The Akarana Falcons kicked off their start to the inaugural Sky Sport National Women’s Premiership at Bruce Pulman Park against the Mid-Central Vipers with a clinical display on attack.
A game not short of aggression and effort started off as a scrappy affair. Few mistakes by both teams eventually led to the first chance for Akarana. A mistake by Mid-Central fullback Jasmine Te Uawiri led to a scrum and winger Katelyn Vaha’akolo came painstakingly close to score falling short of the line after a sharp set play.
An 8th-minute late penalty in the set gave Akarana an opportunity in the red zone and Karli Hansen received an offload to crash over. Hansen failed to convert her try from out wide.
Four minutes later, fullback Apii Nichols went over to double the advantage. The score remained 8-0.
Mid-central found some momentum and rolled on down the field. A penalty and an Akarana knock-on put them in good attacking position for three more sets, unfortunately unable to convert the pressure into points. On the ensuing set, Akarana went the length of the field and after an offload from Hansen, Meleoata Toki went 30 metres to score. Apii Nichols assumed the goal kicking duties but hit the left upright. 12-0 Akarana in the 19th minute.
More dominance from the Falcons led to a Holly Wade try coming from a sweet ball from Nichols who started to put her footprint on the game. Apii converts to put Akarana up 18-0 in the 25th minute.
Clementine Varea then bulldozed her way to score under the post and five minutes later Akarana halfback put Warriors centre Jules Newman into a gaping hole for her to score. Nichols converts both tries taking the Falcons into the break with a 30 point lead.
Akarana continued their dominance in the second half as Katelyn Va’ahakolo grabbed her second in the 38th minute, going 70 metres to score under the post. Nichols converts to take the lead to 36-0.
A set on the Akarana line finally bore fruit for the Vipers as Mid-Central half Corrineke Windle’s grubber kick came off Jules Newman and she regathered to score Mid-Centrals first points. Windle missed her conversion to keep the score at 36-4. A few minutes later, Vipers winger Awhina Kingi unfortunately couldn’t maintain possession as a try went begging for the Vipers.
Apii Nichols then made them pay to recover a bomb that was allowed to bounce by the Vipers and took it under the post. Nichols failed to convert the conversion as the wind blew the ball off the tee, 40-4
Nichols continued her impressive display as she set up Meleoata Toki with a clinical cut out ball, excellent underline from Toki took out he defender as she scored on the right edge. Three minutes later Charlotte Scanlan’s line break created space for Jules Newman as she scored on the left edge sealing the game. Both conversions were unsuccessful.
Mid-Central went over in for a consolation with two minutes remaining, as captain Mahalia Polson crashed over for a great try in similar vain to Meleoata Toki, the Vipers bring the score to 48-8.
Akarana will face Counties Manukau at 2:05pm next Saturday at Pulman while Mid-Central take on Canterbury down at Nga-Puna-Wai Sunday 11th at 12:05pm. All games will be televised live on Sky Sport 4.