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Marist secure home semifinal

East Coast hooker George Parke dives over in the tackle of Hayden Cooper to score the only try of the second half. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Marist 23

East Coast 20

Marist wrapped up a home semifinal and condemned East Coast to a must-win clash with Martinborough this Saturday for a place in the top four, in an intense battle on Memorial Park No. 2,

Marist dominated possession and territory, particularly in the first half, but struggled to breach the determined East Coast defence, or were let down by basic errors.

Winger Hayden Cooper opened the scoring after 13 minutes, crossing in the corner after a period of sustained pressure in the East Coast 22. Michael Martin converted superbly from the sideline and added a long-range penalty to give Marist a 10-0 lead.

East Coast got on the scoreboard in their first real foray into Marist’s half with a try to first-five Jack Wakeling.

The first of two tries to No. 8 Marcus Ale extended Marist’s lead, before Wakeling scored with a brilliant jinking run from 25m, beating three defenders to dot down by the posts to make the score 15-12. Ale added a second try – the second time Marist had scored after forcing a goal line dropout – to give them a 20-12 halftime lead.

The home side had the chance to extend the lead two minutes into the second spell when awarded a penalty in front, but captain Peter Beech chose to go for the bonus point try with a scrum, only to be denied by strong defence.

 

Marist prop Stan Wright shrugs off the tackle of Bryan Arnold. Teammate Cory Reid is in support.  

east coast vs marist at marist

Marist were made to pay when impressive young hooker George Parke scored wide out to narrow the lead to three points before Wakeling slotted a penalty to tie the scores at 20-20 with 15 minutes to play.

Both teams had their chances to add further tries but neither could breach the determined opposition defence, and it took a Martin penalty from 39m out to seal the Marist victory.
In the end Beech was just happy to take the win.

“We want to be winning and we want to be having fun doing it but there it was – just good to grind out a victory, and you can’t expect to win every game by 20 or 30 points,” said Beech.

“We’re going on the right trajectory, winning is a habit and we just wanted to get the win, but full credit to Coast – none of these games are going to be easy going forward.

“It was a bit of a grind in the second half, but there’s a lot of heart in that [East Coast] team and they just kept coming and coming and no matter how much ball we had they just didn’t quit.”

Unusually for such a close game, there were very few penalties, with referee Ali Payne only blowing two in the first half, and another seven in the second stanza.

Pioneer 7

Carterton 41

Carterton turned around the previous weekend’s disappointing loss to Gladstone and romped to a seven-try victory over Pioneer at Jeans Street.

Carterton coach Neil Rodger said his team scored early on, and never looked back.

“We dominated the set piece, which was the aim and we shut them out of the game and didn’t give them any ball and any real field position for a long period,” Rodger said.

“It was a big step up from the week before, but it was still far from perfect though, and it could have been a whole lot more.”

Carterton fielded their strongest forward pack for the first time this season, with the return of locks Lachie McFadzean and Mike Kloeg, prop Ngaiwa Marshall-Lobb, and flanker Terongo Tekii.

Rodger said the bench also made a big difference in keeping the momentum going when they came on to the field in the second half.

The win secured Carterton’s place in the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup semifinals, and confined Pioneer to Hodder-Steffert Cup bottom four playoffs

Gladstone 29

Greytown 15

Gladstone strengthened their grip on a top-four semifinal with a bonus point over a game Greytown at Gladstone, but co-coach Charlie Bargh said it was far from a convincing performance.

“We dropped our standards, and we just tried to overplay our hand instead of just sticking to our plan,” Bargh said.

“On a positive our goal line defence stood up again, because Greytown came at us and attacked the breakdown and really put pressure on us there and played with a really positive attitude.

“It was good for us and a bit of a reset, and the boys are disappointed with the way we played.”

Bargh felt the score flattered his side, and they only scored the fourth try for the bonus point with time almost up.

Fullback Freddie Eschenbach excelled again for Gladstone, carving up many metres on counterattack, while lock Michael Ward impressed in the tight. Halfback Sam Walton-Sexton stood out for Greytown.

Martinborough 64 Eketahuna 10

Martinborough set up a virtual quarterfinal with East Coast this Saturday, with their 10-try thumping of winless Eketahuna at Martinborough.

The visitors were never in the game against a fired-up home side, who showed off their attacking prowess in the backs with some outstanding tries.

Shane Colton, who started on the wing, and later moved to fullback and then first-five scored a hat-trick, Nathan Hunt and Tristan Flutey scored two tries each, while Jared Hawkins, Josh Matthews, and Alex Priest also dotted down.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was satisfied with the team’s effort.

“We didn’t get too loose and out of hand like it could have, and we stayed pretty structured,” said Bruce.

“Towards the end of first half we started throwing a few fancy passes but we quickly stopped that.”

Bruce felt that first-five Tipene Haira controlled the game well, and that Matthews, at halfback, and Colton had strong games.

“The young boys went well. It was a game where they had confidence because they weren’t under so much pressure, and they shone a little bit.”

Martinborough are fourth in the championship and face a do-or-die clash against fifth placed East Coast at Whareama to qualify for the top four.

Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup

 

Provisional Points
Marist 25; Carterton 22; Gladstone 19; Martinborough 18; East Coast 17; Pioneer 11; Greytown 6; Eketahuna 2

Senior Reserve

Marist 7 East Coast 21, Martinborough 12 Tuhirangi 36, Gladstone 47 Greytown-Carterton 22, Masterton Red Star WBD over Pioneer

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