Eketahuna celebrate winning the Moose Kapene Cup. PHOTO/CHRIS COGDALE
Eketahuna fight back to win Moose Kapene Cup and an 11-point gap has developed between the top four and bottom four. Times-Age sportswriter Chris Cogdale reviews Saturday’s club rugby.
Eketahuna came from behind to beat Carterton and win the Moose Kapene Cup for the first round of the Wairarapa-Bush Premier Club Rugby Championship.
Down 8-11 at halftime, Eketahuna, playing at home, lifted their game in the second half playing “downhill” and were rewarded with four Josh Pepperell penalties to record a 20-11 victory.
Carterton will rue not making the most of their opportunities in the first half.
They did open the scoring when big prop Blair Heming forced his way over the line from a driving maul after one minute.
Eketahuna hit back when former Wairarapa-Bush flanker Johan van Vliet followed up on a kick from winger Faumui Ausage and dived on the loose ball in the corner.
Carterton fullback Utah Walker added two penalties and Pepperell kicked the first of his five penalties in the only other scoring in the first 40 minutes.
Carterton had the home team on the back foot for much of the first half but were often let down at vital times with sloppy handling in the slippery conditions, and it would’ve been Eke who went into halftime the happier team.
The drizzle that had been intermittent in the first half settled in for the second 40 minutes, playing into the hands of the Eketahuna forward pack who asserted more and more dominance as the game progressed.
Pepperell generally directed play well keeping Carterton pinned in their half for long periods.
Carterton did have their chances from penalties early in the half but opted for lineouts instead of kicking for goal, but they invariably turned over the ball with some shambolic lineout play.
Pepperell sealed the victory with three penalties in the last 10 minutes.
Van Vliet stood out for Eke, with strong defence, ability to force turnovers and powerful running, while Ausage showed a good turn of speed and caused the defence problems with his winding runs.
Eketahuna captain Robbie Anderson was thrilled with the win.
“We made it hard for ourselves but held our nerve and we took our chances. Our forwards were awesome in the second half and we wore them down.”
For Carterton second-five Corey McFadzean had a strong game containing Eke dangerman Simanu Simanu while No 8 Jack Loader had a strong game despite his forward pack often going backwards at scrum time.
Gladstone won a topsy-turvy encounter with Marist 34-27 at Gladstone to remain in second place in the championship.
Marist opened the scoring and took a 10-0 lead after 10 minutes, only for Gladdy to hit back with four tries in ten minutes and a 22-10 lead.
Marist responded with two converted tries to go up 24-22, before the home team scored a converted try for a 29-24 halftime lead.
While the first half was hectic, the second 40 minutes was rather mundane; the only scoring a Gladstone try and a Marist penalty to secure a losing bonus point.
Stars of the show for the home team were their talented Fijians Epeli Rayaqayaqa and Inia Katia, who caused Marist all sorts of problems playing in the unaccustomed positions of second-five and centre.
Masterton Red Star turned on probably their best performance of the season going down 12-52 to Martinborough at Colombo Road.
Down 0-40 at halftime another huge score looked imminent. However, a strong second half by the forward pack had Stars pick up tries to prop Joe Hei Hei and flanker Karl Thompson and restrict Martinborough to 12 second half points.
A hat trick of tries to dynamic winger Moo Moo Falaniko was the highlight of Greytown’s 23-5 victory over East Coast. Shayne Harmon crossed for the other try as the home team turned on a clinical display to grab a vital bonus point.
The weekend’s result has seen an 11-point gap develop from Greytown and Martinborough in third equal place back to Marist and Carterton in fifth equal.
Scores [Home teams first]
Eketahuna 20 [Johan van Vliet try, Josh Pepperell 5 pens], Carterton 11 [Blair Hemming try, Utah Walker 2 puns], HT 8-11; Gladstone 34, Marist 27, HT 29-24; Masterton Red Star 12, Martinborough 52, HT 0-40; Greytown 23, East Coast 5.
Points after seven rounds
Eketahuna 28, Gladstone 27, Greytown and Martinborough 26, Carterton and Marist 15, East Coast 12, Masterton Red Star 0.