Southbridge Shield comes home

by Kent Caddick

Ellesmere has recaptured the symbol of Canterbury country rugby, the Southbridge Shield, with a win over holders North Canterbury in Kaiapoi on Saturday.

After losing the shield last year in Darfield, Ellesmere came to Kaiapoi determined to wrest the shield back.

The first half was an even affair, with North Canterbury dominating the first 30 minutes, running in two tries to take a 17-6 lead with Ellesmere’s only points coming from the boot of Shannon Donald.

However, in the 10 minutes before halftime Ellesmere struck twice, with Jale Masi charging over for a try before co-captain Tim Murgatroyd charged down a clearing kick to score, and give Ellesmere a 18-17 lead at the break.

North Canterbury came out firing after halftime and laid siege to the Ellesmere line. However, Ellesmere was up to the task defensively, and after 15 minutes of the second spell all North Canterbury had to show for its efforts was a penalty to Brook Retallick, and a 20-18 lead. Ellesmere then turned defence into attack as it ran at North Canterbury with winger Kieran Meikle plunging over out wide for a try which was converted from the sideline by Donald for a 28-20 lead.

Ellesmere co-captains Matt Stone (left) and Tim Murgatroyd hold 
aloft the Southbridge Shield

Despite losing a man to the sin bin Ellesmere kept its foot down and with five minutes to go fullback Mark Maitland sealed the match for Ellesmere, scoring after a sweeping move.

Donald converted to make the final score 35-20 to secure the Southbridge Shield once again for Ellesmere.

Full results: Southbridge Shield: North Canterbury 20 v Ellesmere 35; Munro Shield (Colts): North Canterbury 10 v Ellesmere 28; McGiffert Trophy (U18): North Canterbury 41 v Ellesmere 7; Tiny Hill Shield (U16) North Canterbury 30 v Ellesmere 15; Under 65kg: North Canterbury 12 v Ellesmere 60; Under 48kg North Canterbury 31 v Ellesmere 15.