Topic: Rugby League

Counties-Manukau Stingrays snatch victory in tense final

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

The Akarana Falcons came close to snatching the national title from the 7 time defending champions Counties Manukau Stingrays. It was a nail-biting encounter but Hilda Peters wasn't quite ready to hand the title over yet.

From the get-go, Akarana sensed an upset was on the cards after the Stingrays lost their first game of the tournament.

The Falcons opened the game with two tries to Shontelle Woodman and Crystal Tamarua.

Falcon’s winger Madison Bartlett was out to impress Kiwi Ferns selectors after making her debut against Australia in the ANZAC test match in May. Her try put the Auckland side up 14-0.

However, the Stingrays were not about to surrender easily as they finally put some points on the board before halftime through Jocephy Daniels.

Counties Manukau managed to fix their defence in the second half. Kiwi Fern star, Atawhai Tupaea showed her ball skills, finishing off with a try.

With five minutes left, Krystal Rota sent the Stingrays fans into a frenzy with a brilliant individual effort, a successful conversion to even the score, 14-all, and it was game on.

Counties-Manukau had one last chance to secure the win, and Hilda Peters didn't waste the opportunity.

Stingrays captain Krystal Rota overjoyed at the come from behind win, “It's amazing, especially after coming back like that. Losing, and playing catch-up football is not good, but I'm glad we made the comeback.”

Commiserations though for Falcons captain Alice Vailea, “We gave it to them in the first 60 minutes, and it's just unlucky on the penalties that we kept giving them and they scored off those tries. But big ups to our girls, they tried and that's all we can ask for as captains.”

With another title in the cupboard for another year, can any other team stop the Stingrays in their pursuit to 10 titles?