Palmerston North Boys’ High School hosted Napier Boys’ High School in their annual full sports exchange. In the senior sports, the home school won the rubber 3-2 – including winning the famous Polson Banner First XV rugby match.
In the five major sports that were contested amongst the senior teams, Palmerston North BHS beat Napier BHS 27-15 in the First XV rugby, won the First XI Football 5-3 and the Senior golf 6.5 - 1.5. Napier won the First XI hockey 2-0 and also won the First V basketball 83-61. Palmerston North generally had the better of the junior match-ups – results at the bottom of this article.
In the first XV rugby, Palmerston North Boys’ High School won the Polson Banner for the first time since 2015. The win was Palmerston North’s 64th in the 115th edition of the Polson Banner.
In heavy underfoot conditions and weather that started off sunny but turned wet in the second half, Palmerston North played with patience on defence and extra adventure through their backs, with fullback Ruben Love a standout. They won four tries to three, to also register a bonus point win in the final Super 8 fixture of the year for both teams.
The home side out-scored the visitors three tries to one to lead 17-5 at halftime.
But it was Napier that made the more positive start, dominating early possession and bustling centre Jack Sheridan bursting through from 40 metres to score.
Palmerston North worked their way into the contest and in the 21st minute right wing Jayden Keelan returned a kick in play and set sail for the corner flag before passing inside to fullback Love to score their opening try.
In the 27th minute Keelan and Love attacked the shortside first phase from an attacking scrum near halfway, a raid that was brought down just short of the line. This soon led to their second try from a subsequent scrum close to the line through bulldozing prop Nasser Tato.
Just before the break, Napier missed touch with a clearing penalty and fullback Love ran the ball back up towards the 22. Palmerston North recycled quickly from the next ruck and halfback Matt Oldridge darted towards the corner and set up a try for second five-eighth Josh Ellingham.
Napier made a good fist of the opening exchanges of the second half, using their forwards to good effect up the middle and 10 minutes in were finally awarded with their second try to lively halfback Angus Kilmister after a lineout drive.
Palmerston North regrouped and after being held up moments before, popular replacement prop Darius Mafileo crashed over to score what was to be the match-winner. Love’s conversion made it 24-10.
With rain arriving, Napier responded with a forwards try to Reece Henderson after another series of pick and goes.
But that was as close as they got, Love sealing victory with a penalty on fulltime.
About the Polson Banner
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.
Polson Banner Statistics
Palmerston North BHS Won: 64
Napier BHS Won: 46
Palmerston North BHS Biggest Win: 45-3, 1981, Won 51-10 in 2015.
Napier BHS Biggest Win: 43-14, 2002
Polson Banner last five matches:
2015: Palmerston North BHS 51 – Napier BHS 10
2016: Palmerston North BHS 17 – Napier BHS 17 (draw)
2017: Napier BHS 12 – Palmerston North BHS (10)
2018: Napier BHS 36 – Palmerston North BHS 19
2019: Palmerston North BHS 27 – Napier BHS 15
2019 Napier – Palmerston North sports exchange results included:
27-15 win to Palmerston North in First XV Rugby
45-12 PNBHS U14 Rugby
7-5 to Napier in Second XV Rugby
17-12 to Napier in Colts Rugby
19-12 to PNBHS in Third XV Rugby
10-1 to PNBHS Junior A Football
0-0 draw in Second XI Football
5-3 win to Palmerston North in First XI Football
21-0 win to Palmerston North in Colts Hockey
3-0 win to Palmerston North in 2nd XI Hockey
2-0 win to Napier in First XI Hockey
88-50 win to Palmerston North in Junior A Basketball
83-61 win to Napier in Premier A Basketball
Wins to Palmerston North in both Junior and Senior
Palmerston North 6.5 - 1.5
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