Jack Beatson beats the Marist defence to score Greytown’s opening try. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV
Only six points separate first and sixth on a congested Moose Kapene Cup points table. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE reviews the fourth round of premier club rugby.
A reality check to his players by captain Peter Beech under the posts stirred Marist to a stunning come-from-behind 28-27 victory over previously unbeaten Greytown at Memorial Park No 2.
A brilliant try to Greytown substitute fullback Gracyn Evans, who hit the gap off a superb pass from impressive second-five Teihana Brown, was converted by Raniera Petersen giving the competition front-runners a 27-18 lead with 28 minutes to play.
Beech told the boys the season was on the line and if they fell over here, “that’s it, and we’ve just got to get back out there and keep turning up”.
The Marist players responded and lifted their effort.
Dangerous fullback Tafa Tafa threatened to close the gap when he counterattacked down the sideline, only to be brought down in a superb cover tackle by the young Evans.
James Goodger narrowed the score to 21-26 with about 20 minutes to play, but that was one of the loose forward’s final acts as he was forced from the field with a rib injury.
The defining moment came in the 73rd minute when a charge-down of a Greytown clearing kick by halfback Ala Malatai bounced nicely for brother Soli to score, leaving it to first-five Paddy Gluck to kick the winning conversion.
Beech said it was just one of those games – sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t.
“We had a really good build-up during the week, and getting James Goodger back was a plus, with what he does around the field and his goalkicking, and we had Troy Para senior come in and talk to the guys and Paddy Rimene, and they’re very motivational,” he said.
The intent of both teams to run the ball was evident from the start, and it was Greytown, who were first to touchdown when winger Jack Beatson dived over in the corner.
Tafa Tafa responded shortly afterwards to give the home side a 10-5 lead, before Petersen beat two tackles and stretched out to score.
A Goodger penalty and Soli Malatai try gave Marist an 18-10 lead before Brown scored under the posts, which was converted for a halftime score of 18-17.
Greytown coach Mark Childs said it was a game they should have nailed but they took their foot off the throat when they went out to a nine-point lead.
There was late drama at Martinborough where the home team came from 15 points down with 15 minutes to play to secure a 39-37 victory over Carterton.
In a topsy-turvy game, Martinborough went out to an early 17-0 lead, but then Carterton fought back, and their dominance was rewarded with a 37-22 lead with about 15 minutes to play.
That’s when Martinborough’s big names stepped up with centre Tristan Flutey and winger Nathan scoring tries and second-five Tipene Haira kicking the conversions and the winning penalty with five minutes to play.
James Bruce said it a was game they won but probably shouldn’t have and he put the victory down to impact off the bench.
However, he said it was very entertaining.
“Everyone said it was a great game to watch, it wasn’t for a coach, but it was for a spectator, because there were some really good tries from both teams,” he said.Eketahuna withstood a strong second half resurgence by Pioneer to win their clash at Jeans St 26-20.
Eketahuna dominated the set pieces in the first half.
The scrum was strong, while impressive young lock Tom McKay reigned in the lineouts.
They made the most of their possession and territorial advantage to take a 21-8 halftime lead.
The injection of former Cook Island international prop and Pioneer assistant coach Stan Wright after 60 minutes changed the complexion of the game.
The Pioneer scrum was much more solid giving the backs more room to move, with second Nikora Ewe making the most of the extra space.
Although Pioneer scored two tries, it wasn’t enough and Eketahuna held on.
East Coast again showed they will be a force to be reckoned with when the playoffs come around with a determined 22-17 win over Gladstone at Gladstone.
The Coasties had the better of the forward game throughout and made the most of their opportunities.
Although the final score was close, East Coast were always in control, with a late Gladstone try flattering the home side.
Scores [home teams first]
Premier Moose Kapene Cup
Marist 28 Greytown 27; Martinborough 39 Carterton 37; Gladstone 17 East Coast 22; Pioneer 20 Eketahuna 26.
Eketahuna 0 Puketoi 18; Greytown 56 Pioneer 15; Marist 10 East Coast 27; Gladstone 34 Featherston 5; Martinborough 17 Carterton 41.
Standings – Moose Kapene Cup
Greytown 16; East Coast 15; Carterton, Marist 12*; Martinborough 11, Eketahuna 10; Gladstone 6; Pioneer 1.
* Marist deducted three points for a team sheet breach in the first round.