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As the premier men’s competition moves towards the end of the season, opportunities for University B to get off the mark are running out. It would have been targeting this match as a chance for its breakthrough.
However, Taieri was highly motivated to win itself and finish off its season strongly, given this match was the 100th for the team for Andrew Mitchell and Matt West.
Ward was returning from the New Zealand under-21 training camp and he was on the scorecard early with two first-half drag flicks into the back of the net. Newcomer Jack Pryde was able to add a third with a well finished reverse, while veteran Mitchell marked the milestone with one of his own as he snuck up from fullback.
A 4-0 score was probably a fair reflection of the game at halftime, although Taieri would not have been happy with having given away a few chances, and the Panthers would have been disappointed not to take those chances.
The second half was a largely scrappy affair. Taieri was on attack for much of the period but was unable to really push the scoreline up. Pryde added a second in what would have been a memorable first premier match, while a spectacular third for Ward right on fulltime completed his hat-trick and made the final score 6-0.
In the other match, title hopeful Kings United continued its strong second half of the season, beating University Blue Whales 2-1 to on to the challenge shield. Albany Alligators had the bye.
- Matthew West