Hautapu reigned victorious in the Battle of the Bridge rugby game on Saturday before a record-crowd of over 3000 people. But Leamington can lay claim a win on the day with its team of female volunteers taking out the tug of war competition at half time.
“It was definitely the biggest crowd ever, and a great party afterwards… Leamington were amazing hosts,” said co-organiser Mark Nogaj. “Even though the main game was between Leamington and Hautapu, the winner really is the Cambridge community because we are all family and friends here.”
The headlining rugby game between the two clubs saw players over 30, including some in their late 50s, go head to head in a hard-fought match which ran pretty evenly throughout.
Leamington dominated possession and territory in the first half, but Hautapu reversed that trend in the second and managed to score two tries to Leamington’s one. The final score was 14 to Hautapu, 11 to Leamington.
“It was a tight battle the whole way through,” said Mark. “Due to unforeseen circumstances unfortunately the annual netball game didn’t proceed, but plans are already in place for its return bigger and better next year.”
The day commenced with the Waikato schools first fifteen rugby final between Cambridge High School and Matamata, Cambridge narrowly taking the win 20 – 19.
Next up was the Peace Cup game, part of the Stan Meads competition, where a Cambridge team of both Hautapu and Leamington players took on Piako.
The Cambridge lads claimed victory in convincing fashion with a final score of 29 – 14, in part thanks to a hattrick by co-captain James Maguire and a pair of tries by Ryan Metcalfe, followed by two successful conversions.
The team now sits in a joint-third position with one more round robin game against Morrinsville to determine who will play in the finals round for third and fourth overall.
Now with the Battle of the Bridge trophy in their possession, Hautapu will host next year’s Battle of the Bridge event with plans to add even more sports and games to the day.
“The event simply would not be possible without a huge amount of supporters that proactively got stuck in and made it all happen in all aspects,” said Mark. “A sincere thank you to all.”
Cambridge News was once again the sponsor of this year’s event, along with local businesses C & R Developments, Tree Town Kitchens, Rob May Building, Karapiro Hire, Five Stags, Tyre Traders, Shaws Ropes, Ross Todd Engineering, Line and Design, Comins Plumbing, Bowe Spreading, Hautapu Hire, Grumpy’s Signs, Cogswell Surveying, and Cambridge Panel Works.