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Carterton secure semi in style

Nikora Ewe, with ball, had a strong game in a determined Pioneer side. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Coasties come back
Greytown, Carterton, Gladstone, and East Coast are through to the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup semifinals. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE wraps up a thrilling last round in the premier championship.

RUGBY

Marist 7
Carterton 46

Carterton captain Daryl Pickering turned on a brave performance and led his side to a commanding victory ending Marist’s reign as premier club championship.

Pickering put aside a tough 24 hours, in which his father Phil passed away after a short battle with cancer, and produced the sort of effort his father would have been proud of.

It took 17 minutes for Carterton to gain the advantage when No 8 Tupou Lea’aemanu charged over virtually untouched from the back of a 5m scrum for the first of his three tries.

The bullocking Tongan was unstoppable from about 4m out for his second try seven minutes later.

Fiula Tameilau dives over the second of his two tries.

Flying winger Fiula Tameilau scored wide out almost on halftime, with first-five Sam Morison converting for a 21-0 lead at the break.

Lea’aemanu completed his hat-trick after 53 minutes, and Morison extended the Maroons’ lead with two penalties.

Marist finally got on the scoreboard with a late try to replacement lock Cory Reid, before Tameilau added a second, and Pickering appropriately crashed over for the final five-pointer on an emotional day for the talented halfback.

However, Pickering was quick to deflect the credit to their hardworking forward pack.

“Marist brought it to us and they’re a big pack and our forwards took that challenge on and weathered the storm early and it took us a while to get into the game but once we scored that first try we were good,” he said.

“We’ve been backing our defence for the last month and we’ve probably only let in one try in each game, so we proud ourselves. I keep reiterating to the boys that points will come off the back of it, and they did.”

One of Carterton’s unsung heroes was Logan Wakefield and Pickering was quick to praise the underrated lock.

“There’s not much to Logan but he’s tough and he does a lot of work that not a lot of people see and he’s a crucial part of our pack and he does all the ugly work.”

Carterton will host fierce rivals Gladstone for a place in the July 24 final.

Gladstone 31
Eketahuna 22

Gladstone coach Steve Thompson praised his team’s defence for their gutsy victory in the battle of the walking wounded with Eketahuna.

Both teams have been impacted with injuries and went into the game at Gladstone with little more than the bare minimum 15 players.

Thompson said Gladstone showed more determination than in previous games they had played when short of numbers.

“We were a bit more hardened for the occasion, and the guys played well, so I’m happy,” he said.

“It was pretty even around the paddock, although I thought we had a slight edge, but at times they would come back at us, but the whole team defended really well.

“They had their moments but, in the end, we had a few points on them.”

Gladstone head to a semifinal against Carterton away.

Martinborough 31
East Coast 37

An injury-hit East Coast kept their championship aspirations alive with a stunning come-from-behind victory at Martinborough.

Missing up to 11 frontline players, the odds of the Coasties making the semifinals would have been long when they were down 10-26 late in the first spell.

However, the Coasties slowly clawed their way back into the game with a performance coach Aaron Matenga said showed real heart.

“They came together and wanted it in the second half and went out there and grabbed it,’ he said.

“The boys dug deep and they’re all playing for one another and that’s the main thing.”

Helping the Coasties’ cause was first-five Jack Wakeling turning around his kicking woes of the previous weekend, with a perfect four conversions and three penalties.

East Coast face a daunting task away to Greytown in Saturday’s semifinal.

Pioneer 14
Greytown 21

The unbeaten competition frontrunners were given a scare before coming away with a tough away win at Jeans Street.

Greytown started the better and held a deserved 21-7 lead at the break, but the second half belonged to the home side.

“Hats off to Pioneer,” said Greytown coach Mark Childs, “It was a challenging game and one that we did well to win.”

Pioneer had most of the ball in the second half, aided by a 23-6 penalty count, and Childs said to come away with the win was very pleasing.

“We defended stoutly, and they were coming at us hard, and the guys showed a lot of character.

“It has been reasonably difficult to get the team up when they know that they’ve got a home semi.”

Greytown are home to East Coast in Saturday’s semifinal.

Provisional Points

Greytown 34; Carterton 24; Gladstone, East Coast 19; Pioneer 16; Eketahuna 16; Marist 15; Martinborough 4.

Senior Reserves

Masterton Red Star will play Carterton in the Ryan Cup semifinals after their 31-10 defeat of Marist. Puketoi had a 34-19 win over Greytown and will play top qualifiers Tuhirangi in their semifinal.

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