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Whanganui Collegiate lose CNI semifinal thriller to St Peter’s Cambridge

By Jared Smith

The Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV’s impressive run in the Central North Island (CNI) tournament came to an end after losing a 27-24 semifinal thriller to St Peter’s Cambridge on Saturday.

At the neutral Owen Delany Park in Taupo, Collegiate for the second game in a row gave up a try in the opening three minutes, with Cambridge flanker Jonty Short scoring, converted by first-five Dawson Smith.

Collegiate hit back swiftly with a converted try to their own through openside flanker Thomas Pease, before captain and standout first-five Harry Godfrey then scored another try this campaign, which he converted to give his team a 14-7 advantage at the break.

Cambridge came out firing in the second stanza, with winger Anam Farrant dotting down, and although Godfrey slotted a penalty to keep his team’s nose ahead 17-12, the Waikato school continued to dominate possession and appeared to have taken control with tries to second-five Quinnlan Tupou and hooker Shayne Retemeyer.

However, Smith couldn’t add the extras and trailing 22-17, Collegiate broke through with second-five Shaun O’Leary scoring a converted try for 24-22 with just five minutes remaining.

Cambridge didn’t even need two minutes, as from the kickoff they secured possession and Smith scored, and while he again couldn’t add the conversion, it was enough as Collegiate ran out of time.

In the other semifinal, for the second season in a row defending champions St Paul’s Collegiate ended Feilding High School’s title hopes, winning 34-12, meaning both North Region pool sides won their way into the final.

St Peter’s Cambridge 27 (J Short, A Farrant, Q Tupou, S Retemeyer, D Smith tries; Smith con) bt Whanganui Collegiate 24 (T Pease, H Godfrey, S O’Leary tries; Godfrey pen, 3 con). HT: 14-7 Collegiate.

Photo Supplied by Sarah Lourie Photography