Jack Loader had a strong game in Carterton’s win over Gladstone. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Tavita Isaac was outstanding for Greytown on the day he was made a life member of the club. PHOTO/KYLIE EVANS

On the day he was made a life member of the Greytown Rugby Club, captain Tavita Isaac led from the front as his team came back to win a gripping contest over Martinborough 17-16 with a penalty kick in the dying minutes.

Martinborough had the better of the first half in front of a big home crowd for Greytown Old Timers’ Day and went out to a deserved 16-7 halftime lead through tries to winger Nathan Hunt and lock George Bunnett.

Hunt’s try was a beauty. Hot on defence, Martinborough forced a breakdown turnover and Alex Priest found space down the blindside and fed Hunt, who sprinted 60 metres to score.

Greytown’s only points of the first half came through busy prop Lewis Bush, who surged over the line after a series of attacking scrums.

The bigger Greytown forward pack gradually gained more dominance as the game progressed and often had the green and black scrum reeling backwards.

An attacking scrum was the platform for the home side’s second try, when second-five Teihana Brown broke the defensive line and handed off to centre Lii Samuels to score under the post.

Despite a wealth of possession and territorial dominance Greytown couldn’t break through the determined Martinborough defence. Bush went close to scoring his second try but was just short.

The winning of the game eventually came down to a penalty from 18m out and 15m in from touch, which first-five Raniera Petersen coolly sent through the posts to earn a hard-fought victory.

Greytown assistant coach Jonathan Tanner said the team just had to do it for Isaac on the day he received his life membership.

“To lose today would’ve been unforgivable, and it really was for him and I think that’s why they stuck in there until the end,” he said.

“We probably didn’t get much reward for our dominance in the scrums but ultimately, once the team did what we wanted them to do, they did it very well. But it took us the whole game to do it.

“Everyone was talking up our forward pack all week, and Martinborough would have taken that to heart, and they certainly did. They muscled up and it was good to see.”

Isaac was also full of praise for the performance by both teams.

“Marty certainly made us work for it more than any other team this year so full credit to them – they wanted to win as much as we did today,” he said.

“I like to think that we learnt from the first half and we definitely gave it a better shot in the second half.”

Carterton had a rare win over fierce rivals Gladstone in the wet slippery conditions at Carterton.

The final score was 23-7 and Carterton assistant coach Neil Roger credited the team’s defensive effort.

“Our defence won us the game,” he said. “It was a solid effort across the park.

“The conditions didn’t dictate too much. There was still a fair amount of ball movement from both teams, but we just seemed to be able to shut them down when they tried to get the
ball wide.”

Roger said the forwards went well, and a pushover try from a scrum to barnstorming No 8 Jack Loader in the first half was a turning point in the game.

Wairarapa-Bush flanker Johan van Vliet scored all three tries as Eketahuna came from behind to upset Marist 19-16 in heavy conditions at Eketahuna.

Marist led 10-7 at halftime and then usual lock-flanker James Goodger, who was playing as a winger, kicked two early second half penalties for a 16-7 lead.

The powerful home side’s forward pack gradually gained more traction in the trying conditions and were rewarded with two more tries to give Eketahuna their first win of the competition.

East Coast were too good for Pioneer, cruising to a 41-20 victory on Old Timers’ Day at Whareama.

Fullback Bryan Arnold was in outstanding form crossing for three tries, while flying Fijian winger Billy Levri scored two tries in the seven-try rout.

Pioneer weren’t helped by having a squad of only 18 players, which had assistant coach and former Cook Island international  and professional player Stan Wright taking his place on the bench. The big prop did come on in the second half and made an immediate impact with the Pioneer scrum gaining some dominance.

Pioneer never gave up and fought back with two tries to prop Buddha Mason, but in the end the Coasties had too much forward power and pace out wide.

Scores [home teams first]

Premier Moose Kapene Cup

Eketahuna 19 Marist 16; Greytown 17 Martinborough 16; Carterton 23 Gladstone 7; East Coast 41 Pioneer 20.

Standings

Greytown 14; East Coast 11; Carterton 10; Marist 7*; Martinborough 6, Gladstone, Eketahuna 5; Pioneer 0.

* Marist deducted three points for a team sheet breach in the first round

Senior Reserves

East Coast 38 Puketoi 5; Pioneer 10 Marist 12; Featherston 10 Eketahuna 33; Greytown 62 Carterton 0; Martinborough 19 Gladstone 32.