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Lincoln University - Hawkins Division 1 Trophy Winners
Photos - Ken Baker Photogrpahy
If anyone doubted what winning the Hawkins Trophy meant to players the scene at the final whistle at Sunday's final at Rugby Park was evident for all to see. The whoops of delight by the Lincoln University players and the looks of dejection of their Christchurch opponents was an obvious reflection of what Metro's biggest prize means to the current crop of players.
Lincoln University deserved their 24-19 win. While it may have been closer than what they and their legion of supporters would have wished for, there
Helped by the towering figure of All Black Dominic Bird, Lincoln University dominated the line-out early; providing a strong platform for the students' outstanding loose forwards trio of Tom Sanders, Wade McRae and Joel Duffy to attack with ball in hand and get plenty of forward momentum. Two penalties to Broc Hooper gave the students an early lead.
Christchurch was having trouble winning possession and it took until the 18th minute for the red and blacks to mount a meaningful attack. When they did attack they regularly made handling mistakes that in effect took the pressure off Lincoln University at crucial times. Two further penalties to full-back Caleb Makene gave the students a commanding 12-0 lead by half-time. They certainly deserved their first-half lead as they were playing with confidence and immense skill.
Now helped by the wind, Christchurch started the second half stronger and managed to put several phases together. While Christchurch scored three tries in the second half, Lincoln University scored two. While Christchurch could have grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat, it would have been unjust as the students were clearly the better side on the day.
The scene of joy at the final whistle in not only the Lincoln University camp but their wider legion of fans was very evident. There were hugs, fist-pumps and, perhaps, a sense of relief that finally Lincoln University had gone on after winning the Hawkins Cup to now win the Hawkins Trophy.
While no one was counting the number, there were some Lincoln University fans present on Sunday who had been at Rugby Park in 1981 when their side had beaten Marist to last win the CBS (as it was then) Trophy. Like that season the celebration would have been extremely long on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Linwood beat Burnside 42-41 in the Hawkins Division One Bowl final on Sunday.
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