Rugby: Drought broken for Spotswood United

Sunday, Jun 02 2024

Rugby: Drought broken for Spotswood United

Will Johnston

Photo by PIXL.

Spotswood United has broken a two-season long losing streak in the latest round of the CMK premier club rugby competition.

The side’s 38-19 win over Inglewood at TET Stadium is the club’s first since July 2022 where they beat Southern 38-31 at Yarrow Stadium.

A win was beckoning for Spotswood United this season as previous results showed glimpses of improvement. But the coaching staff were looking for an 80-minute performance after losing matches in the last 20 minutes. That was nearly achieved last weekend against defending champions New Plymouth Old Boys.

But it all came together on Saturday as an elated head coach Toka Walden called it a “great result for the club.”

“It’s good to get the monkey off our backs,” he said. “We’ve all been working hard to turn the club around. The culture is building, and the players are responding positively.”

Walden singled out the work in the forwards for the win in Inglewood. He credited returning number eight Arese Poliko, who scored two tries, and lock Dylan Schuler. They led the way, he said.  

One-cap Taranaki rep Ethan Reti’s form was also a standout as he showed maturity around the field and slotted four conversions.  

“Ethan had another blinder, leading the boys around the paddock. Nick Arnold and Jacob Ince complemented the leadership that Ethan showed.”

Before the match began, there was a moment silence for Taranaki and Inglewood prop Ross Elmes, who died earlier in the day. Elmes played 104 games for Taranaki and claimed club champions for Inglewood in 1978-79, 1981, 1983 and 1985-1989.

Spotswood United dominated from the kick-off, scoring two early tries, with Poliko and AJ Lemalu crossing over. Inglewood fought back with two converted tries by Cody Macks and Neilson before halftime to trail 17-14.

In the second half, Spotswood United maintained their momentum, securing tries from Schuler, Poliko, Jacon Ince and Meli Sifa, as they played with confidence and ran the ball freely. Inglewood managed just one try.

Walden said the win sets the team up for the rest of the season.

“Irrespective that we make the semis or not, we are after as many wins that we can get.”

Stratford-Eltham maintain their lead at the top of the table beating New Plymouth Old Boys 39-35 at Vogeltown Park. The win reversed the first-round result.

Old Boys have suffered a large number of injuries in the last few weeks but did lead 20-15 at halftime.

Old Boys drop to fourth after Tukapa beat Coastal 27-26 at the Rahotu Domain.

Coastal led 12-5 at the break and looked to have the momentum in the match before Tukapa scored some stunning second half tries.

Coastal bounced back with two late tries to narrow the margin.

Clifton snuck through Southern 28-20 at Hicks Park in Hawera in the remaining match.

There was only the one match played in the women’s competition. Clifton beat Inglewood 86-10 and Coastal-Okaiawa defaulted against Southern.

Premiership points: Stratford-Eltham 25, Tukapa 20, Coastal 19, NPOB 18, Clifton 13, Southern 10, Inglewood 8, Spotswood United 6.