TIGERS EDGE KNIGHTS IN EXTRA-TIME FOR DIVISION ONE TITLE
The 2023 Happy Hire CRL Grand Final Day kicked off with an absolute thriller at Ngā Puna Wai as Papanui Tigers pipped a resurgent Riccarton Knights 32-26 in extra-time of the Division One decider.
The Tigers led 26-0 at halftime with a stiff breeze at their backs, but the Knights produced a phenomenal five-try comeback in the second stanza that levelled the scoreboard in the dying seconds of regulation time.
Papanui hooker Dylan Bates-Condon burrowed over for the match-winner in the first period of extra-time, his second try of the match.
The Tigers – who scored three tries in the opening 20 minutes – were on their heels throughout the second half as Knights game-breakers Nikau Waikato and Te Morehu-Reweti, who bagged a double, led a revival.
A sensational finish in the corner from interchange Apolosi Vosanibola tied up the game in the 79th minute but the windy conditions pushed Kassius Halbert-Pere’s potential match-winning conversion wide.
The Tigers regained their composure in extra-time and calmly closed out the decider after taking the lead back through Bates-Condon.
DIVISION ONE GRAND FINAL: Papanui Tigers 32 (Dylan Bates-Condon 2, Shaquille Christie, Pen Ah Lam, Peter Loto tries; Manaia Aumua 6 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 26 (Te Morehu Reweti 2, Hayden Blackley, Nikau Waikato, Apolosi Vosanibola tries; Kassius Halbert-Pere 3 goals) after extra-time at Ngā Puna Wai