Athies snare inaugural Pasifika bowl

File photo
Photo: ODT files
Despite wet weather, North Otago’s Pasifika community packed out Whitestone Contracting Stadium on Saturday.

Athletic Marist and Old Boys combined for a Pasifika day that featured music, food and games.

Both their president’s grade and Citizens Shield teams did battle on the field, with Athies winning both clashes.

Not only did they secure bragging rights over their cross-town rivals and gain valuable points in a tight competition, but Athletic Marist took home the inaugural Pasifika Kings of Rugby Bowl.

In the premier game, Athies came flying out of the gates and ran in three early tries.

Centre Osea Qamasea played a starring role, scoring the first two and setting up the third.

He got the first points on the board as he toed ahead a loose pass and had the pace to beat the scrambling defence to score.

His second showed off his speed again as a long ball from Laisa Bacau gave Qamasea space to work with and he stepped his way through several defenders to score.

Showing off the full array of skills, he used his power to bump off a would-be tackler and drew in the final defender to allow Malakai Tabiau to crash over for their third try.

Hateni Tafolo then knocked over a penalty to extend Athies’ lead to 24-0 heading into halftime.

Needing to start the second half strongly, Old Boys fullback Inoke Fisilau knocked over a penalty before they finally crossed the white line.

Fisilau took off down the wing on the counter-attack off an Athies kick.

Running out of room, he stabbed a kick inside. Athies appeared to have it covered but a sharp bounce evaded Bacau, and Mavatangi Finau pounced for Old Boys.

Just as it looked as if Old Boys might be mounting a comeback, Athies slammed the door shut with a try against the run of play.

An errant pass hit the deck and Petero Lala kicked it again and had the pass to dot down and secure the 31-10 win.

The result catapults Athies into third place on the ladder with just one round remaining, while Old Boys find themselves in fifth.

The top two sides in the competition, Valley and Excelsior, secured wins over Kurow and Maheno, respectively.

It was not all smooth sailing, however, out in Weston.

Trailing at halftime, the competition front-runners needed a late penalty try, their second of the game, to snatch a 24-22 win.

Blues enjoyed a welcome return to form as their 34-7 victory over Maheno was their first in over a month.