FLASHBACK FRIDAY: HALSWELL SNATCH EPIC ’95 GRAND FINAL
As CRL premiers Linwood prepares to take on Halswell in a Massetti Cup blockbuster at Ngā Puna Wai tomorrow, Flashback Friday is celebrating a truly epic grand final between the clubs – when a shorthanded Hornets side staged an extraordinary comeback to snatch a last-minute 20-19 triumph over the Keas in the 1995 decider.
Linwood built an imposing 15-0 lead through tries to Maurice Emslie and Tony Sweetman, along with three goals and field goal to five-eighth Richard Horlor. Halswell’s dicey prospects of a fight-back had been dealt a savage blow when captain Glenn Grut was sent off for a high tackle, before winger Kelly Wood was despatched to the sin-bin.
Coach Phil Prescott injected Walter Wilson at fullback – and the switch paid immediate dividends. The club great put the 11-man Hornets on the board by setting up and finishing off their first try. That belated strike rattled the Keas, with hooker Andrew Brown earning a stint in the sin-bin before Paul Ogle crossed for Halswell to cut the deficit to just five points.
Horlor pushed the scoreline back out to 19-10 with a try, but Linwood missed a couple of subsequent opportunities and Justin Wallace dotted down to bring Halswell back to within three points and set up a grandstand finish.
Canterbury Country Cardinals Lion Red Cup star Glenn Coughlan clinched an incredible victory when he sliced through with two minutes remaining, grabbing a 20-19 result and Halswell’s first title since 1988.
Future Canterbury Bulls and premiership-winning Halswell coach Darrell Coad came off the bench for the Hornets, while the Linwood side included the late Teni Tuli. Coughlan later took out the ’95 Canterbury Player of the Year award.
Teenaged Papanui centre Kori Norton won the AG Bailey Cup as the competition’s top try-scorer, crossing 11 times in the 14 rounds, while Hornby hooker Neil Kerepa was the top point-scorer with 104.
1995 CRL GRAND FINAL
Halswell 20 (Walter Wilson, Paul Ogle, Justin Wallace, Glenn Coughlan tries; Coughlan 2 goals) defeated Linwood 19 (Maurice Emslie, Tony Sweetman, Richard Horlor tries; Horlor 3 goals; Horlor field goal). Referee: Tom Lightfoot.
Halswell: Paul Ogle, Kelly Wood, Sonny Sue, Justin Wallace, Dave Tranter, Glenn Coughlan, Wiremu Sadlier, Foliga Faatali, Brian Reeves, Darren Wood, Glenn Grut (c), Craig McLintock, Shane Butler. Reserves: Darrell Coad, Walter Wilson, Dick Freeman, Leon Thompson. Coach: Phil Prescott.
Linwood: Robert Ruri, Bruce Ashby, Thomas Crowe, Johnny Soli, Robert Tau, Richard Horlor, Maurice Emslie, Sinbad Timotea, Andrew Brown, Charlie Schooner, Teni Tuli, Troy Sweetman, Mark Woodward. Reserves: Sean MacDonald, Paul Bergman, Dennis Taylor, Henry Aileone.
Sources: Lion Red Annual 1995 (compiled by Bernie Wood)
Hard Yards – Rugby League in Canterbury 1912-2012 (by John Coffey)
Main image: Halswell captain Glenn Grut – already showered and dressed after being sent off – holds up the Pat Smith Challenge Trophy after his shorthanded side went on to win the 1995 grand final without him. Shaun Thomas raises his arms in triumph.