The “second half blues” returned to haunt the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV last week.
As has happened on several occasions this season, the Falcons turned in a dominant first half effort, only to see their good work undone during an underwhelming final stanza.
On Thursday they led the Waimea Combined team 21-5 at halftime in their University of Canterbury championship clash at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park, before the home side came up with 29 unanswered points to take the match 34-21.
A combination of factors sunk the MBC side, not the least of which was a gritty Waimea side who put a lethargic first half behind them to take control and play smarter in the greasy conditions. Some of their tactical kicking was outstanding and constantly turned the visiting side around.
MBC were also let down by some glaring defensive lapses, allowing their opponents to score four relatively-soft second half tries without having to build a succession of phases.
And it all started so well for the Falcons. Three first half converted tries, all scored from close range by the three front-rowers, coupled with a pronounced scrum dominance, saw them ease to a 16-point advantage at oranges.
Even after the break, they appeared more likely to score before the game began to slip out of their grasp around the 50 minute mark.
A try to the home side lifted their confidence and from then it was one-way traffic. MBC made a succession of handling errors, got on the wrong side of the penalty count and were unable to claim field position.
MBC head coach Matt MacDougall lamented the contrast in halves.
“Waimea obviously played a lot better in the second half, they changed their tactics, put us back in our own half and applied pressure.
“We just made life so tough for ourselves with silly penalties and when they got their tails up we couldn’t handle it.
“They put us in the corner and we didn’t have the necessary fight to come out of it. We had no answer.”
He pinpointed the sin-binning of first five Kyren Taumoefolau with 15 minutes to go as major turning point.
“There was no coming back from that,” the frustrated coach said. “Some of our execution and decision-making left me flabbergasted.”
MBC’s next game is against St Bede’s College in Blenheim on August 29, the first of three home matches to finish round-robin play.
Waimea College 34 MBC 21 (Te Ariki Peipi, Monu Moli, Max Morris tries, Kyren Taumoefolau 3 con). HT 21-5 MBC