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North Canterbury Final - Glenmark Champions
Glenmark’s 23-19 win against Oxford in the final of the Luisetti Seeds North Canterbury Division 1 competition, on Saturday 10th August, was a performance founded on defence and a never-say-die their coach Jody Horrell says.
Glenmark were behind for most of the match but a blistering last 20 minutes and a courageous decision to go for a try and not kick for goal in the last few minutes was the difference as they reclaimed the sub-union title.
Oxford, playing in front of their home fans, led 13-11 at half-time and had the better of the first half. Horrell says his side was not panicking at this stage of the game.
“We were in with a sniff despite the fact that Oxford had played most of the rugby in the first half. We felt we were in with a good chance in the second half if we could cut down the number of errors that we were making.”
Oxford had the better of the third quarter as well: dominating for long stretches and putting Glenmark under further pressure. Still when Glenmark scored with ten minutes remaining they were only 19-16 behind.
With only a few minutes remaining Glenmark captain Scott Black made a decision that defined his side’s season. Choosing to seek a try rather than a score-equaling penalty twenty meters out, Glenmark attacked.
“It was the right decision,” Horrell says. “I thought so at the time. I was delighted that we backed ourselves.”
Glenmark won the lineout and then drove forward. “It was our best driving maul of the season,” Horrell laughs, “and it certainly came at the right time.” Glenmark drove forward and it was outstanding hooker James Frame who crossed to score what was the championship-winning try.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Horrell says. “To be fair, Oxford had played the majority of the rugby but we hung in there and showed an enormous amount of heart.”
Outstanding for Glenmark was hooker Frame, captain Black and George Masefield who was deservedly named Waimak Real Estate Player of the Day.
Glenmark celebrated long in to the night on Saturday: their performances against Ashley in the semi-finals (which they won 10-8) and in the final against Oxford showed real character. They were deserving champions.
Glenmark’s dramatic win made up for their loss to Oxford in the Division 1 final of the North Canterbury competition last season. They had won the title the year before when they had beaten the same club in the final.
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