There was so much action in Saturday’s Round 6 fixture against Uni at McGillivray that it is difficult to know where to start. But if there was ever a worthy starting point, it has to be The Nut. Peanut, that is, the Right Honourable Joseph Ritchie. Upper Hutt’s finest product since Selwyn Toogood and Cory Jane.
Before Saturday, Peanut’s most recent heroics at McGillivray were in the 2015 Grand Final, where he capped off an epic premiership win over Wests with a long-winded retirement speech which finished around smoko time the following Monday.
But four years later, Peanut was at it again on the same battle field. But first, let’s set the scene.
It was another shorts and t-shirt afternoon as Neddies took on the students in four grades. The fourths got things cracking with a 17-0 win, while the unbeaten thirds triumphed 31-0. The reserves were also in a winning position before a late capitulation resulted in a 32-22 loss.
But the real action started when the premier grade team ran down the hill to defend the Mike Denton Memorial Trophy. The scores were tied at 3-3 before the game began heading down what you might call an Angus Gardner-like path. It started with an incident which your correspondent will leave to the judiciary to deal with. For those of you who weren’t there, Split Enz might have sung I see Red, but Coldplay sang Yellow.
Play resumed with Al Momoisea causing all sorts of problems for the Uni defence before he was rewarded with a try to give Neddies a 10-3 buffer at the break.
The drama continued in the second half with more cards (of the Coldplay variety) and a disallowed try. Amid the mayhem, Uni capitalised to jump to a 16-10 lead. But when flying winger Momoisea crossed for his second, Neddies were back in the hunt at 16-15. Uni replied with a converted try and a penalty goal. The momentum was back with the students. The 26-15 deficit meant Neddies had to score twice to win. Enter the Peanut. Amid darkening skies, the replacement front rower took matters into his own hands. First he bullocked over for a try to give Neddies hope at 26-22. And in the last play of the game, it was the Nut again who smashed his way through the Uni defence to score the winning try. It was one for Dents above – and one for his best mate Rat to savour over a Speights back in Dunedin.
Saturday sees Neddies return to The Foreshore to take on Joondalup.
Rather than read about it in next week’s column, get down and see it live.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. Go the Nut. Go Dents. GO NEDDIES!!!