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Greytown go unbeaten

The Greytown players celebrate with the ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

The Greytown defence hung tough to win the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup, and two finals were decided with last-gasp penalties. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE wraps up a thrilling day of finals at Trust House Memorial Park.

RUGBY

GREYTOWN 30
CARTERTON 25

The third quarter is dubbed the “championship quarter” and that proved to be the case for Greytown in their thrilling victory in a tight ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup final.

Greytown had the early advantage and took a 9-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, but Carterton fought back and led 15-9 at the break, through tries to hooker Terongo Tekii, and No 8 Tupou Lea’aemanu.

The second came on the stroke of halftime when a Sam Morison penalty attempt hit the upright, which halfback and captain Daryl Pickering followed up and was first to the ball, with Lea’aemanu crashing over three phases later.

Greytown rang the substitutions at halftime and that paid off immediately with fresh prop Chris Hemi charging over wide out after a quick tap from a penalty.

Greytown were rewarded for their scrum dominance when veteran No 8 Tana Isaac scored from a pushover.

Morison replied with a penalty for Carterton, before Greytown’s replacement halfback Sam Walton-Sexton scored and Moo Moo Falaniko converted to take his tally for the match to 15 points.

Carterton finally got a sniff in the 65th minute when Greytown centre Usoali’i Samuel Ulavale was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.

That gave the Maroons the space to utilise their outside backs and winger Fiula Tameilau ran through a yawning gap to score handy to the posts for an easy conversion for Morison to narrow the lead to five points.

Much of the rest of the match was all about defence for Greytown and they held strong repelling wave after wave of forward charges by Carterton, who surprisingly tried to charge over from close in, rather than spread the ball wide to their dangerous outside backs.

Unlike last year, where Greytown conceded a late penalty to lose 37-39 to Marist, they remained calm under pressure, forcing a penalty, with the kick to touch ending a tense encounter.

This was a victory set up with a dominant forward effort, with prop Lewis Bush leading the way with several powerful runs, while Hemi, lock Dominic Herlihy and flanker Blane Kete made a massive impact coming off the bench at halftime.

Former All Black and stand-in captain for the injured Tavita Isaac, Zac Guildford, at second-five, and veteran utility back Nick Olson at first-five, controlled play well for the victors.

For Carterton, unsung lock Logan Wakefield was the pick of a forward pack that struggled for parity at times, while Pickering was assured at halfback, and fullback Inia Katia nearly always threatened when given space.

The victory capped the first unbeaten season in the history of the Greytown club, and the first in the Wairarapa-Bush premier championship since Eketahuna achieved the feat in their hat-trick of victories from 2003-5.

RYAN CUP

MASTERTON RED STAR 38
TUHIRANGI 37

Masterton Red Star players celebrate their last-gasp win.

Halfback TK Karaitiana kicked an 81st minute penalty to seal a stunning come-from-behind victory for Masterton Red Star.

Tuhirangi looked to have the game sewn up after taking a 31-16 lead with 30 minutes to play and dominating the forward exchanges.

The young Stars side had other ideas though, running in three tries, two to centre Venu Siaosi, and one to Sivo Karavaki from a quick tap penalty to close the gap to two points with five minutes to play.

The latter came when Stars were reduced to 14 players with outside back Kingston Pene in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle.

Stars kept pushing for one last opportunity and that came when a Tuhirangi player illegally played the ball in a ruck, leaving it for Karaitiana to slot the winning penalty from in front.

The result is testament to the hard work put in by the management team of coaches Chris Senior and Hemi Tupaea, and manager Peter Bresaz, to get a team up and running after the club did not enter any adult teams in 2020.

Stars are expected to lodge a challenge for a promotion-relegation game against the bottom-placed premier team, Martinborough.

HODDER-STEFFERT CUP

PIONEER 29
EKETAHUNA 27

Pioneer with the Hodder-Steffert Cup.

Pioneer won their first premier trophy in nine years with a last-minute penalty to first-five Reece Calkin.

Eketahuna were the better team for much of the match and took a commanding 27-12 lead into the final 20 minutes, with tries to fullback Guy Rowden [2], centre Matt Raleigh and first-five Josh Pepperell.

Calkin started the fight back when he crossed for an easy converted try in the 60th minute, followed by a five-pointer to captain and No 8 KJ Rimene with seven minutes on the clock.

With time almost up Pioneer quickly tapped a penalty just outside kicking range and caught the Eketahuna defenders within 10m.

Calkin slotted the resultant penalty from 32m out to set off wild celebrations among the Pioneer players and supporters.

It is the club’s first trophy since 2012, when they won the Hodder-Steffert Cup, and just reward for the hard-working club management and first-year coach Koti Whittaker.

PRESIDENTS CUP

EAST COAST 8
GLADSTONE 7

East Coast held on to win a closely-fought battle with Gladstone 8-7 and claim the trophy for the bottom section of the senior reserve competition.

What they had to say

Greytown coach Mark Childs

“I just thought about last year in that last five minutes and I thought “oh no, not again, are we going to get pipped”, but I thought the heart showed through at the end.

“We asked them at halftime to show us some ticker and we felt that the team that had the biggest hearts would win, but also we had to hold on to the ball a bit better than we had in the first half, and play the Greytown style, and we did score some good tries in the second half.

“We had the young guys on the bench, and we made four changes at halftime.

“Dominic Herlihy came of age today, and had a superb performance, but you have to tip your hat to some of the older guys – Nick Olson, Rihi Brown, and Tana Isaac, I think he’s 42, they went the full 80 minutes.”

Carterton coach Neil Rodger

“We’re really disappointed but we couldn’t ask more from the young group that we’ve got, and we’ll back stronger and better for next year.

“We’ve got to make sure we hang on to everybody and we might a get a couple more who want to come to the club.

“I thought the boys played really well in the last part of the first half, but Greytown really won the game in that first 10 minutes of the second half, and we just couldn’t stop them.

“We didn’t have an answer and gave them that opportunity and they took it.”

On not spreading the ball wide when hot on attack in the dying minutes.

“I think if we’d had an opportunity to do it, we would have but it was pretty tight up from there too and the ball wasn’t coming too far out.”

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