The Bartercard Cup match between Hibiscus Coast Raiders and the Eastern Tornadoes was played in typical Whangaparoa weather, 40 minutes sunny, and 40 minutes dreadful.
I found my spot on the field to cheer on the Raiders and 4 minutes later the Tornadoes scored a try through a dropped ball, Naki Pulu scooped up the ball scoring a four pointer, this gave the Raiders fans a reflection on the down fall season they have had compared to the previous few years.
After the try Warriors and Tornadoes fullback Justin Murphy, dropped the ball from the kick off which resulted in a goal line drop out. Justin Murphy was hit very hard in occasions, huge tackles by the Raiders defence, at one stage he was driven back hard by 3 players from the Maroon coloured team.
The last 20 minutes the handling did impress in high standard rugby league, unfortunately for Raiders luck wasn't on their side as they were held up twice, resulting in Raiders player Toa Nikora being sent to the bin twice.
30 minutes gone, yet again the Tornadoes through some combination set passes, allow Nana Ngametua (pictured) to score, and Eastern converts to make it 12-0.
Gray clouds were getting darker, sign of a rain flush upon the players and the fans, as the Raiders looked promising to score. A high hopeful kick from the Coast was defused by Piakura and he used his pace to beat the Raiders defenders to score a electric 80 metre beauty just before halftime and just before the rain started bucketing down.
The weather was so miserable, there was no room under the shelter of the teams headquarters, that a lot of fans (me included) called it quits as the current score was almost as bad as the rain. Brent Webb from the Warriors turned up for the first half to watch his mate Justin Murphy play but Brent obviously hated the weather and also decided to rush to the car and go home for a nice hot shower.
As half the fans were at home, the 2nd half was alot more tropical then the 1st for the Raiders team according to a fan which stayed to watch the full game.
Sione Moala scored in the 50th minute, Eastern converted 22-0. It's hard to see what is worse, the grey clouds or the score, the Raiders obviously more hit hard by the scoreboard.
The last 20 minutes however, was all Hibiscus Coast, David Floyd scoring from a clever kick and minutes later Te Kiri scored with Daniel Floyd converting both tries, the score line was now 22-12, the Raiders could see a glimmer of hope and a little luck go their way.
Though it wasn't to be, as opportunities were dead and burnt through poor ball handling although on the last play Te Kiri scored his 2nd try, but unfortunately for the Hibiscus Coast franchise league is only a 80 minute game not 90 minutes, as they would've give anything for 10 minutes more.
Final Score 22-16 to the Tornadoes, their first win at Stanmore Bay Reserve.
Eastern Manukau Tornadoes 22 (N Ngametua 2, N Pulu, S Moala tries; H Rangi 3 gls) defeated Hibiscus Coast 16 (C Te Kiri 2, David Floyd tries; Daniel Floyd 2 gls).