Grey Lynn Park, Marist Richmond and North Harbour and game absolutely on. The Tigers, top of the table, the Brothers at number six.
Early in, Brothers full-back, Tangi Ropati grabs an 80 metre run away try down the blind side from a scrum. Eight minutes later Brother's centre, Misi Taulapapa, barged and danced down the same side and dotted down. Captain, Jason Tavita, slotted the conversion and the home side were in front, 10/0. Five minutes later, Marist Richmond were awarded a penalty right in front of the sticks. Tavita obliged again and they led 12/0.
The Tigers were looking a little shell shocked but managed to regain their composure. Chris Tupou, off the bench, posted first points for the Harbour side. Jared Trott kicked the extra two. Some 10 minutes later, Harbour centre, Ricky Henry, scored and we went to the break 12/10 to the Brothers.
Gee, this game was anyone's for the taking. The Marist Richmond side were playing fairly structured football. The Tigers had lost some composure in the half and discipline, or lack thereof, was causing a high penalty count against them. The game was too hard to pick at this stage.
Second half and Tigers winger, Tui Samoa, scored after a scrambling effort that involved other Tigers winger, Harry Kapi, 14/12 to North Harbour. Tarl Cook, off the bench for the Tigers, heads off to the bin for high shot. The Brothers take advantage and stand-off, Matthew Kennedy scores a good try, Tavita takes the two and the home side are back in front, 18/14. Former Marist Richmond Brother, Ricky Henry, scores his second for the Tigers - 18/18 with ten minutes to go.
A couple of sets from both teams go begging and time is nearly up. Twenty out from the Harbour line and ungainly looking stand-off, Matthew Kennedy, chips the ball through. Tangi Ropati, coming through at a 100 miles an hour, picks it up and scores for the home side. The large crowd is ecstatic and the Brothers have taken the game 24/18.
A fabulous game of football and when I see games like that, my faith in Bartercard Cup is restored. To be fair to the Tigers, they did have a couple of key players out with injury, but Marist Richmond had a real hunger to win that one.