Sharks almost win, Eels slightly better
Hayden Parker will never have to pay for another beer at the Taieri Rugby Club after he kicked the Eels to a show-stopping victory in the Premier club rugby final last Saturday. Parker’s 47-metre penalty with time up on the Forsyth Barr Stadium clock capped off a 24-22 comeback victory, sealing his title as King of the Mosgieloids. Mosgiel is essentially a truck stop with a population of 10,000, and it seemed like all of them were packed into the north stand of the stadium to cheer, beer, and swear their team to victory. If you had asked your average Mosgieloid what was on his Christmas list this year, a second Speight’s Championship Shield in a row would have come just after “ammo” and “another front tooth”. This win meant a lot to the simple folk from over the hill.
The first half was all Dunedin, as they leapt to a 19-8 half-time lead thanks mainly to the long-range boot of Liam Edwards. Miniature halfback Brad Weber finished off a line-break by Number 8 Gareth Evans on the halfway line to extend the lead. Taieri could have been further down had their forwards not scored from a lineout drive after turning down a shot for goal right before the break.
Spurred on by some quality homophobic chanting, the Eels come roaring back into the game right after half time. A converted try in the right-hand corner to winger Kieran Moffat and two penalties to Parker bought them within one point of the Sharks with 10 minutes to play. At this point the “Dunedin faggots” tried to shut the game down through their consistently excellent forward pack. Evans and hooker Sam Anderson-Heather were the best players on the park throughout the game. Anderson-Heather had a mighty game on defence, putting in a number of massive hits.
With the seconds ticking away, Dunedin were maintaining possession easily deep inside Taieri territory. Unfortunately for them, some aimless kicking and a few interesting refereeing decisions gave Taieri the ball and Parker the chance to get into kicking range. He obliged, slotting the clutch three for the win.
After the game, Taieri try-scorer Kieran Moffat was predictably upbeat. “Yeah, I’m unbelievably stoked. I thought the game was gone but Quazz[imodo, aka Parker] nailed it, real euphoria. The changing room was mental afterwards, beer and bubbly hitting the roof, to win in such extreme circumstances almost added to the hysteria.”