RAMS SNARE DIV ONE TITLE WITH SECOND-HALF COMEBACK
Woolston Rams claimed a stunning Division One grand final victory over Marist Saints, staging a remarkable comeback to win the first-ever senior decider at Ngā Puna Wai.
The Saints led by 16 points at halftime but were unable withstand a stirring Rams revival in an absorbing second stanza.
Woolston – beaten grand finalists in 2018 – scored first through Jamie Mather. But Marist lock Jesse Wihongi took the match by the scruff of the neck, scoring two tries and kicking five-from-five as the minor premiers surged to a 26-10 advantage at the break.
The Rams rallied with four unanswered tries, with Mather completing a hat-trick, to hit the front 32-26.
The Saints posted the last try of grand final as extra-time loomed, but the conversion was waved away to hand the title to the Rams.
The result capped a memorable finals campaign for the Rams, who scraped into fourth spot before going on a sudden-death rampage. Meanwhile, it was heartbreak for the Saints, who had finished a mile in front of the Division One field with 13 regular-season wins.
2019 CRL DIVISION ONE GRAND FINAL
Woolston Rams 32 (Jamie Mather 3, Jarrod Pomare, Ian Fergusson, Matthew Clough, Sheldon Innes tries; Jackson Tainui 2 goals) Marist Saints 30 (Jesse Wihongi 2, David Tomkinson 2, Vincent Tainui tries; Wihongi 5 goals) at Ngā Puna Wai
Photo Credit: CMG Sports