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Gladstone win coveted cup

Gladstone flanker Eddie Cranston crossing for the vital try in Saturday’s match. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

Gladstone showed once again that it will take a special performance to take the Tui Cup from them this season as they secured the Moose Kapene Cup with victory over Martinborough at Gladstone on Saturday.

The Moose Kapene Cup is won by the team who finishes top after the first round, and Gladstone’s 20-16 win ensured they cannot be overtaken in next weekend’s final set of first round matches.

They did not have it all their own way against a spirited Martinborough side, however, and it was the visitors who started the better of the two sides.

Some early pressure was converted into points when Martinborough hooker James Pakoti was the recipient of a long pass from first five-eighth Tim Priest, and crashed over in the corner.

Gladstone’s ill-discipline allowed Martinborough to dominate territory and possession in the early stages, and with centre Tipene Haira and fullback Reece Calkin finding space at will for Martinborough, it seemed like Gladstone would be in for a long day.

Gladstone eventually managed to work their way into the match, and after a period of sustained pressure on the Martinborough line, halfback Inia Katia threw a pinpoint pass to hooker Scott Day who scored untouched.

Haira added a penalty to give Martinborough an 8-5 lead, but Katia scored right on halftime to ensure Gladstone would go into the break with the advantage.

Gladstone’s forwards found their rhythm in the second spell, holding on to possession and forcing Martinborough to do plenty of defending.

They were unable to get any points to show for it, however, and Haira put Martinborough back in front with a penalty.

Gladstone responded with a penalty of their own to lead 13-11, and with time running down the large crowd knew the next score was going to be vital for either team.

It was Gladstone who managed to get themselves into the right end of the field at the most important time, and eventually the pressure told as flanker Eddie Cranston burst through to score between the sticks.

A late try to Pakoti closed the gap to 20-16 and gave Martinborough a chance to steal it at the end, but Gladstone held firm to show why they are the frontrunners in the competition.

Meanwhile, Greytown celebrated the opening of their renovated clubrooms by producing an outstanding display on their Old Timers Day to beat Carterton 21-10.

Carterton upset Martinborough at home last weekend, but Greytown got the job done to firmly ensconce themselves in the top four.

In the weekend’s other matches, Eketahuna got their first win of the season with a dominant 50-12 win over Masterton Red Star, while Marist proved far too strong for East Coast, winning 29-7.

Next weekend’s final round of Moose Kapene Cup matches has Martinborough hosting Greytown, Masterton Red Star taking on Gladstone, Carterton tackling East Coast and Marist playing Eketahuna.

Senior reserve results: Greytown 27 Carterton 19; Pioneer 40 Eketahuna 17; Tuhirangi 48 Gladstone 8; Featherston 17 Marist 5; Pioneer OB 59 Martinborough 10; Puketoi 65 East Coast 0.

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