League: Round 1 at ‘The Nest’

Howick celebrate a try in the 79th minute to take the lead. Photo Auckland Rugby League

This past weekend saw the Howick Hornets family come together in huge numbers to kick off the opening round at Paparoa Park with all the passion that was anticipated and more, after what was an off-season full of winning moments to be remembered, ending sadly with a significant loss that will quite frankly, never be forgotten.

With great rivals the Mt Albert coming to visit on Saturday, history alone promised that both clubs were always going to turn up ready to play their roles in the annual spectacular that is Hornets v Lions, both on and off the field.

Premier 1st’s kicked off at 12:45 and were looking to start their season right where they left off after an unbeaten 2021 – an incredible feat for a first division side and one that was the first for the long-standing grade in Hornet history.

Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end, with the Lions winning 36-22.

Luckily at the nest, the end of something special only means the start of another, so this is merely where the next good thing begins, and that will no doubt be the attitude within the squad at training this week.

2:30pm, Howick Premiers v Mt Albert, Paparoa Park
A match up likely penned in by many punters as ‘game of the round’ before a whistle had even blown.
And it didn’t disappoint.

With Howick trailing by up to 10 points for the first 75 minutes, they still never looked like losing touch with the Lions.

Thanks to a determined final 20 minutes by the team, complemented by a few moments of individual brilliance directed expertly by Hornets captain, and 2021 ARL Fox Memorial Player of the year Jethro Friend, the Hornets gathered momentum, rolled up the field and took the lead with less than five to play.

And to the home crowd’s delight that is how the game finished, Hornets ending victorious 32-26 underlining the importance of league’s number one rule for winning on the scoreboard – play for the full 80.

History will remember Sunday as the day Howick’s inaugural premiership women’s team ran out on Paparoa Park for the first time after stepping up following a very successful year in the championship grade in season 2021.

The Hornets played host to a very good Ponsonby side, the final score of 16-34 wasn’t reflective of the closeness of the overall contest.

Sometimes the rugby league ball doesn’t bounce your way and Sunday was just one of those days for the Hornets ladies.

A fair amount would have been learned by the squad from this match and there is no doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with in the top tier competition of NZ woman’s Rugby League this season.

Congratulations to Auckland Rugby League as a whole, but Howick Hornets players and supporters in particular, on a brilliant first weekend.

Go the Hornets. Up The Firm.

Josh Garry
Howick Hornets