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Herculean Mid Canterbury clinch Lochore Cup

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Sunday, October 29, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Neither Mid Canterbury nor West Coast had won a Lochore Cup title before, and it looked like Mid Canterbury would have to wait even longer to break their duck after a remarkable opening five minutes which saw them go down to 13 players.

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After conceding the first points through a West Coast penalty in the second minute, Mid Canterbury were dealt a massive blow when fullback Maleli Sau was red-carded for a reckless tackle just one minute later. The reckless tackle was deemed to have also prevented a try and West Coast went up 10-0.

Moments after, Mid Canterbury were reduced to 13-men when skipper Jackson Donlan was ruled to illegally knock down a West Coast pass close to the line.

Trailing by 10 points, and with only 13-men on the field, the home side could have easily folded. But instead they kept the ball alive and spread it wide into the hands of their rampaging outside backs as often as possible.



When Donlan returned to the field, the Hammers had remarkably taken a 12-10 lead through tries to centre Tom Hanham-Carter and fullback Christian Vainerere.

But with 14-men on the field, Mid Canterbury had to work hard to stay in front. Led expertly by first five-eighth Jared Percival, the Hammers played with intensity and maintained a strong defensive line to keep West Coast scoreless in the second half.

Openside flanker Seta Koroitamana was tireless throughout the match and was rewarded with a double late in the second half to put the result beyond doubt for the Hammers.

While they have been dangerous out wide throughout the 2017 Heartland Championship campaign, Mid Canterbury’s grit, determination and belief were the cornerstone of their final victory.

Scorers:
Mid Canterbury 47 (Tom Hanham-Carter, Christian Vainerere, Willie McGoon, Seta Koroitamana 2, Dan Fransen tries, Jared Percival 4 con, 3 pen) West Coast 15 (Penalty try, Tom Reekie pen)
HT: 28-15