Saturday, October 14, 2017
The Bay of Plenty Steamers held on to win the Bayleys battle of the Kaimais in a 36-32 win over Waikato at the Tauranga Domain today.
Queues of fans in opposing colours poured into a packed Tauranga Domain on a beautiful sunny afternoon where more than 5,000 were present to see Bay of Plenty take the win to secure a home semi-final in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship division next weekend.
Mike Delany's boot was the difference, though, as the experienced first five-eighth lead the Steamers threatening back line, cutting Waikato to pieces at times.
The Bay of Plenty Steamers came out firing with Chase Tiatia strolling over the line in the 11th minute to open the scoring.
Waikato's Atu Moli crashed over to make it 5-5 from their first attack; however it was the Bay of Plenty Steamers attack that had the upper hand with Lalakai Foketi and Terrence Hepetema running in two tries to take the team out to a 19-5 lead.
Waikato had the final say of the crossing the line on the halftime hooter to see them close the gap to within 7, with a 19-12 score line to the Steamers.
The second half kicked off with Waikato edging in a try to Pita Ahki's to bring them level with the Steamers in the 44th minute. Ahki then added three more points to take Waikato to the front with a 22-19 lead.
Foketi returned to the field following a yellow card just before the break with a sting and the Bay of Plenty Steamers persistence on attack paid off when Foketi powered over for what was his second try.
The Steamers momentum continued, as Delany added a penalty and Luke Campbell dotted down after a pick and go to give Bay of Plenty a 36-22 lead. However the Mooloo men weren’t going to lay to rest with Laghlan McWhannell and Loni Uhila grabbing two tries leaving the Steamers fans on the edge of their seats until the ball was kicked to touch by Tom Franklin and referee James Doleman blew the final whistle.
Bay of Plenty 36 (Chase Tiatia, Lalakai Foketi 2, Terrence Hepetama, Luke Campbell tries; Mike Delany 4 con, pen) Waikato 32 (Atu Moli, Sevu Reece, Pita Ahki, Laghlan McWhannell, Loni Uhila tries; Ahki, Reece con; Ahki pen). HT: 19-12