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Hawkins Division 1
Lincoln University meet Shirley this weekend in what can be described as being a battle between two of the most improved sides in the Hawkins Cup this season.
Shirley recorded its first win of the competition last weekend with a 36-24 win over Sumner while Lincoln University was well beaten 35-11 by Burnside although has already shown itself to be no easy-beats this season.
While Shirley’s win last weekend was its first, Lincoln University’s record is perfectly symmetrical with three wins, three losses and two draws in the Hawkins Cup so far.
Competition highlights have included a 21-10 win over old rivals University to claim the Hart-O’Reilly Trophy, a last minute try to snatch an opening game victory against New Brighton and a dramatic draw with Sumner away from home.
The win against University was particularly memorable as Lincoln University had not won this annual fixture for some years and it is now one of the highlights of the club calendar.
Coaches John Haggart and Dave Perrin are at the helm for the students again this season. John says the side is ticking along nicely and that it has made progress since last season.
“The guys are on the whole young and they are learning what they need to do to compete in Division 1,” he says.
Part of the side’s mantra is, as always, development. To that extent each season is more one-off than what it might be for other clubs. That said this year Lincoln University has been fortunate to have had a significant number of players back.
“It has enabled us to build on the platforms that we put in place and that is encouraging,” John says. The return of Geoff Smith and Matt Ryan – both with considerable experience at the club – in this regard has been welcomed.
Undoubtedly a further reason for Lincoln University’s development has been the quality of its coaching line-up. John and Dave are of course top-quality and experienced coaches. Noel Hickland is doing a very good job with the Colts, while former All Black James Ryan is also involved at that level.
“The club has coaching depth,” John says, “and as coaches we like to share ideas and philosophies.”
Lincoln University’s improved results are even more remarkable when you consider that they have had some injuries. Luke Graham has spent a spell on the sidelines while promising midfielder James Schroder was out last weekend. They are however moving forward with confidence.
“We will learn from what happened last weekend,” John says. “We will work hard on a couple of things and hopefully perform better next weekend. We won’t underestimate Shirley.”
Meanwhile Sydenham moved to the top of the table last weekend with a 62-24 win against Linwood. In other matches, High School Old Boys beat Christchurch 23-18, Marist-Albion beat University 11-3 while New Brighton beat Burnside 30-26.
For full match coverage go to the CRFU Community Website, http://www.crfu.co.nz/main/index.cfm/1,649,0,40,html/Game-Day
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