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12-year wait over

Greytown 19
Masterton Red Star 32

Tears were shed by the Masterton Red Star Rams faithful as the club’s premier team ended an almost 12-year drought with an upset victory over last year’s beaten finalists Greytown at Greytown.

Rams coach Chris Senior, who played in that 2012 victory, set a simple game plan to nullify the dangerous Greytown backs and take them on in the forwards, and it worked a treat, as they overturned a 19–12 halftime deficit and scored 20 unanswered second-half points.

“They’ve got such classy backs that we had to try and give them no source to get the ball to the backs; that was the first thing, and we’ve been working hard on our defence, and that finally clicked, and we didn’t give them that space on the outside that the other teams have been beating us with,” said a satisfied Senior, who is now raising the bar for the rest of the season.

“Our first goal was to get points out of the first two games, win one of them and get points in the other; ideally, we were thinking Greytown to get four tries or get within seven would be the first goal and then win the [East] Coast game, but we did one better.”

Senior said a get-together of players, families and kids in the Herbert Street clubrooms the previous Saturday night after the 55–20 loss to Marist set the platform for the championship rounds.

“We got the pool table and table tennis going and had music playing, and we had a bit of chat about goals, and we realistically said we could make the top four, and other than the Greytown first game, Carterton and Marist, the rest of the games were winnable, and that sort of puts you into that fourth spot.

“It means a lot to the young boys, too and now they have that bit of belief; it will be interesting to see how it goes from here.”

Pioneer 12
Marist 57

The Mataitai brothers were in seventh heaven, running in seven of Marist’s nine tries in a one-sided encounter at Jeans Street.

Wairarapa-Bush outside back Charles Mataitai, playing at centre, dotted down four times, while younger brother Willy at second-five continues to impress in his first year out of college, scoring a hat-trick.

Charles Mataitai said the plan was to attack from the start and target the Pioneer midfield, and it paid off, with Willy scoring two tries and Charles one in the first 25 minutes.

“The boys did well, and we exposed Pioneer’s wide side; it was a bit weak [I don’t mean any disrespect], and we just used that,” he explained.

“The plan from the start was to come in and not go easy on Pioneer because if you do, they’re going to get us back.”

The match was effectively over at halftime, with Marist leading 33–7. Pioneer scored the first try of the second half from a well-executed driving maul from a lineout, but from then on, it was all Marist as they ran in another four tries in another confident performance from the steadily improving side.

“It’s going a lot better than what we thought. At the start, we didn’t have all the players we needed, and it’s good to have all the old boys like Rhys [Severn] and Peter Beech back as well, helping us out with all that experience.”

East Coast 22
Eketāhuna 30

“She was ugly, but we’ll take it.”

That was the view of Eketāhuna coach Anthony Rowden as they bagged a precious five points from their tricky away clash at Whareama.

Rowden said both teams had periods of domination, but “a couple of longish-range tries” to halfback Benazzi Ward and first-five Ashton Coates
were ultimately the difference.

“We’ll take the five points, and it is better than our start [to the season]. I’m happy for the team more than anything, and this means we start with a bit of a spring in our step.”

Making the top four is the aim for Eketāhuna, having finished the Lane Penn Cup in fifth place but being competitive against most sides.

Rowden had some sympathy for East Coast, who he said were riddled with injuries, meaning some players had to back up after playing for the senior reserves in the curtain-raiser.

Carterton 45
Martinborough 19

Four converted tries in the first 22 minutes were the catalyst for Carterton’s comprehensive victory over the Lane Penn Cup champions at Carterton.

Promising young prop Will Kloeg and centre Fiula Tameilau each touched down twice as the home side built a 28–0 halftime lead before Martinborough fought back with three of the next four tries and closed the gap to 35–19 early in the second spell.

From then, Carterton controlled possession and territory and wrapped up the big win with two more unconverted tries.

The home side had the better of the forward exchanges, with Tupou Lea’aemanu in his 50th game for the club, a powerful runner and strong defender at No. 8, while halfback Inia Katia and captain Daryl Pickering at first-five controlled play well, and young winner Josh Collyns had a standout game.

For Martinborough, veteran first-five Tipene Haira steered his side around the field well, and No. 8 Ryan Knell and replacement loose forward Tamahou Aranui stood out.

Provisional Points

Marist, Carterton, Masterton Red Star, Eketāhuna 5; East Coast, Greytown, Martinborough, Pioneer 0.

Senior Reserve Results

The Wai Bush judicial has a busy week ahead after four players [two from each side] were red-carded in Marist’s 34–14 win over Carterton. Gladstone demolished Feathertson 90-0, East Coast Coast beat Martinborough 34–12, and Pioneer beat Greytown 52–5.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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