Back to back waikato Champs!
Hamilton Marist has made it back to back Waikato Breweries Shield titles with a 40-23 win over Hamilton Old Boys in the 2014 Premier A final.
Marist recovered from a slow start and then repelled a late onslaught from Old Boys to in the end take a comfortable six tries to two win at Marist Park.
After an even first 10 minutes with the two teams feeling each other out it was Marist who opened the scoring.
Blindside flanker Zane Kapeli dived over from a ruck close to the line after his initial break a couple of phases earlier had started the attacking movement.
Old Boys worked their way back into the game with three well struck penalties from young first five Bryn Gatland in the space of 10 minutes which gave the visitors a 9-5 lead with quarter of an hour left in the first half.
Just as it looked like Old Boys would take their slim advantage into the break, Marist finally breached the Old Boys defence after a long period of attacking pressure with right wing Leigh Bristowe crossing the line.
Then, deep into injury time, Marist made it a massive double blow when a long range breakout resulted in fullback Jono Malo scoring the green and whites’ third try.
First five Wharenui Hawera converted the two tries to all of a sudden give Marist a 10 point lead at halftime.
Old Boys showed their desperation early in the second half and made several unforced errors as they tried to make inroads into the Marist defence.
Marist captain Josh Tyrell, who led from the front all game, almost scored Marist’s fourth but was bundled into touch right on the line.
However the pressure eventually told and Marist were in again in the 52nd minute when Kapeli dove over for his second try after a long cut out pass from Hawera. A strong run earlier from Bristowe had created the opportunity.
Just five minutes later Marist got their fifth when replacement loose forward Bart Karalus made a break and his inside pass found his brother, Number 8 Luke Karalus, who scored handy to the posts.
Hawera was again on target with the two conversions and with 20 minutes to play Marist’s lead had blown out to 33-9.
Old Boys finally got their hands on the ball a bit more and straight away looked threatening, scoring two tries in the final quarter as they threw caution to the wind.
Centre Regan Ware’s wide pass found wing Kane Adams for the first try, before hooker Tyrone Te Ruruku dotted down after a long period on attack.
Gatland nailed both conversions to bring the deficit back to just 10 points but with just five minutes remaining.
Marist managed to secure themselves good field position and were able to keep Old Boys pinned in their own half for the final few minutes.
The result was sealed just moments before fulltime when Marist's replacement hooker Steven Misa powered his way over from a pick and go close to the line.
Hamilton Marist 40 (Zane Kapeli 2, Leigh Bristowe, Jono Malo, Luke Karalus, Steven Misa tries; Wharenui Hawera 5 cons) Hamilton Old Boys 23 (Kane Adams, Tyrone Te Ruruku tries; Bryn Gatland 2 cons, 3 pens). HT: 19-9.