Waihora‘s dream run in 2018 has culminated in them winning the Coleman Shield Ellesmere rugby competition over Darfield 20-10, on Saturday.
The win gave the Magpies both the Combined Country competition trophy and the Coleman Shield – a double they achieved for the first time.
The result also meant Darfield will have to wait another year to try to claim their first Coleman Shield after being beaten in the last two finals.
Waihora matched Southbridge, who did the double last year, previous to that it was Lincoln in 2011.
Darfield, motivated by home ground advantage, tok a 3-0 lead into halftime but would have wanted more.
The Alex Parker penalty was not enough of an advantage for the hosts after they played the first half with the wind at their backs.
Two Harry Kirk penalties seized the lead for Waihora and with the wind now working in their favour, attacking play became easier to construct.
A trick-play line-out move which saw Matt Stone catch the ball and stroll through a gap gave the visitors breathing room on the scoreboard but it was short-lived.
Darfield No 10 Scott Mitchell replied with a try under the posts to close the gap to 13-10 with 20 minutes to play
Stone would play the hero again as he took an intercept from a Darfield lineout near halfway.
The hard-running lock ran as far as he could before handing the ball off to Joe Robbins who scored the decisive try of the final.
It proved to be a great way to acknowledge Richard Mills in his 200th game for Waihora, it was also the best way to send veteran Gareth Pietzner into retirement after 280 games.
Waihora coach Joff Mooar praised his team’s defence in the first half.
“To turn with the wind and only be down three points was great,” he said. “We felt it could have been a 12 to 15-point wind.
“We set some goals before the start of the season and to have achieved every single one is something this team can be proud of,” he said.”
In other Ellesmere rugby finals; Banks Peninsula won the division two final 24-10 over Southbridge-Leeston, Hornby triumphed 48-20 against Burnham Dunsandel-Irwell in the division three decider, Waihora beat Springston 25-13 in the colts final and Prebbleton won the under-18 final 49-8 over Plains United.