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Bonus point seals Kapene Cup

Gladstone lock Andrew McLean shows the determination which saw him score both his team’s tries in their 14-7 win over Pioneer. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Gary Caffell

The securing of a bonus point for scoring four or more tries guaranteed Greytown the Chris Kapene Cup when Wairarapa-Bush premier division rugby competition games continued on Saturday.

With the much sought after trophy going to the leading team at the end of one complete round of matches there were just two teams, Greytown and Gladstone, vying for the major honours going into the seventh and last set of fixtures in that series.

As the form book suggested both teams won their matches, but whereas Greytown managed the four tries in their 24-6 victory over East Coast at Greytown — to move to 29 points overall — Gladstone scored just the two tries in their 14-7 success over Pioneer to finish on 28pts.

Up against an East Coast side still looking for their first win, Greytown did not have everything their own way but in the end they were good enough to run in the all-important four tries through busy loose forward Chaz Matthews, Hamish Meyrick, AJ Manley and Lewis Bush.

Gladstone were always likely to meet spirited opposition at their home venue from a Pioneer side still well in the reckoning for a semi-final spot in the Tui Cup further down the track.

There was, however, no question which of the two teams had the ascendancy in the first half in both terms of possession and territory.

Gladstone started as if they meant business and maintained the momentum through most of the opening 40 minutes.

They would have been disappointed that it took them virtually all that period to put the first points on the board, a converted try to lock Andrew McLean.

It was pretty much the same story in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Gladstone launching forward drive after forward drive in the wintery conditions.

When the impressive McLean crashed over near the upright for a second converted try it was hard to escape the feeling that the floodgates might be about to open.

That they didn’t spoke volumes for the tenacity of Pioneer, who suddenly seemed to find a new lease of life and not only evened up the battle for possession but actually started to edge the home team in that department.

Midfielder Nikora Ewe showed just why he has been brought into the Wairarapa-Bush squad by making a couple of telling breaks before his team registered a try of their own and the conversion saw them trailing by just 7-14.

Now it was Gladstone’s turn to feel the pressure and with Pioneer launching attack after attack, mainly through their forwards, their defence was fully extended.

But even with No 8 Eddie Cranston spending time in the sin bin they were able to hold on and secure the victory.

In other premier division games Carterton moved to third on the competition table with a hard-fought 18-15 win over Marist, who bounced back well from their hefty defeat at the hands of Gladstone the previous weekend, while Martinborough surprised with a victory over Eketahuna.

The surprise wasn’t so much the result but the margin of victory, Martinborough winning by a commanding 46-12 and leapfrogging Eketahuna on the points table as a consequence.

Tui Cup competition points are: Greytown 29, Gladstone 28, Carterton 21, Pioneer 20, Martinborough 18, Eketahuna 16, Marist 14 and East Coast 0.

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