Gladstone’s Jeremy Osborne scores his try. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
It was a game of fluctuating fortunes when defending champions Gladstone beat Carterton 50-36 in their Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup premier division rugby match at Carterton on Saturday.
Gladstone looked set for a huge win when they ran in their first try in the opening minutes, and then followed that with two others soon after to race out to a commanding 21-0 lead.
However, any thoughts of Carterton flying the white flag even before the halftime break quickly went out the window as they struck back with three tries of their own, against one in reply, to reduce Gladstone’s lead to 28-17.
But it was the visitors who had the last say in the opening 40 minutes, adding another seven-pointer to their tally to go to the interval 35-17 ahead at the break.
The second half started with Carterton calling the tune and an early converted try had them trailing 24-35, enough to give their vocal army of supporters renewed hope that an upset win was still within their reach.
Again, though, Gladstone rallied with a try of their own and while it was Carterton who scored next to trail 29-40, that was as close as it got.
Gladstone boosted their score by a further 10 points, before Carterton secured their fifth try not long before the final whistle sounded.
As a spectacle, the match kept the crowd entertained with both teams placing the emphasis on attack and often moving the ball around from deep inside their own territory.
Both backlines, in particular, were full of running with Gladstone’s inside combination of Inia Katia who scored a hat-trick of tries, and Jeremy Osborne setting the standard for their side, as did their counterparts, Isaac Bracewell and Daryl Pickering, for Carterton.
Up front, lock Andrew Smith was prominent for Gladstone along with Eddie Cranston and Richard Puddy while Jacko Hull, Lochie McFadzean and dual try-scorer Conon Gray had strong games for the home side.
Katia (3), Osborne, Tim Griffith, Thomas Poturu and Brad Griffith scored tries for Gladstone with Osborne adding six conversions and a penalty.
Gray (2), Utah Walker, Cheyenne Harmon and Trent Hopwood were the Carterton try-scorers, with Pickering landing four conversions and a penalty.
Martinborough made it two from two when they thwarted a brave East Coast challenge 37-17, while the other Tui Cup fixture scheduled for Saturday, between Greytown and Eketahuna, was postponed.
On Thursday night, Marist and Masterton Red Star did battle at Memorial Park and it was Marist who ran out comfortable 55-15 winners thanks to tries from Aifala Schuster (2), Pua Tafa, Efalaima (2) and Bon Wilson (2). Wilson also kicked five conversions while Ayden Eruera added a conversion.
Senior reserve results: Carterton beat Gladstone by default; Pioneer 46, Marist 36; Greytown 46, Eketahuna 0; Martinborough beat East Coast by default, Pioneer Old Boys 26, Featherston 25; Tuhirangi 47, Puketoi 31.