Jill Penn presents Greytown captain Tavita Isaac with the Lane Penn Trophy. PHOTOS/PETE NIKOLAISON
Greytown turned on the class to win the inaugural Town and Country Championship for the Lane Penn Trophy. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE wraps up Saturday’s action.
Discipline leads to victory
A powerful first-half surge by Greytown ensured they would be the first club to have their name etched on the Lane Penn Trophy for the Town and Country Championship.
Greytown gave their large, passionate home crowd plenty to cheer about as they shot out to a 30-point lead midway through the first half before Eketahuna responded.
The home side were relentless, dominating the forward exchanges, giving the talented backline quality ball to utilise, and they did, scoring some outstanding tries.
Greytown coach Mark Childs was proud of the team’s effort on a special day for the club.
“We said all week, we’ll pay tribute to the Penn family, and that was something we focused on, and it was a big game, and we wanted to do it justice,” Childs said.
“You wouldn’t really dream of that scoreline, but they just put it together for most of the match.
“There were periods we buttoned off, and Eketahuna, they’re not going to give up, scored some tries too.”
Greytown’s victory was marked by the team debuting a club haka in honour of stalwart Andy Holmes, who was made a life member on the day.
Childs said it’s the first time in the club’s 147 years that the club has had their own haka.
“It was an idea I had towards the end of last year just to galvanise the club a bit more towards the Papawai Marae, and it was created by Paora Ammuson and his son Herewini, who plays for us – they wrote and choreographed it.”
The win gives Greytown a four-point lead over Marist in the premier championship race.
Marist scored a late converted try to deny Martinborough their first win of the season in a to-and-fro battle at Martinborough.
The home side led by five points going into the last 10 minutes and were on track to record their first win of the championship. That was until blockbusting prop Jeramiah Mapusua got the ball five metres from the tryline and ploughed over two defenders to score.
First-five Paddy Gluck, who until then had an off-day, slotted the conversion from a handy angle to seal the victory.
It is the second time in three games that Martinborough have lost a game after also conceding a late try, in the 25-27 loss to Pioneer in the first round.
Marist were also coming off a loss to Pioneer [32-42], and captain Peter Beech was rapt with the determination shown by his players.
“It was back and forth, back and forth, and it was one of those ones you just stick in it, and especially winning down in Martinborough, it’s bloody good, and they were near on full strength.”
East Coast 10
A try to flying winger Fiula Tameilau midway through the second half sealed a come-from-behind victory for Carterton on East Coast Old Timers’ Day at Whareama.
The Coasties were on target for their second win of the championship, after scoring two tries from forward drives, and leading 10-3 at the break.
Barnstorming prop Tupou Lea’aemanu closed the gap to three points before Tameilau grabbed the decisive five-pointer for the visitors.
Carterton coach Neil Rodger credited the win to good discipline and a powerful forward effort.
“Our discipline improved, and I don’t think we gave away a penalty in the second half,” he said.
“I don’t think they got into our 22 in the second half, and we starved them of the ball and, in the end, all of the possession we had counted.”
Gladstone pulled away in the final quarter to win a hard-fought encounter over a gutsy Pioneer at Jeans St.
The visitors scored early, only for Pioneer to respond almost immediately. However, further tries gave Gladstone a 25-12 lead at halftime.
The home side closed the gap shortly after the restart, but Gladstone’s superior fitness told in the end, as they pulled away for a commanding victory.
Winger Nathan Chaney stood out for the winners, scoring two tries, both of them long-range efforts.
Gladstone coach Steve Thompson was concerned his team might not back up after their 41-3 trouncing of Martinborough two weeks ago but was happy to walk away with five points against the determined Pioneer side.
Greytown 15; Marist 11; Gladstone; Pioneer 10; Carterton 6; Eketahuna; East Coast 5; Martinborough 2
Tuhirangi retained their lead in the championship with a gutsy 12-8 win away to Greytown. Carterton are second after their 29-17 defeat of East Coast, Masterton Red Star had a surprisingly easy 53-19 victory over Puketoi, Martinborough edged Marist 32-26, and Gladstone thumped Pioneer 72-5.