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Carterton run rampant in mud

Carterton 55
Martinborough 19

Carterton have drawn a line in the mud that they’re the team to beat with an outstanding display of attacking rugby in the bog at Carterton.

The defending Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup champions went into the top-of-the-table clash on the back of a loss to Greytown last week, knowing that a loss could jeopardise their semifinal prospects.

Any fears, though, were put to bed with a stunning start which saw the home side take a 19-0 lead after 21 minutes with tries to second-five Fiula Tameilau, following up a sensational break from the outstanding Inia Katia, playing at openside flanker, with further tries to lock Malakai Buimaiwai, and Katia from a quick tap.

Martinborough got on the scoreboard after 24 minutes when centre Alex Priest was pushed over, but the home side went to the halftime break 26-7 up after referee Alistair Payne awarded a penalty try for a deliberate knockdown near the goal line.

Carterton extended their lead immediately from the resumption of play through prop Tupou Lea’aemanu after a stampeding run by replacement lock Isireli Biumaiwai with his first touch of the ball.

A brilliant solo try to prop Tom Woelders, who ran 25m untouched from a quick tap, gave Martinborough some hope, but the visitors were no match for the home side, who ran in another four tries in conditions not suited to running rugby, with the ground so bad many players unrecognisable.

Carterton captain Daryl Pickering was naturally rapt with the result but surprised with the ease of the victory.

“We knew we had to come back from last week when we were pretty disappointing, and I’m pretty proud of the effort, but I didn’t think that we’d put that many points on the board in these conditions,” Pickering said, adding that the forwards set the ideal platform for their dangerous attackers Tameilau and Aseri Waqa.

“We brought those boys in close this week just because they haven’t been getting enough ball out at centre and fullback, so we played them both in the midfield, and they’re the best of mates, and it’s probably a combination we’ve been lacking this year at 12 and 13.”

Pickering also had a special mention for Katia, who has added a new dimension to his game since moving to the loose forwards.

“In the past, when he [Inia] has been in the backline, it has been quite scripted where he can and can’t run, but we’ve given him the license at seven to play his own game, and we’ll get in behind him if he makes a break.”

The victory assured Carterton a semifinal spot, and Pickering said the focus now is on securing home advantage by winning their last game over fierce rivals Gladstone.

“We didn’t want this to be our last home game. We didn’t have the easiest of runs in terms of opposition and to beat Marty at the top of the table and then hopefully go to Gladdy next week and do a job and come back the following week.

Martinborough were missing key players, flanker Jake Goodger, who has moved overseas, and veteran flanker Jared Hawkins and winger Nathan Hunt with injuries.

Martinborough now face a tricky final game at home to Greytown, with the winners headed for the semifinals and losers possibly knocked out of contention.

Both teams are to be applauded for some stunning attacking rugby in conditions more suited to the sport of bog snorkelling.

Gladstone 14
Greytown 33

The platform for Greytown’s bonus point win over Gladstone at Gladstone was set in the first half, scoring four tries for a 26-0 lead at the break.

The home side came back in the second spell, scoring two tries to one, but the damage had already been done.

Greytown coach Kerin Herlihy was pleased to bag the points in what he reckoned was your typical game of two halves.

“We just had a bit of shape and had control of the first half, but the second half was pretty messy, and Gladdy had the better of it,” Herlihy said.

“We had a good first half, and we made our set piece, and we had good ball, but the second half it got a bit messed up.”

Props Lewis Bush and Nick Hohepa impressed at set piece and in broken play for the winners.

Pioneer 24
Eketāhuna 10

Pioneer coach Victor Thompson was pleased to walk away from Trust House Memorial Park with a bonus point win over Eketāhuna but was disappointed with some aspects of the performance.

“We scored two tries in the first 10 minutes, but it was topsy turvy from there,” Thompson said.

“It wasn’t that good a game to watch, and it definitely was not our best performance, that’s for sure, and we’ve got plenty to work on.”

The game was moved from Pioneer’s Jeans Street home ground after the Masterton District Council closed their grounds. Thompson believes that suited his side more, but the ball was slipperier than usual, which led to a lot of handling errors.

Marist 43
East Coast 3

Marist scored seven tries in running out comfortable winners in the game played on Masterton Red Star’s Colombo Road ground after the closure of Memorial Park No. 2.

Assistant coach Peter Beech felt the effort was a big improvement from the previous weekend’s narrow loss to Pioneer.

“There was a lot more fluidity between the backs and the forwards, so we’re building quite nicely there,” Beech said

Unpredictable Fijian winger Mesake Koroitukana crossed for two of Marist’s tries, while winger Hayden Cooper again impressed with his general play and goalkicking.

East Coast again had a limited squad with only 16 players, which resulted in assistant coach and former Wai-Bush No.8 from the 1990s coming on in the second half.

OVERVIEW

Carterton are assured of a semifinal, and a win over Gladstone will lock in home advantage.

Marist [fourth] and Pioneer [fifth] will be confident of picking up wins away to Eketahuna and East Coast, respectively.

That leaves second-placed Martinborough against third-placed Greytown in a virtual quarterfinal, with the loser potentially to miss out.

But there are plenty of twists and turns with bonus points to be factored into it.

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Carterton 28; Martinborough, Greytown 24, Marist 23, Pioneer 21, East Coast 13, Gladstone 8, Eketahuna 5

WHATABOUTU SENIOR RESERVES

Tuhirangi celebrated Ken ‘Mutton’ Aburn’s 500 games in style, thrashing Martinborough to finish top qualifiers for Saturday’s quarterfinals. Masterton Red Star are second after their 39-17 win over Pioneer, East Coast held on to beat Carterton 14-7, and Gladstone thumped Greytown 61-12.

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Tuhirangi 39, Masterton Red Star 35, Pioneer 24, Greytown 21, Gladstone 20, Marist 18, East Coast 16, Martinborough 5, Carterton 2.

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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