Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Cake Tin

The last time I went to see a rugby match was a couple of weeks ago, and the time before that…I think I was playing in it! The Cake Tin is the affectionate name given by Wellingtonians to the Westpac Stadium, home of the Wellington Lions RFC team. We went along there for the first time to watch Wellington Lions play Hawke’s Bay. The league contains 14 teams, and we’re about halfway through the season; we expected it to be a fairly one-sided match, as the Lions were 3rd in the ITM table, and Hawke’s Bay were near the bottom, having won only two games so far.

Westpac Stadium - the "cake tin"

Wellington, and indeed the whole of New Zealand, is in the grip of a storm “the size of Australia” at the moment, which has caused everything from power cuts in Auckland to heavy snowfalls in South Island – enough to close the ski resorts. In Wellington, of course, due to the geography of the place, the main feature is severe winds. This will naturally affect the kicking game in rugby.

15 minutes in, and Hawke’s Bay are 10-0 up! What’s going on? Fortunately the Lions got their act together, and scored 3 tries in fairly quick succession, although only converted one due to the wind. It was fairly clear from where we were sitting how the wind was affecting the ball, so why it didn’t occur to the teams, I don’t know. There’s no way that they should have attempted some of the penalties they did under those conditions.

I caught the moment of the Lions’ second try:

Clearly there’s more to this sports photography than I thought!

Lions finished the half 17-10 up. At half-time I went and bought a hat, cos it was getting pretty chilly up in the terraces!

The second half wasn’t quite as exciting, and only 3 points were added by Hawke’s Bay, with a penalty after a sustained period of pressure in the Lions’ 22. The game finished 17-13 to Wellington – not a good result by their standards, and due to other results within the league, they’ve dropped down to 6th. There are four more matches before the play-offs, two of which will be played at home; so seeing as we had a good time tonight, we’re planning to be back for their remaining home games.

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