Harbour must share first title

Harbour finally gets to engrave its name on the shield.

And after 26 years of trying to win the premier banner, that felt pretty good.

But there is just one niggly complication. The Hawks have to share their first title with University.

The teams battled to a 30-30 draw in an epic final at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The score was locked 30-30 at fulltime and remained that way after an extra 10 minutes each way.

The next tiebreaker was the most tries scored in the game and once again the teams could not be separated, with four apiece.

Harbour’s Chris Schaaf (right) and University’s Calvin Vari embrace after Saturday’s drawn...
Harbour’s Chris Schaaf (right) and University’s Calvin Vari embrace after Saturday’s drawn premier club rugby final at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Photo: Gerard O'Brien

The final whistle was not met with the usual joy or despair. Everyone seemed a little confused where the shield might end up.

But it will be shared and Harbour Rugby Club president Lance Spence was looking forward to getting it back to Watson Park to show it off to the faithful.

"It means a lot," he said.

"We’ve been trying to the win a banner for 25-26 years now and there is a lot of good people who have done a lot of work.

"We’ve come so close so often. A draw is not exactly what we wanted but we’ll take it."

His son Aidan scored two tries in the game, so it was a good day for the Spence family.

The title may have come just in time for Harbour, as well. The club is in merger talks with Zingari-Richmond and Alhambra-Union, so it was potentially the team’s last chance.

The title has been shared before. University and Taieri split it in 1955, and Southern and University went halves in 1984 and 1985.

The finals formats was introduced in 1986 to help avoid shared titles.

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