after last week’s rains and the flooding of the park.
As Mark and Stoke President Patrick Power both commented after the game, Division 2 rugby has a real and important place in the game, especially in rural communities, and “Rugby was the Winner!”.
Collingwood skipper Steve Strange with the John Goodman Trophy