Christ’s College have defeated Christchurch Boys’ High School in consecutive years for first time since 1997.
An exhilarating contest, in postcard conditions at Straven Road, finished 35-34 in the visitors favour.
The last of six lead changes secured victory for Christ’s. With two minutes to spare, second-five Callum Summerfield kicked a penalty goal from directly in front of the posts 15-meters out. It was his sixth success at goal in a near faultless performance.
Christ’s started with polish and aggression, deserving of their 8-0 lead. Summerfield opened the scoring after five minutes with a penalty before fullback Angus Hammett latched upon a kick by Ben Ward that was fumbled by Christchurch inside their own 22. The conversion attempt by Summerfield was smacked into the left-hand upright, his only blemish from the tee.
Christchurch fullback Jack White nailed all six of his shots and a penalty from just outside the 22 opened the hosts account. Summerfield quickly responded for Christ’s to make it 11-3.
Both sides would fall victim to charged-down kicks and a deflection and gather by Christchurch wing Noah Saukuru saw a try in the left corner, supremely converted by White.
In the 24th minute a series a barging charges by the forwards saw Christ’s enter the 22. Wing Shane Rutherford-Bradford carried on the shoving all the way to the line.
The halftime score was 18-10 with the last ten minutes of the first-half highlighted by staunch tackling, cagey territorial kicking and multiple turnovers leading to impulsive attack.
Christchurch burst out of the blocks and charged to a 24-18 advantage seven minutes after the resumption. Centre Guy Jensen, often difficult to restrain, wriggled through traffic and released White who supplied Lachie Cartwright in a sweeping movement that stretched both touchlines and 60-meters.
Christ’s was then isolated in their own-half after a panic lineout. A turnover occurred and Riley Brewis scored after the feverish forwards had Christ’s in retreat.
Christchurch’s lead was short-lived. A charge down from the kick-off saw lock Jonny Lee collect and scamper clear. It was a legendary moment from the captain. Summerfield converted to make it 25-24.
Already a cracker, the quality of the spectacle soared to even greater heights with little interruption from the referee. Both sides showed great intent, discipline, and skill as it became evident little separated them.
White kicked Christchurch ahead 27-25 with an angled penalty from 35-meters, but the deft boot of Rutherford-Bradford saw Hammett outpace the defence and Christ’s lead 30-27. The try was started at halfway after the ball was handled right to left by forwards and backs in a thrilling passage of passing.
With the heavier pack Christchurch was able to pressure in the scrums. They won a tighthead and reserve outside back Will Lindsay touched down in the right corner after a dummy-cut in midfield spilt open the defense. Another conversion to White made the score 34-32.
The winning penalty for Christ’s wasn’t contentious. It came from a textbook breakdown turnover as Christchurch risked preserving possession inside their own quarter. The last three wins by Christ’s over Christchurch have been single pointers.
No.8 Hendrix Taylor is worthy of acclaim for Christ’s. His bustling industry caused pain for Christchurch and might earn him the nickname Voodoo if any of the kids still listen to rock ‘n roll.
Further North in the Miles Toyota Championship, Marlborough Boys’ College stunned Nelson College 20-17 to inflict a first defeat of the season upon 2019 champions Nelson.
After four rounds of the competition nine teams already have at least two wins. St Thomas of Canterbury College and Timaru Boys’ High School are the unlikely leaders with four wins each. Christ’s College jumps to third while Christchurch are sixth with two bonus points earned for their efforts today.
Head to Head
Christchurch Boys’ High School Wins: 84
Christ College Wins: 44
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