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The evenly matched teams lined out for the Star-Pirates game, won by Pirates eight points to five.
In spite of the poor ground conditions, both teams attempted to brighten the game, but found the mud hard to overcome. A nmber of personal affrays in the second half attracted as much attention as scoring moves.
Star looked the better team in the early stages of the game, but became jaded as the match went on. The Star forwards lacked purpose and the lighter Pirates forwards gradually got the better of them. Both backlines worked fairly well but there was little chance of penetrating in the heavy footing. Some individual dashes, particularly by Star players, heightened interest in the game.
Pirates owed a lot to the burly lock, H. McCulloch, who guided the team through the dangerous period when the struggle for forward supremacy was on. He was well supported by Ted McDowell, a tireless attacker, who showed presence of mind on more than one occasion.
Impressive in the Star pack was J. Harding who played well until he retired injured.
The Pirates backs matched their Star counterparts in most phases of play. Fine exhibitions were given by their first five eight, W. Montgomery (Star) and Owen Brown (Pirates). J. Phillips left wing for Star, played his best game for some time. Ray Harper, J. Faithful and G. Sly were in good form for Pirates, but perhaps the most encouraging performances was that of the youthful full-back, Ted Mortimer. He scored Pirates first try in striking fashion by coming into the backline and running full tilt for the goal line. He had so much pace on that Burns' tackle failed to stop him. Late in the second half he kicked a grand goal with the heavy ball from almost on the side line.
When Harding went off injured, the Star team was reshuffled. Anderson (centre) went into hooker, Jones filled Harding's place as lock and Smith moved out to prop. L. Bell came on as a replacement and went to full-back for Burns to become centre three-quarter.
Ray Smith (Pirates breakaway) also retired injured and was replaced by Joe Mainland.
Pirates: Mortimer (1) (1 Con) Sly (1)
Star: L. Bell (1) Milne (1 Con)
The teams were:
Pirates - E. Mortimer, L. Sutherland, R. Harper, R.J. Boniface, J.S. Faithful, O. Brown, G. Sly,
J. Bennett, R. Homer, Brian Nicholson, H. McCulloch, R.Smith, E. McDowell, L. Thomas, A. Strathern.
Star - B. Burns, W.J. Milne, R. A. Anderson, J. Phillips, G. Polletti, W. Montgomery, A. Bell, W. Mathieson, M.B. Harrington, F. O'Donnell, J. Harding, B. Hewatt, N. Jones, N. Smith, N. Withington.
Referee - Mr B. McKenzie.
Reference: Pirates Earned Victory against Star; The Southland Times August 1955
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