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Greytown stave off brave Marist

Greytown wing Luke Dingle on the attack against Marist. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Gary Caffell

Marist would have been pondering the “what might have beens” after their narrow 22-26 loss to defending Tui Cup champions Greytown in the Wairarapa-Bush premier division rugby match played in summer-like conditions at Greytown on Saturday.

Behind 20-0 at halftime Marist had turned down four kicks at goal from handy range in the second quarter.

Rather they had chosen to set up lineouts close to the Greytown line and failed to breach the opposition defences on each occasion.

At the time the thinking obviously was that seven points would be better than three, especially with the gap between the two sides on the scoreboard being so large, but, as it happened, it may have produced a victory to Marist in the long run had at least a couple of shots at goal been successfully taken.

That Marist even got within 4pts of victory did, however, speak volumes for their tenacity.

Yes, they did have small periods on attack when they created those goal kicking opportunities but mostly the first 40 minutes were dominated by a Greytown side who clearly had the better of the forward exchanges, and looked slicker in the backs for good measure.

Within 15 minutes they were 13-0 up through a converted try and a couple of penalties and another converted try had them 20 points in front at the break, a remarkable situation considering both teams had gone into the game with unbeaten records.

Flanker Chaz Matthews was a dynamic figure in the loose for the home team, big lock Tim Iro was an impressive runner in broken play, sturdy prop Kurt Simmonds anchored a solid scrum and used his strength to telling effect in the mauls and No 8 and captain Tavita Isaac covered huge territory on attack and defence.

In fact, if there was any player of the match award up for grabs over the whole 80 minutes he would have been the prime contender.

First-five Kingi Kaiwai and fullback Nick Olson were prominent in a backline which generally took their options well.

The second half was a completely different story.

From the moment they recorded their first points, a try, just two minutes into the resumption of play Marist called the tune with Greytown struggling to get into opposition territory, let alone set up more scoring chances.

Prop Ryan Hargood and Wairarapa-Bush reps James Goodger and Liam Devine were spearheads of a Marist pack which gave every bit good as they received, and then some, while the Malatais and Len Eneliko relished the opportunity to regularly display their attacking skills.

At 20-15 to Greytown with still 20 minutes to play it was anybody’s game and then after Olson had banged over a couple of important penalties for Greytown to edge them out to 26-15 Marist capped off what had been an excellent second spell for them by recording a converted try close to fulltime.

It wasn’t enough for victory but the visitors had certainly played their part in keeping the good-sized crowd on their toes and well entertained.

The results of the other three premier division matches played on Saturday produced the expected winners but the margins were closer than most pundits would have predicted.

Gladstone had to battle right to the very end for their 22-20 win over Martinborough as did Carterton for their 32-27 success over Eketahuna while Pioneer were kept honest in their 41-21 success over East Coast.

Unofficial competition points: Gladstone 14, Greytown and Pioneer 13, Marist 11, Carterton 7, Eketahuna and Martinborough 2 and East Coast 0.

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