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Panthers persistence pays off

Wednesday 28 September 2011 | Published in Regional


Keeping the faith is what pushed the Tupapa Panthers to victory over the Ngatangiia-Matavera Dragons on Saturday to win the 2011 CITC Senior A grade club rugby trophy.

The Panthers had the worst possible start to the season with loss after loss to their name including losing both round 1 and 2 matches against the Dragons.

But late in the season the team finally found their form and after disposing of the Avatiu Eels and Arorangi Bears both former champions they went on to place 4th overall on the points table.

With their faithful supporters in tow the Panthers then stormed over the Cowboys one more time to secure their grand finals spot. But the spotlight was on the Dragons side who were the best performing team of the season holding the top spot on the points table until late in the second round when the Cowboys bulldozed their way to the top.

The team looked like they would break a 32-year dry spell and when they led the Panthers 10-6 late in the second half.

But the Panthers had other ideas and in the last 8 minutes of the game went on to score 2 tries to dash any Dragons hopes of a weekend long party to win the game 18-10 and take the celebrations to the Tupapa clubhouse. In other grade games, the Eels won the under 13 division 17-5 over the Panthers and the in-form Cowboys under 16 team were the deserved winner of the grade trophy beating the Panthers 31-20.

The Avatiu Eels picked up the under 19 trophy beating the Cowboys 30-5 while the Titikaveka Bulls won the Senior division over the Cowboys.

Club rugby takes a break this weekend before another round of CITC club rugby sevens kicks off on October 8. Sevens will run for 4 weeks leading up to the International Sevens in Heaven tournament on November 3, 4 and 5.

On October 1 the Rarotonga Primary Schools Rippa Rugby Champions will be staged followed by the under 15 and under 17 inter-college championships on October 2.