SHARE

At half-time, the Cromwell Goats had the lead in the Otago Countrywide Shield at the weekend.

The team had a narrow edge over Clutha Valley but rugby is a game of two halves.

A resurgent Valley left Cromwell scoreless in the second half to lift the shield for the first time, beating Cromwell 36-14 in the final at Clydevale on Saturday.

The home side opened the scoring early in the first half when co-captain Jordan Willocks crashed over from close range, and Thomas Johnson’s kicking radar was dialled in again as he added the extras.

Cromwell scored in its first visit to Valley’s half, through No8 Daniel Hurring, and skipper Ben Maxwell added the extras as the Goats began to take the ascendancy.

Cromwell was the far superior side for the rest of the half and controlled possession, as well as securing numerous turnovers at the breakdown.

Valley’s forwards did not hit with much purpose, which allowed Cromwell to attack the breakdown and stifle any kind of momentum the home team tried to build.

Cromwell took the lead when centre Rian Norton, took a short pass from midfield partner Junior Naqoli and crossed the line.

Maxwell converted as Cromwell took a well-deserved lead.

The lead could have been extended when Naqoli latched on to an intercept pass and looked to have the gas to get there before slowing up and ultimately turning the ball over, thanks to some desperate Valley defence.

A Johnson penalty ended the scoring for the half, as Cromwell went into the sheds 14-10 ahead.

Valley came out with much more hunger in the second half and scored 26 unanswered points.

Valley’s forwards started to run with purpose and used their bodies to great effect.

The collision area improved tenfold, and Cromwell had a hard time over the ball at the ruck, as Valley recycled quickly and found plenty of front-foot action.

Valley scored four second-half tries.

Cromwell was not helped by an injury to skipper Maxwell midway through the second half, halting progress.