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Bay of Plenty claim topsy-turvy contest

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Sunday, October 9, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

It was a topsy-turvy game with the lead changing throughout and after Bay of Plenty had scored the winning try with four minutes to go, halfback Ruki Tipuna thought the game was over and kicked the ball out.

But the hooter hadn't sounded before the lineout was signaled and Bay of Plenty had to face some last worrying moments as Manawatu went looking for a try to level the scores, something they went close to doing as first five-eighths Otere Black slipped a kick into the in-goal area where the home team just managed to scramble the ball to avoid conceding the try.

Bay of Plenty demonstrated from the outset that their set-piece was in good shape, initially through the lineout but also in the scrum. They utilized both to create their two tries in the first half.

The first was 12 minutes into the game when from a lineout move in Manawatu's 22m area they moved the ball to halfback Te Aihe Toma who threw a pre-arranged no-look pass to blindside wing Monty Ioane coming into the line. A maul developed and lock Culum Retallick drove ahead, threw and dummy and then off-loaded perfectly for prop Aidan Ross to trundle over for the try.

But Retallick undid his good work when he attempted to stop a rolling lineout maul just out from the Bay of Plenty line. He took the maul down conceding a penalty try to Manawatu in the process while also earning himself 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

Manawatu made the most of it when five minutes later after another penalty conceded close to the Bay of Plenty line, centre Jason Emery took a tap and opened up the defences to take Manawatu out to a 14-7 lead.

However, when restored to full numbers Bay of Plenty used their forward power to get back on attack and pressure Manawatu. It looked like Ross may have scored a second try when blasting ahead from a maul. But the TMO ruled otherwise.

The play was under penalty advantage so Bay of Plenty opted for a five-metre scrum and pushed Manawatu back to allow No.8 Jesse Parete to drop on the ball over the line to level the scores.

After the break some consistent Manawatu driving at the line finally created a chance for halfback Jamie Booth to get over the goal-line three minutes after the start.

But Bay of Plenty were again able to get into the Manawatu 22m area and from another pushover scrum attempt it seemed Parete might have muffed a chance, although halfback Toma was quick enough of wit to pick up the ball and score. The TMO was consulted and said a Manawatu had knocked the ball from Parete's grasp and the try stood.

Flanker Henry Stowers took the attack to Manawatu with a strong run from a lineout and the pick and goes mounted before it was Stowers who took the ball at halfback and drove low to get the try.

Similarly, it was Manawatu fullback Curtis Ambrose who fielded a Bay of Plenty kick deep in his own half, ran forward and through a huge Sevens-like pass to Ngani Laumape on the right sideline. He threw off a high tackle by flanker Shahn Eru and raced down the sideline and threw an in-pass where Ambrose had followed up and was rewarded for his efforts with the try.

However, Manawatu immediately conceded all they had gained when fouling the re-start and wing Regan Ware took the ball ahead where the mauls developed once again and Bay of Plenty worked the ball nicely before Eru found a way over to regain the lead for his side.

A superb break into the Bay of Plenty 22m area by first five-eighths Otere Black gave Manawatu impetus and with Laumape featuring in two strong runs they set up a final chance to level the scores when skipper and No.8 Hamish Bedwell-Curtis scored. But Black was unable to convert from wide out and the game ended with Hollinshead landing a penalty goal in the last minute.

Scorers: Bay of Plenty 38 (Aidan Ross, Jesse Parete, Te Aihe Toma, Henry Stowers, Shahn Eru tries; Dan Hollinshead 5 con, pen ) Manawatu 33 (Penalty try, Jason Emery, Jamie Booth, Ambrose Curtis, Hamish Bedwell-Curtis tries; Otere Black 4 con). HT: 14-14