Greytown’s Usoali Samuel taking the ball up in their match against Marist at Memorial Park on Saturday. Marist won 25-17 to end their rivals’ unbeaten run. PHOTO/KYLIE EVANS.
Greytown’s unbeaten run ends and Eketahuna’s defence give them a share of the lead. Times-Age sportswriter Chris Cogdale reviews the weekend’s club action.
Strong defence and taking their limited opportunities had Eketahuna beating Gladstone 13-0 at home on Saturday and take a share of the lead in the Moose Kapene Cup standings.
After a very physical first half, which finished scoreless, the match was broken open when speedy Samoan fullback Vaifagaloa Mamoe, who was making his debut for Eketahuna, latched on to a loose ball, beat two defenders and ran 60 metres to score the only try of the match.
Much of the result can be attributed to the Eketahuna forward pack who generally got the better of the Gladstone eight.
An interesting newcomer to the Eketahuna team was the cousin of former Wallaby, Will Skelton – Clinton Keil-Skelton, who stands at 2.01m [6ft 7in] and weighs 130kg. He played the last 20 minutes at lock and impressed with his power and mobility.
The result hadw defending champions Gladstone fall to third in the standings.
Martinborough continued their resurgence with a confidence boosting 26-16 away win over Carterton.
Martinborough coach James Bruce said an improved defensive effort in the first half, where they had only five missed tackles, compared with 26 the week before, was key to the victory.
A try just before halftime gave the visitors a four-point lead at the breather.
A brilliant try near the end of the game to in-form winger Nathan Hunt, where he chipped over the opposing winger and beat the fullback to score, earned the visitors a valuable bonus point. Martinborough are in fourth place, while Carterton are now six points outside the top four in seventh.
Marist showed with their 25-17 defeat of Greytown that, on their day, they can beat any team in the competition.
Not only did the victory at Memorial Park keep Marist in touch with the top four, it ended Greytown’s impressive unbeaten start to the championship.
An exceptional defensive effort, especially in the second half, where Greytown threw everything but the kitchen sink at them, earned Marist a deserved victory.
Co-captain James Goodger, playing in what many say is his best position at blindside flanker, was in outstanding form, not only in general play, but also snaffling ball from Greytown lineouts.
At Whareama, East Coast moved a step closer to the top four with a 60-5 demolition of Masterton Red Star.
Again, the Masterton Red Star forward pack competed fiercely but once the Coasties spread the ball wide, they had too much pace and skill, running in 10 tries.
SCORES [home teams first]
Eketahuna 13 [Vaifagaloa Mamoe try, Josh Pepperell 2 pen, con] Gladstone 0. HT: 0-0; Marist 25 Greytown 17. HT: 17-10; Carterton 16 Martinborough 26; East Coast 60 Masterton Red Star 5.
Provisional standings [after 5 rounds]
Greytown 19, Eketahuna 19, Gladstone 17, Martinborough 16, Marist 13, East Coast 11, Carterton 10, Masterton Red Star 0.
Marist 22 Greytown 69; Martinborough 10 Tuhirangi 38; Pioneer Old Boys 26 Carterton 29; East Coast 12 Featherston 39. Puketoi: Bye.
Tuhirangi, 15, Greytown, 15, Carterton 15, Puketoi 10, Pioneer Old Boys 10, Martinborough 10, Featherston 9, Marist 8, Eketahuna 5, Gladstone 1, East Coast 0.