It was a third-time lucky fairy-tale ending for Kelston Boys’ High School who were crowned National Secondary Schools title winners today at Pulman Park. The boys in red finally put the heartache of 2016 and 2017’s finals losses behind them, sealing a sweet 16-14 victory over St. Paul’s College.
Kelston Boys’ High School captain, Kadiyae Ioka was named MVP of the Permiership final and was pleased his team could get the win to round-off his final year at the tournament as a year 13 student.
“For two years now we’ve come up against Southern Cross Campus in the final and been runners-up. This year we can finally take the shield home,”
“It’s been one of the best weeks of my life. Our team have really bonded and this tournament is always an amazing experience but this one has to be the best yet,” he said.
However, Ioka was the first to admit the match was no easy win.
After several minutes of back and forth, St Paul’s College put first points on the board, a reward for their composure and power up front in the first 10 minutes of the game. Their promising start was matched by Kelston when half Konrad Tu’a dummied to take a try for himself, which unlike St Paul’s first try, was converted successfully.
Kelston drew strength from their two-point lead which was bad news for their opposition whose energy tanks were depleting by the minute. The score remained unchanged, Kelston going into the halftime break up 6-4.
The second half seemed to deal blow after blow to St Paul’s as their metres gained were more often than not, doubled back by the skillful maneuvers of Kelston’s halves and wingers.
St Paul’s looked set for a change in momentum only three tackles into their set when Kelston’s left winger, Raymon Tuaimalo Vaega intercepted the ball running 50 metres to touch down near the posts.
A heavy percentage of possession had Kelston get across the line minutes later too, the scoreboard reading 16-4 after a successful conversion.
But, St Paul’s weren’t down and out yet. The footwork of Sione Moala punched a hole in the Kelston defence to send his teammate Jonah Polota-Kopa over the chalk. Moala then converted taking the score to 16-6.
Minutes away from the final whistle, the Polota-Kopa try proved to be the spark they needed. Powerhouse Antonio Aufai bulldozed through the Kelston defence to send his supporters into hysterics, all they needed now was a successful conversion to take Kelston to golden point.
The unthinkable happened though – the ball bounced off the post with a sigh of relief heard from the Kelston camp. At 16-14 on the final whistle, Kelston were finally victorious.
A new winner also rose to the top in the Development Grade final with Howick College defeating Onehunga High School in their final, 16-10.
Premiership Final MVP: Kadiyae Ioka
Development Final MVP: Dray Roberts
1st/2nd Kelston Boys’ High School 16 St Paul’s College 14
3rd/4th Rotorua Boys’ High School 4 Mt Albert Grammar School 26
5th/6th Wesley College 20 Manurewa High School 18
7th/8th Manukura School 16 St Thomas of Canterbury 20
9th/10th Southern Cross Campus 28 Westlake Boys’ High School 20
11th/12th Otahuhu College 24 Tokoroa High School 22
13th/14th Whangarei Boys’ High School 16 James Cook High School 30
15th/16th Howick College 16 Onehunga High School 10
17th/18th Whangaparaoa College 20 Papakura High School 26
19th/20th Manawatu College 24 Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 26
21st/22nd Naenae College 44 Haeata Community Campus 21