Bay of Plenty claim Farah Palmer Championship

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Lynn McConnell     28 Oct 2017     Getty Images

But in wet, windy conditions at Blake Park, the home team had to do it the hard way, having scored their only points two minutes into the game and then having to hold out an Otago side who enjoyed long periods of possession and position.
Home fans were given a nervous last few moments with Otago mounting a strong surge at the line and only failing when a penalty was conceded a metre out from the home line.

Bay of Plenty's forward power was put into effect in the scrums where they had it all over the Otago side. Prop Luka Connor led the way in that department and was a constant force with the ball in hand in getting the ball over the advantage line. And it was her turnover in the final moment that ensured the win.

Backing her efforts was No.8, Sequoia Te Aonui who was especially strong off the back of the scrum into the wind in the second half.

Bay of Plenty will move into the Premiership section of the competition next year.

Otago played into the wind and conceded an early try after Bay of Plenty first five-eighths Shaye Whareaorere put a kick through to the in-goal area where wing Sapphire Tapsell showed her speed to win the race for the touchdown.

However, showing superior wet weather savvy, the Otago side kept the ball tight to work their way back into the game with long periods of possession and plenty of pick-and-go work which proved the right formula in scoring their try to flanker Georgia Mason.

When they did give the ball to their backs second five-eighths Soraya Umaga-Jensen and centre Greer Muir made good ground and it was Muir's strong break that laid the foundation in the lead-up to Mason's try in the 24th minute.

Bay of Plenty lost centre Aryahn Clarke near the end of the first half when she suffered a neck injury and had to be replaced. Otago No.8 Angie Sisifa suffered a bad knee injury but stayed on the field in an impressive display of leadership in spite of limping her way through proceedings for much of the game.

Putting the boot to ball with the wind at their backs, Otago attempted to pin Bay of Plenty deep in their own half, but on occasion Bay fullback Crystal Mayes took the ball in the goalmouth and cleared out on a superb run to take the ball back into the Otago half.

But as had been the case after an earlier break by Otago first five-eighths Sheree Hume who split the Bay defence with a fine run, they were unable to secure points in the follow-up play.

Scorers: Bay of Plenty 7 (Sapphire Tapsell try; Crystal Mayes con) Otago 5 (Georgia Mason try). HT: 7-5