White horse score to settle


What’s in a point?

The difference between winning the oldest trophy in New Zealand rugby history, the White Horse Cup, and losing it.

This week Wakatipu Rugby became the first club in 92 years to protest a White Horse result after the Wakatipu Premiers’ draw last Saturday against cup-holders Cromwell.

Clyde rugby fan and historian Ray Goodall, who wrote a book about the cup in 2016, tells Mountain Scenehe’s never heard of that type of White Horse protest before.

The only time it’s ever previously been forfeited was when a winning side was found to have fielded an unregistered player, he says.

In 2016, Goodall told Scene‘s sister paper, Otago Daily Times, the cup was free of “rugby politics”.

Not any more.

There wasn’t a scoreboard in play during Saturday’s game in Cromwell and while it appears the half-time score isn’t disputed (26-6 to Wakatipu), the final score – a 31-all draw – has left many scratching their heads and crunching numbers.

The official match report in the ODT says Cromwell, in the second 40 minutes, scored three tries, converted two, and slotted two penalties.

Wakatipu Prems’ assistant coach Brett And-erson’s staying tight-lipped, due to the appeal.

However, Mountain Scene understands the Waka side’s adamant Cromwell converted all three tries and only one of two penalties was successful, which would have given them 30 points on the board – one point shy of Wakatipu, which scored one unconverted try in the second half.

Cromwell coach Matt Ludemann says his captain, and kicker, asked referee Matt Green before the last successful con-version what the score was and was told “29-31”.

At the same time it’s understood Wakatipu was told by a sideline official it was 28-31.

Waka, in the dying minutes, got possession, held on to the ball and at full-time kicked it out, thinking they’d won.

A spectator, who says it was like being “in the Twilight Zone”, says Cromwell weren’t celebrating until a couple of minutes later when Green called it a draw.

And then confusion reigned supreme.

Management from both sides apparently kept score throughout the game, but those numbers are also understood to conflict.

Now it’s up to the Otago Rugby board to sort out who rightfully holds the White Horse, but without any known video footage, that may be easier said than done.

The board will meet tonight.

If Wakatipu did win, its first defence would be this Saturday against Clyde Earnscleugh.

If Cromwell’s found to be the rightful winner, the White Horse will go on the line again next Saturday when they go up against Maniototo – where you’d hope the scoreboard will be in use.