In 2007, after many years of consistently good results, the Nelson College First XV achieved something that it had never managed before. They reached the National Top Four Finals.
The Squad. 2007
Captain: Daniel Glover
Players: Tom Marshall, Sam Westenra, Jerome Harimate, Ricky Kennett, Kim Bateman, Jermaine Stone, James Lash, Ethan James, Kaide Whiting, Ita Vaea, Mitchell Thwaites, Caleb Hall, Henry Taylor, Jordan Judge, Tom Currie, Sione Tau, Nathan Va’auli, James Hadfield, Sam Prattley, Morgan Tiibin, Scott Bade.
The Numbers. 2007
Points For: 757
Points Against: 226
Average Score: 34-10
Knocking On Heaven’s Door: 1996-2006
1996: Captained by Murray Roeske and coached by Garry Barkle, Nelson won 25 of their 32 games, winning the annual Quadrangular Tournament for the first time since 1982, beating Wanganui Collegiate 29-15 in the final. Ross Soper was the star of the team scoring 336 points!
1997: Captained by Ross Soper and coached by Garry Barkle, they won 29 of their 34 games, scoring 1291 points and conceding only 275. One of the finest teams the school has produced won their games by an average score of 38-8 over the season! Nelson beat Christ’s College in the annual Quadrangular final 55-7, a record score for a final.
1998: Captained by William Andrew and coached by Garry Barkle and Ross Lienert, won 22 of 25 games, including the Senior B club final against Collingwood and the annual Quadrangular against Wellington College 13-10. A speedy team was also entered into the Condor Sevens where they progressed all the way to the semi finals, losing to eventual winners Western Heights High School.
2000: A fine side captained by Shane Grieve and coached by Ross Lienert won 10 of 13 interschool games, though they only finished 3rd at the annual Quadrangular. A high scoring team, they posted 641 points, against only 298. Andrew Goodman scored 162 points.
2001: Coached by Peter Grigg and captained by Robbie Malneck only won 12 of 19 games, failing to make the semi finals of the first Press Cup. However they did win the annual Quadrangular, beating Wellington College 20-13 in the final.
2004: Captained by David Crouchley and coached by Peter Grigg and Ron Kelly won 13 of their 17 games. They were runners up in the Press Cup and annual Quadrangular.
2005: Coached by Peter Grigg and Ron Kelly and captained by Hamish Morrison, they suffered only 5 defeats in 21 games. In the Press Cup final Nelson was hammered by unbeaten National Champions Christchurch Boys High School and in the Quadrangular final edged by Wellington champions, Wellington College.
2007. Traditional Results
- Southland BHS, 31-5
- Kings High School, 37-11
- Wanganui Collegiate, 78–0
- Wellington College, 10-18
- Rongotai College, 18–7
2007. Press Cup Results
- Timaru BHS, 45-7
- St Bede’s, 20-12
- West Coast Schools, 111-0
- Marlborough Boys’ College, 31-13
- St Andrews College, 22-9
- St Thomas College, 48-7
- Shirley Boys’ High School, 28-5
- Burnside High School, 66-0
- Christchurch Boys’ High School, 17-15
- Waimea College, 36–10
- Christ’s College, 38–7
- Lincoln High School, 34–7
- Christchurch Boys’ High School, 9-3 (Semi Final)
Press Cup Final
Both St Bede’s and Nelson College entered the 2007 Press Cup final unbeaten. St Bede’s, who were in the midst of defending the Moascar Cup a school record 17 times for the season, had won 24 of 25 games and enjoyed what the Bedean later labelled a “vintage season.” In a classic final Nelson narrowly became South Island Champions, 31-26. In front of an estimated crowd of 3000 spectators Nelson surged to a 21-5 lead after just 15 minutes. St Bede’s surged back to tie the game at 21-21 with 22 minutes left. Nelson fought their way back and despite St Bede’s scoring three tries overall, scored by Jason Morgan, Hamish Catherwood and Alex Ryan, Nelson reclaimed the lead when replacement winger Kim Bateman went over and James Lash continued his great goal kicking to clinch the victory.
National Top 4
- Otago Boys’ High School, 31-7 (South Island Final)
- Mount Albert Grammar, 13-26 (Semi Final)
- Hamilton Boys High School, 3-31 (3rd Place Playoff)
- Nelson won the Trustbank Cup and the South Island quadrangular tournament, beating King’s High School in the final.
- James Lash scored a Press Cup record 177 points (10 tries, 50 conversions, 7 penalty goals, 2 drop goals) passing the 173 Colin Slade scored in 2005 for Christchurch Boys High School. Lash’s record was passed by Christ’s Marty McKenzie in 2010, McKenzie scoring 236 points.
- Wellington College was unbeaten in 2007 winning 21 and drawing one game. They won the “Quad” for a record 5th year in a row. (Nelson’s record for most wins in a row is four, achieved twice from 1946-49 and 1958-1961.)
- James Lash, James Hadfield, Jerome Harimate and Ricky Kennett represented the South Island Under 19s.