Saturday, 26 September 2020


All fairy tales must come to an end

“All fairy tales must come to an end.” Those were the words of Simon Mills, coach of the Mercury Bay Area School First XV rugby team after the boys’ defeat at the hands of Paeroa College in the Coulter Cup semi-final on Saturday last week.

The combined MBAS/Coromandel Area School/Te Wharekura o Manaia team’s season was challenging. The COVID-19 alert levels created a myriad of obstacles, but more of greater concern was the fact that 20 senior members of the team completed their school careers last year and this season was a struggle for numbers. “More often than not, we’ve had only 17 players on a Saturday,” says Simon. “An for most of them, it was their first season playing First XV rugby.”

The boys showed a lot of heart, however, and managed to pull off a few outstanding wins to reach the semi-final. “It really was an unexpected fairy tale run,” Says Simon. “And don’t make a mistake, Paeroa didn’t walk over us on Saturday. They fielded some very large and powerful runners, whom we struggled to contain in the first half, but going into the second half 7 - 19 down, our boys really started to focus. We scored two more tries to claw the score back to 17 - 19. In the last 15 minutes, our boys threw everything at Paeroa, but just couldn’t score and unfortunately let Paeroa through for a final try with only minutes to spare. The final score was 17 – 24. Overall our small and young team put up a brave effort, we all are very proud of them.”

The team will be facing Whangamata, whom they beat in the quarter-final, this weekend for the Alan Fisher Cup in the third and fourth place playoff game. “Whangamata is hurting because of their loss against us and will be coming at us with everything they have,” says Simon.

In next week’s Informer, we’ll be publishing a contribution by Daniel Cunningham, one of the MBAS First XV team members, on their season - low numbers and initially, before Simon put his hand up to help them, no coach.

Pictured: William Hau-Mirko, the MBAS captain, charging towards the Paeroa try line on Saturday last week. Ihaka Dent is supporting him.


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