Another week, another challenger for Marist College Ashgrove as the AIC First XV rugby premiership nears an entertaining conclusion.
Ashgrove travels to Banyo this Saturday to meet an in-form Padua College which sits in second place on the premiership table with four wins from its five matches.
Ashgrove remains on top with five wins, holding out a resilient Villanova College before a large crowd at Villanova Park last Saturday in the highlight of the fourth round.
The 31-10 scoreline was notable for one reason – these were the first points that Ashgrove had conceded during its outstanding season.
Ashgrove’s for-and-against reached 224-0 – including nine perfect halves in defence – before Villanova’s quick-stepping fullback Hamish Muir capped off a strong run by captain James Livingstone to score early in the second half.
A try to Livingstone narrowed the score to 19-10 before Ashgrove hit back with two tries including a final-minute effort by Lachlan Laffer.
Padua will be buoyed by their strong recent form as they welcome Ashgrove for their annual Back to Banyo Day.
The Paduans gatecrashed Back to Shorncliffe Day last Saturday, surviving a tense first half against St Patrick’s College to pull away for a 24-3 victory.
Forward Chris Bozzi scored two of Padua’s four tries as they overcame a 0-3 deficit to remain within touching distance of Ashgrove. Padua’s only loss came in their close second-round match against Villanova.
St Edmund’s College celebrated its first win of the season in an epic 28-27 contest with St Peter’s Lutheran College at Tivoli.
This was as entertaining as schoolboy rugby gets – St Edmund’s scored twice in the first 12 minutes through Cade Scanlan and Thomas Hall before the fightback began.
Malachi Hill’s chip-and-chase try ignited St Peter’s who surged back from a 12-28 halftime deficit to almost pinch victory. They pounced when St Edmund’s tried to kick the ball over the sideline to end the game, launching a scything counterattack that had Eddie’s hearts racing.
In the end, a knock forward ended the game, handing St Edmund’s its first win of the season and leaving St Peter’s with plenty of admirers.
St Peter’s will this Saturday host St Laurence’s College, which overcame Iona College 31-19 last Saturday.
St Laurence’s were well-served by First XI opening bowler Connor McNeven, who started at flyhalf for the first time this season and was among the best players in the game.
He was well supported by centre Harry Farimbella, whose 21 points kept St Laurence’s clear of a gutsy Iona.
In their last home game for 2019, Iona scored three tries but Farimbella’s double, four goals and a penalty goal powered St Laurence’s to their third win of the season.
Iona will travel to St Edmund’s on Saturday for a match that again promises to be entertaining.