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Greytown secures semifinal spot

Cyrus Baker tries to break through Martinborough’s defence. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

Greytown secured a semifinal clash with Carterton after outplaying Martinborough on Saturday in their battle for third position in the Tui Cup.

Martinborough was one point ahead of Greytown going into the match, but Greytown ensured they would head into the play-offs on a winning note with a dominant display.

Greytown, with the support of a large crowd at their home ground, got into their work quickly and looked the more dangerous team in the opening stanzas.

They hit the front with a penalty, but it was the visitors who scored the first try of the match.

Some sustained pressure on the Greytown line was finally rewarded when second five-eighth Tipene Haira stepped his way past a defender and scored next to the post.

Both teams battled for ascendancy as the first half drew closer to the end, but it was Greytown who found their way over for a crucial try.

A clean break by Cyrus Baker put them in an attacking position, and a couple of phases later they put the ball through the hands and found their way over in the corner.

They went into halftime with an 8-7 lead and ran with that momentum early in the second half.

A double strike 15 minutes into the half had Martinborough reeling, and ensured they had a decent buffer heading into the final 20 minutes.

The second of those two tries – scored by No 8 Tavita Isaac – involved some slick interplay between backs and forwards before Isaac dived over beside the posts.

Martinborough did manage a late consolation try, but it meant little in the end as Greytown held on for a 28-14 win.

Greytown dominated for large periods of the match but know they will need to go up a gear against an in-form Carterton side.

The result meant Greytown went ahead of Martinborough in the standings to book a trip to Carterton for next week’s semifinals.

Carterton triumphed 8-6 when these two teams clashed a week ago, which showed just how little there is between the two sides.

Martinborough will head to Gladstone, disappointed with the result, but they will also be well aware they are the only team to beat Gladstone in the Tui Cup this season.

Their attack looked shaky on Saturday as they struggled to penetrate Greytown’s resolute defence, but that isn’t so surprising as Greytown have conceded the fewest points of any team in the competition.

Martinborough will need to regain their attacking spark if they are to have any chance of scoring enough points to beat Gladstone.

In Saturday’s other results, Gladstone came up just short of a century of points against Masterton Red Star in a 94-7 thrashing, Carterton scored a couple of late tries to beat East Coast 33-18, and Marist came away with a narrow 16-13 win over Eketahuna.

In next week’s bottom four premier semifinals, Marist will host Red Star, and East Coast will be at home against Eketahuna.

In senior reserves top four action, the two teams who dominated the round robin will meet in a semifinal next weekend, after Puketoi suffered their third straight loss.

They went down 18-15 to Pioneer, and that means they will make the daunting trip to Tuhirangi for their knockout clash.

Tuhirangi beat Carterton 26-12 at home on Saturday, and that means Carterton will make the trip to Pioneer for next week’s other semifinal.

Premier: Greytown 28 Martinborough 14; Gladstone 94 Red Star 7; Carterton 33 East Coast 18; Marist 16 Eketahuna 13.

Senior reserves: Pioneer 18 Puketoi 15; Tuhirangi 26 Carterton 12; Featherston 28 Greytown 0 [defaulted]; Pioneer OB 28 Marist 0 [defaulted]; Martinborough 36 Eketahuna 30; Gladstone 28 East Coast 0 [defaulted].

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