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Steamers storm to victory in the ‘Battle of the Bays’

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Friday, August 25, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Hawkes Bay were ravaged by injury but no excuses can be made against a Bay of Plenty side that was stronger across the park and led impeccably by classy first five-eighth Mike Delany.

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After giving up a big lead to lose to Northland last week, Bay of Plenty were a much more focussed team this week and started with a strong forward effort before the backline showcased their skills in the second half for the big win.

The Steamers kept the ball in tight in the opening stages and were rewarded for their intensity when Magpies prop Pouri Rakete-Stokes was yellow carded for repeated infringements. It didn’t take the Steamers long to take advantage when 127kg prop Siegfried Fisi’ihoi barged over from close range for the first score of the game. That was to be the only damage done while Rakete-Stokes sat on the naughty chair though as the Magpies defence rallied.

But there was nothing the Hawkes Bay defence could do to handle a moment of brilliance from exciting wing Murphy Ioane. The livewire wing leapt high to claim an up and under before dancing his way through a number of Magpies defenders on a forty metre run up field. With the Magpies defence in tatters, the ball was quickly spread to centre Lalakai Foketi who crashed over on the opposing side of the field.



Veteran pivot Mike Delany continued to lead the Steamers expertly around the park and showed his class from the kicking tee with a brace of long-range penalties to make it 20-3 at the break.

Hawkes Bay showed glimpse of form when they kept the ball in hand but were denied two tries to hooker Ash Dixon on either side of the break. But loose forward Marino Mikaele Tu’u wasn’t to be denied when he crashed over from a five metre scrum to make it 20-10.

But it was to be Bay of Plenty’s night. As the second half wore on, the Steamers took control while Hawkes Bay played catch up footy. The Magpies managed one well worked try to Ihaia West but doubles to Joe Webber and replacement loose forward Jesse Parete secured the impressive bonus point win.

For Bay of Plenty, Tom Franklin and James O’Reilly were impressive in the pack, while Mike Delany was exceptional at first five-eigth and Joe Webber always dangerous out wide. 

The win also made Bay of Plenty the inaugural winners of the McRae-Shelford Trophy – a trophy to acknowledge legends of both unions. 

SCORERS:

Bay of Plenty 46 (Siegfried Fisi’hoi, Jesse Paraete 2, Joe Webber 2, Lalakai Foketi tries, Mike Delany 4 con, 2 pen, Luke Campbell con) Hawkes Bay 17 (Marino Mikaele Tu’u try, Ihaia West try pen, con)
HT: 20-3