BOP bow to Barrett's record-breaking boot

Getty Images

Tuesday, August 9, 2011    Getty Images

Barrett, the New Zealand under-20 star, knocked over nine penalties but his side only just held out a remarkable comeback from the visitors, who came close to snatching an astonishing victory.

Barrett's record beat the old mark set by Tasman's Tom Marshall, ironically against Bay of Plenty in Blenheim last year. He also equalled Andrew Mehrtens' New Zealand first-class record, set in a Tri-Nations match against Australia in 1999.

The win helped Taranaki into second place, although with two late tries, Bay of Plenty still came away with two bonus points to maintain their lead in the competition.

Taranaki have made a habit of starting slowly this season and after Barrett and his opposite Chris Noakes had traded early penalties, their misery continued.

Bay of Plenty counter-attacked from a clearing kick after 24mins with virtually the whole team touching through three sweeping phases. Wing Lelia Masaga continued his try-scoring penchant, barging over in the corner.

Incredibly, from the subsequent kick off, he was in again. Jamie Nutbrown's towering kick bounced out of Jackson Ormond's hands and the Steamers flyer pounced, galloping 45m before sliding into the same corner.

Noakes sent his second conversion straight through the posts from the touchline and all of a sudden, the visitors were 20-6 ahead.

This wasn't the signal for Taranaki to lie down, however. They eventually found their rhythm, putting pressure on the Steamers, who responded by conceding a string of penalties.

Barrett knocked over five before referee Glen Jackson lost his patience, sinbinning Bay of Plenty flanker Sam Cane close to his line, although replays suggest he wasn't the guilty party.

Down to 14 men, the visitors tried valiantly to hold their advantage and succeeded until the final act of the first half.

With time up, Taranaki halfback Tyson Keats spotted a gap on the blind side 60m out and fed Scott Waldrom, who burst upfield and fired an audacious, no-look flick pass to No 8 Samuela Vunisa to score out wide.

Barrett missed his first kick of the night but minutes into the second half, ITM Cup top tryscorer Jayden Hayward split the visitors open with two incisive runs in an 80m movement paving the way for a try by fullback Kurt Baker.

Barrett converted from the sideline to make in 27-20 and Taranaki's numerical advantage again came into play from the kickoff, where another long-range break saw Waldrom held up over the line, with Barrett kicking a subsequent penalty and adding another to make it 33-20 after 52mins.

Noakes was replaced by Dan Waenga, who stroked over a penalty three-quarters of the way through the match, but Barrett added two more penalties to claim the record.

Bay of Plenty weren't completely finished, with replacement wing Lance MacDonald scooting over, then Cane made amends with a try in the 78th minute, which guaranteed the four-try bonus point and another for finishing within seven points.

Waldrom was sinbinned for a professional foul and a desperately exhausted Taranaki only just held off a final Bay of Plenty attack.

Taranaki are now in second on 19 points, three behind Bay of Plenty who moved to 22.

Taranaki 39 (S.Vunisa, K.Baker tries; B.Barrett con, 9 pens) beat Bay of Plenty 33 (L.Masaga 2, L.MacDonald, S.Cane tries; C.Noakes 2 pen, con, D.Waenga pen)