Greytown wing AJ Manley scoring a try against Pioneer last weekend. PHOTO/KYLIE ALEXANDER
By Gary Caffell
Gladstone and Greytown can rest easy.
With two preliminary round matches still to be played they have already guaranteed their spots in the semi-finals of the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union’s Tui Cup premier division competition.
Even better for Gladstone.
Their 47pts means they will definitely have home advantage in their semi on July 22, and while Greytown’s 44pts means they can be overhauled by third-placed Martinborough (35pts) for the right to host the other semi, the odds would have to be firmly in Greytown’s favour.
They will have a battle on their hands against Carterton this coming weekend but then will confront bottom-placed East Coast seven days later.
The other two semi-final spots are still wide open with Martinborough, Carterton (32pts), Pioneer (32pts), Marist (29pts) and Eketahuna (28pts) all in the reckoning.
Martinborough do have East Coast at home this Saturday and you can safely wager coach James Bruce will be stressing the fact that a win there will virtually seal a place in the crucial top four for them.
They will be away to Eketahuna the following weekend for a game which could go either way.
Carterton have a tough finish to the preliminary rounds, Greytown at home followed by Marist at Memorial Park, while Pioneer are in the same boat, first against Eketahuna at Eketahuna and then against Gladstone at home.
Marist are no better off, having Gladstone followed by Carterton, while Eketahuna will at least have home advantage against both Pioneer and Martinborough.