St. Paul's Collegiate have won the Rankin Cup for the first time following an extraordinary 4-3 extra-time victory over Wairarapa College.
As a sporting contest this match was as good as it gets. With 15 seconds left St. Paul's trailed 3-2 and won a penalty corner. On the fulltime siren captain Reuben Andrews blasted the ball into the goal to extend the match an extra five minutes.
Two and half minutes into the first additional period, St. Paul's hurried up field from a Wairarapa turnover and Maks Wyndham-Smith blasted an angled drive into the goal to complete an improbable comeback.
Andrews illustrated his quality from the outset with two weaving runs that forced Wairarapa into retreat. Wairarapa opened the scoring after nine minutes when Hugo Wakeling ventured into the circle and linked with an unmarked Wills Taylor to tap in.
Wairarapa was unlucky not to double their advantage in the 18th minute. Wakeling belted the ball towards goal, but it hit his own teammate Ethan Butcher as it was sailing in.
Wairarapa's defensive pressure was excellent and St. Paul's appeared rattled. Two of the three penalty corners St Paul's did earn were dispatched into the surrounding hills.
In the final five minutes of the first-half Michael Brewster fired narrowly wide and Frank Dickson rattled the post as Wairarapa finished strongly.
St. Paul's returned from the interval with better energy and focus. Arthur Rasmussen won a penalty corner and Andrew's forced goal keeper Jake Woolford to concede another corner when he sandwiched ball between his pads. Andrew's unleashed a thunderbolt with take two and St. Paul's had restored parity.
In the 49th minute Andrew's smashed the ball into Alex Hare from another penalty corner to earn a penalty stroke. Andrew's converted by rolling the ball underneath the outstretched right glove of Woolford.
Wairarapa rallied and in the 63rd minute Brewster levelled from a penalty corner which rebounded off goal-keeper Lane Tims's pads. Dramatically Rasmussen had been removed from the defensive wall after jumping early.
Wairarapa was now firmly on top and seized the lead in the 67th minute with a stunning goal. Wyndham-Smith surged forward for St. Paul's, but surrendered possession to Elliot Hoare. Hoare dashed inside the circle and distributed to Taylor who beat a diving keeper for a second time.
St. Paul's pressed again and Andrews delivered when it most counted. He ended the tournament as the leading goal-scorer with 15 goals. Cruelly Wairarapa lost the Rankin final by a single goal to Hamilton BHS in 2014 and was beaten in extra-time in this seasons Wellington final.
In the playoff for third Rangitoto College beat St. Andrew's College 3-1.
Palmerston North Boys' High School won the India Shield for the first team since 1980 trouncing Hastings Boys' High School 7-0 in the final. Palmerston North won six out of seven games this week, but missed out on the Rankin Cup on goal difference in pool play.
St. Paul's Collegiate - Rankin Cup Run
Pool Play: St. Bede's College, 14-2
Pool Play: Lindisfarne College, 12-2
Pool Play: Christ's College, 5-4
R16: Tauranga Boys' College, 4-0
Quarter Final: Wellington College, 2-1
Semi-Final: Rangitoto College, 5-2
Final: Wairarapa College, 4-3
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