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Hawkins Division 2 - Final
Lyttelton will play Christchurch in the Hawkins Division 2 final on Saturday although it was how the red and blacks got there that had everyone talking last weekend.
Down 23-21, Christchurch had the opportunity in the last seconds to win the match when they were awarded a penalty. Carlos Sumner, son of former All White Steve, stepped up to take the season-defining penalty.
Sumner’s penalty hit the goal-post but, due to good following up, it landed in the hands of Christchurch lock Steffan Bundell, who caught the ball and crossed for the sweetest of tries. The conversion made the score 28-23.
“It was one of those things,” Christchurch coach Chris Hammett says. “As a coach you devise a game-plan and you try and get the side to stick to it. The bounce of the ball went our way, if you like, but it was nail-biting.”
Christchurch may start the final as underdogs. “Lyttelton has consistently been the best side in the competition this season,” Hammett admits. “We haven’t played them this season, which means that we are going into the unknown, but that is not a bad position to be in.”
Christchurch has had their fair share of challenges this season. Often only having 12 players at training, they have had to convert a number of their four half-backs into other backline players. But they have been grateful for the ‘sharpeners’ that coach Hammett has got them doing. “Some of the boys after the match were saying ‘lucky we did all those ‘sharpeners’ at training’,” Hammett laughs.
Lyttelton coach Aaron Mitchell says his side played well in their 22-12 semi-final win against New Brighton last weekend. “We had the wind at our backs in the first half,” he says, “and we were up 22-0 at the break. They are a big side and we wanted to run them around. In the second half our defence was good and we managed to hang on.”
Mitchell says his side enters the final with plenty to prove. “New Brighton won the final last season and that hurt. Our boys will be up for this match. Winning has been really good for our community. We want another title.”
Mitchell says Lyttelton’s success this season has been infectious. “A lot of guys said after the match that they would come and play for the club next season. Success breeds success and its good for everyone really.”
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