Napier Boys’ High School beat Palmerston North Boys’ High School 9-7 in today’s annual full sports exchange in Napier, including winning the famous Polson Banner First XV rugby match 36-19.
It was a successful day for Napier, also winning the First XI football 5-4, First V basketball 102-98 and the First XI hockey 2-1.
In the 114th playing of the Polson Banner, Napier Boys’ High School prevailed over Palmerston North and will contest the Super 8 final for the first time.
Napier only required a win in their last round robin match to confirm a meeting with Hamilton Boys’ High School in the Super 8 decider on August 11. But they did it comfortably.
Napier essentially sealed that outcome in the first 20 minutes - scoring three tries and charging ahead 19-0 on the back of a dominant forward display.
Napier made a clinical start compiling a dozen phases and crossing the chalk after two minutes. Prop Patrick Teddy was the finisher.
Will Treder almost responded in spectacular fashion for the visitors, breaking down the right wing and failing to grasp his own chip kick.
Napier regained control and hooker Tyrone Thompson bustled over for the first of his two tries.
Thompson was named Player of the Match for his imperious carrying and staunch defence.
Twin brother and centre Leo Thompson showed he could be equally menacing, busting from 22 to 22 and allowing openside Sam Henderson to cross out wide.
The halftime score was 26-0 to Napier. Henry Williams secured the four-try bonus points.
Too their credit, Palmerston North won the second-half 19-10. It was an error ridden spectacle with Napier lacking their prior polish and Palmerston North, despite a lack of size, fighting gamely.
Jayden Keelan scored the tourists first try and Mitch Leach and Trevor Shane-Baker each profited in the last five minutes.
Napier first-five Henry Williams had a strong game and darted through for a deserved try.
This was Napier’s biggest win since a 31-10 triumph in 2003. Palmerston North have enjoyed 63 wins overall, today was Napier’s 46th.
Napier last won the Super 8 rugby crown in 2003. The final started in 2014.
The Polson Banner is one of the oldest interschool rugby trophies up for grabs in New Zealand. It was first played for in 1907 but "back dated" to 1904 to record all of the fixtures between the schools.
The original silk banner was donated by the 1902-12 NBHS headmaster, A.S. Polson, and has the colours and the crest of the two respective schools on the reverse sides. The scores for each year's match has been embroidered on the banner over the years.
Last year Napier won the Polson Banner 12-10 – but Palmerston North first five-eighth Stewart Cruden missed a penalty at the death for the home school that would have snatched victory. In 2016 it ended as a 17-17 draw.
Napier – Palmerston North sports exchange results included:
76-63 to Napier Junior Basketball
10-1 to PNBHS Junior Colts Hockey
2-0 to PNBHS 2nd XI Hockey
35-31 to Napier U14 Rugby
14-13 to PNBHS 2nd XV Rugby
19-15 to Napier U15 Rugby
54-14 to Napier 3rd Rugby
2-1 to Napier 1st XI Hockey
4-2 to PNBHS Junior A Football
1-0 to Napier 2nd XI Football
102-98 to Napier Senior A Basketball
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