After battling a torrid rival, mud and torrential rain on Saturday, Wyndham’s senior rugby team hung on in the dying minutes to win its first rugby final on home soil.
13-10 in a torrid battle in the Southland Wide division 1 final.
The teams had a shaky start to the game, with handling errors creeping in.
Once the nerves settled, players found their rhythm and the game started to flow.
Midlands attacked the line hard and spent most of the first 10 minutes deep inside Wyndham’s half.
Midlands flanker and former Southland Stag Tim Boys did a power of work clearing out the Wyndham defence at the breakdown.
When Wyndham put the ball into space and gave its backline the opportunity to run with the ball it created options.
The home team was the first to score when winger Phillip Norman dotted down. The side’s kicking winger, Michael Robinson, was strong off the tee, converting the try and slotting another penalty soon afterwards.
Wyndham coach Casey Robertson said she thought her “team made their mark everywhere on the field”.
“I just think we played really well. Once we strung a few phases together it was good.”
Right on halftime, Midlands scored a try, which was converted by first five-eighth Ben McKerchar, and Wyndham went to the break leading 10-7.
As the rain poured down and the ground became muddy, it became a battle against the weather for both sides.
Each team added a penalty and Wyndham led 13-10 for most of the half.
In the last 10 minutes, Midlands looked threatening and strung five-plus phases together deep in Wyndham’s territory, but the Wyndham defence held.
“The way we defended in those last 10 minutes was just amazing – I’m so proud of the boys for that big effort,” Robertson said.
As the final whistle blew, the crowd erupted in cheers and car horns sounded as Wyndham took home the Southland senior trophy.
“Having the big community support that came out for us today has been great.
“It’s been so good to win at home,” Robertson said.