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Pioneer seal last-gasp draw

Carterton fullback Corey McFadzean on the burst against Pioneer. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Gary Caffell

The 22-all draw fairly reflected the merits of the two teams when Carterton and Pioneer did battle in their opening round Wairarapa-Bush premier division club rugby match on Saturday.

It took a converted try in the dying stages to draw Pioneer level but it came after a period of sustained pressure by the visitors who deserved to share the spoils.

There was no lack of physicality in the forward exchanges where a couple of stalwarts in Jacko Hull and Lochie McFadzean starred for Carterton along with new faces in lock David Gordon and flanker Ethan Pinfold.

In No 8 Jonte Miller, Pioneer had a powerhouse with his surging runs in broken play and rugged close quarter defence.

Matt Kawana, Jaden Mason and Conon Gray were all prominent as well.

The two backlines did their best to adopt an attacking approach on ground conditions which were surprisingly firm considering the big wet over the previous week and there was no more elusive runner on the paddock than Carterton fullback Corey McFadzean who was seldom halted by the first tackle.

Midfielder Siona Va’eno also used his bulk and speed to telling effect on occasions for the home team and halfback Daryl Pickering generally chose his options wisely.

In winger Nikora Ewe, Pioneer had a player who invariably created problems for the opposition defence whenever he had ball in hand and halfback Joseph Thompson was always a threat when he decided to go it alone.

The other two premier division matches played on Saturday produced sizeable wins.

Gladstone belied their slow starter status earned in recent seasons by running in seven tries in their 50-22 win over East Coast, who managed three of their own to make it something of a try fest for spectators at Gladstone.

Defending Tui Cup champions Greytown were expected to get a decent hurry up from Martinborough in their game at Greytown but the hosts were the dominant side, running in five tries to one and winning by a comfortable 34-10.

Marist and Eketahuna had a keen duel on the artificial turf at Memorial Park, Masterton on Friday night with Marist winning 24-15.

Territorially, it was very much a game of two halves with Marist having the better of the first, at the end of which they led 12-10, and Eketahuna likewise in the second.

Wairarapa-Bush flanker Liam Devine was in outstanding form for Marist, getting though a power of work on attack and defence.

He got good support from James Goodger, Rhys Severn and newcomer Ryan Hargood.

The pick of their backs were Pua Tafa and Leo Eneliko.

Player of the game for Eketahuna had to be loosie Johan Van Vliet who made a number of telling bursts and was also strong on the tackle.

No 8 Brendan Campbell also impressed with his high workrate.

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