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Gladstone hold firm

First five-eighth Brad Griffith crossing for Gladstone’s second try. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Jake Beleski

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Two consolation tries were not enough for Carterton to salvage anything from their Tui Cup premier rugby clash with Gladstone in Carterton on Saturday.

Twice in the second half Gladstone were reduced to 14 men, firstly when midfielder Chris Renwick was sin-binned and again when lock Andrew McLean was shown a red card with about 10 minutes remaining.

It didn’t matter in the end, however, as Gladstone held firm for a valuable 22-14 win.

Only one try was scored in the first half, with Gladstone’s Matt Macrae producing an angled run from about 40m out and leaving a trail of defenders in his wake on the way to the line.

Carterton arguably had the better of the physical exchanges throughout the opening stanza, but Gladstone added a penalty to take a 10-0 lead into the halftime break.

First five-eighth Brad Griffith extended Gladstone’s lead in the second spell when he stepped past a couple of defenders to crash over.

Carterton continued to dominate at scrum time and in the tight collisions but failed to make the most of their advantage.

Losing players to the sin-bin seemed to galvanise the Gladstone side, as they rallied to score a third try, through Andrew Smith, before fulltime.

Carterton’s only scoring plays came too close to the end to snatch even a losing bonus point from the match, as Utah Walker and Darryl Pickering got themselves on the score sheet.

Gladstone coach Steve Thompson was thrilled to come away with a hard-fought win, and paid tribute to his side’s determined defensive effort.

“They had a series of scrums in the first half that started outside our 22 and we kept getting penalised.

“They kept taking the scrums and pushed us back to about 5m from our line but we held them out, which was a great boost for us.”

Thompson said building up a handy lead was important, because they had fallen away from their game plan in the final quarter.

“We lost Andrew McLean to a red card for a tip tackle and had to defend a lot after that.

“We missed a few attacking opportunities as well, but to get the win down there was a good result.”

No 8 Eddie Cranston led the strong defensive effort for Gladstone, while their backs looked the more dangerous of the two outfits with ball in hand.

Lachie McFadzean and Pickering were the pick of the bunch for the home team.

In other matches, Pioneer halted Martinborough’s recent charge with a 33-31 win, Greytown beat Eketahuna 27-20, and Marist were too strong for East Coast, winning 34-24.

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