CPL BRAD MARRA
RNZAF Interbase Touch Woodbourne, 04 – 06 November 2005. Men’s teams from Auckland (2 teams), Ohakea, and Woodbourne and women’s teams from Auckland and Ohakea attended the 2005 Interbase Touch tournament in Marlborough hosted by RNZAF Base Woodbourne. Over Thirties (OTs) teams from Auckland and Woodbourne also attended, with Wellington providing a mixed team for the OTs grade. All games were highly competitive and winners were not decided until the finals.
Blenheim provided a hot (28 degrees C) and sunny day on the Saturday, and while the finals day was overcast, it was a welcome relief to those feeling the burn from the previous day. As always, the tournament was a fine demonstration of RNZAF sportsmanship, team spirit and competitiveness. Selectors were faced with the difficult task of selecting representatives for the Interservices tournament from a great depth of skilled players.
The first day’s play for the Men’s teams saw Auckland (1) overcome Woodbourne 8-4, Auckland (2) 10-1 and Ohakea 10-1, to finish unbeaten and carry the No.1 seeding for the finals. Woodbourne beat Ohakea 6-3 and Auckland (2) 7-2, to finish 2nd seed with Ohakea beating Auckland (2) 6-3, to finish the day 3rd. .
In the Women’s competition, Auckland won both games over Ohakea 2-1, after Ohakea failed to make the field in time in their first game, so were down 1-0 before getting their mitts on the ball. Auckland OTs dominated the day’s play, beating both Woodbourne 6-0 and 7-2, and Wellington 4-3. Wellington won the other game against Woodbourne 5-2.
Finals day in the Men’s saw Woodbourne bring out their ‘mousetrap’ to beat Ohakea 6-1 and book a place in the final against Auckland (1), after they dispatched Auckland (2) 13-1.
Auckland (2) showed touches of class and invention when they showed the classic ‘wall’ move, which created more confusion for them than it did for the defence. That meant Ohakea
and Auckland (2) faced each other for bronze, Auckland’s determination and guts counted for nothing as Ohakea ran out winners 2-0.
In the Women’s, Auckland and Ohakea squared off once again, this time for the final, in which Ohakea won 2-1 in dramatic style. After ending regulation time all square they went into a drop- off. However, this time it was Auckland’s turn to miss the tap off, Leisa Harmer coasted to the line for the touch down and, ultimately, the win. Kate Staunton was forced to eat her words from the night before when she branded Ohakea as ‘Dreamers’ in song at the karaoke night.
In the OTs, Auckland and Wellington played off for the top seeding and a final spot, the result was a 5-5 draw and was enough for both teams to meet each other in the final. Auckland vs Wellington finals time, and the ‘ old dogs’ showed skill and stamina well below their years in what was a great spectacle, with Auckland’s superior class eventually the deciding factor in winning the game 5-3.
The Men’s final saw the two form teams of the competition squaring off for touch supremacy. Woodbourne were all fight, and the game was very tight for the first ten minutes until class overcame inexperience and Auckland (1) ran away for a well deserved and predictable win.