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Wellington defeated the Eastern Tornadoes, 32/26, today in the first game of a Bartercard Cup double header at Ericsson number two Stadium.
In a game that was in the balance for most of the eighty minutes, the visitors from the Windy City were more polished in their finishing. They claimed first blood through a try by Hayden Davis, converted by Dion Laulu. They increased the lead with a try to Hooker, Daniel Hape. Eastern hit back through a Taavilli Leanoa try and Tumanako Boyce added the extra two. The Tornadoes hit the lead, for the only time in the match, with a good effort from Wing, Kere Thompson, with Boyce again obliging with the boot. Just prior to the hooter, Wellington regained the lead with a try to Peme Leiataua and had there actually been a scoreboard at the ground, it would have shown 14/12 to the visitors.
The Eastern Tornadoes had been making far greater yardage, but insisted on popping up the football when they got close to the line. Wellington were playing a calmer game and were being patient.
Not exactly sure what Paul Bergman, the Wellington Coach, had said at half time but big Front Rower, Fred Laumua, came out running riot - gee, he?s a unit, this bloke, and he was dragging defenders up the paddock with him. Dion Laulu scored for Wellington. The Tornadoes came back with one to Malaleai Latu. Another one to Eastern and it was locked up at twenty all. The visitors responded with two tries and a penalty to make it 32/20. The Tornadoes were not giving up and pulled one through Dave Harriman. Time (and ball retention) was against them though and Referee, Glen Black, blew time at 32/26.
Had the Tornadoes been able to hold on to the ball, and complete their sets, they actually could have won this game by a fair margin. Full marks to Wellington though, they played a steady, patient game and deserved their win.