Sideline Rewind: 2018-19 Polson Banner 1st XV
The Polson Banner is among the oldest interschool rugby prizes available in New Zealand, giving Super 8 rivals Palmerston North Boys' High School and Napier Boys' High School extra incentive when they face one another in 1st XV action every year.
The archrivals have contested the Polson Banner annually since 1904. The original silk banner was donated by the 1902-12 NBHS headmaster, A.S. Polson, and has the colours and the crest of the two respective schools on the reverse sides. The scores for each year's match has been embroidered on the banner over the years.
The ledger stands 64-46 in Palmerston North BHS’s favour, with six matches drawn.
SidelineApp came on board to livestream Polson Banner 1st XV matches in 2018 – giving the opportunity for fans and family who could not travel or attend the game to watch LIVE, and allowing players, coaches and supporters to relive the action On Demand.
A 17-all draw in the 2016 Polson Banner clash and a gripping 12-10 win to Napier Boys’ in 2017 – their first victory in four years – set the scene for a feverishly anticipated 2018 showdown.
2018 POLSON BANNER – NAPIER BOYS’ GO BACK-TO-BACK
NBHS were confident after a strong Super 8 campaign that had netted five wins and one loss; beating Palmerston North Boys’ would propel them into the following week’s final against Hamilton Boy’s High School. PNBHS had won three of their six Super 8 games, but three losses by seven points or less cruelled their bid for a place in the decider.
But after stirring pre-match challenges were laid down courtesy of the schools’ respective hakas, it was one-way traffic in the first half as hosts Napier Boys’ powered to a 26-0 halftime lead with four unanswered tries.
Palmerston North Boys’ struck back with the first try of the second stanza, but NBHS No.10 Henry Williams and hooker and captain Tyrone Thompson – who is now in the Hurricanes’ system – both completed doubles to seal the result before the hour mark.
The visitors ran in the last two tries of the match to add some respectability to a final 36-19 scoreline.
2019 POLSON BANNER – PALMERSTON NORTH BOYS’ REGAIN PRIZE
It had been a tough follow-up campaign for Napier Boys’ after reaching the 2018 Super 8 final, where they were edged 23-22 by Hamilton Boys’, chalking up just one win and one draw from their first six matches in 2019.
But a trip to Palmerston North to finish the Super 8s gave them an opportunity to retain the coveted Polson Banner with a victory over in-form PNBHS, who had won four of their six Super 8 games.
Played in muddy conditions, it was the away team who got off to a flyer via through a sizzling seventh-minute try to Napier Boys’ centre Jack Sheridan. Palmerston North Boys’ gradually wrestled the ascendancy from their archrivals, however, with fullback Ruben Love, prop Nasser Tato and second five-eighth Josh Ellingham crossing to set up a 17-5 halftime lead.
Napier Boys’ again came out of the blocks faster in the second half and trimmed the deficit to seven points through a try to halfback livewire Angus Kilmister.
Points were at a premium as the rain compounded the already heavy conditions underfoot. Palmerston North Boys’ had a nine-point buffer after their replacement prop Darius Mafileo and Napier Boys’ Reece Henderson trading tries in quick succession.
Love iced a 27-15 result – and the recapturing of the Polson Banner – with a penalty goal on fulltime.
As grassroots sports prepares to return in 2020, SidelineApp eagerly looks forward to news about scheduling of the Polson Banner – and bringing the action LIVE and On Demand to supporters who can’t be on the sidelines.