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Martinborough sets the standard

The benchmark for the 2023 Wairarapa club rugby premiership has been well and truly set by Martinborough.

In a repeat of the Lane Penn final just seven days earlier, Martinborough pieced together a seven-try effort and cracked a half-century of points to beat Pioneer 54-20.

And while Saturday’s performance at home was not a perfect one, Martinborough always seemed to have an edge on their opponents in most areas of the game.

A determined, if somewhat loose Pioneer bridged the gap to just six points early in the second half, but Martinborough found another gear or two to rattle on 28 unanswered points and finish the game going away.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was particularly pleased with how his charges incorporated some changes to the lineup and a variation on the gameplan from the Lane Penn final.

“The boys stepped up a cog, which is the aim, win or lose, we want to improve with every match, and they certainly managed to do that.

“We wanted to play a slightly different structure, and I think we nailed it, which gave us some extra options. I’m not sure Pioneer were expecting the changes we made, and that might have helped us get the upper hand.”

Martinborough had the better of the first half, scoring three quick tries, one of which came on the end of a slick backline move that put impressive centre Alex Priest over the line in his first game back in a month.

Pioneer scored a well-taken try from a lineout drive to end the half on a positive note.

The Pioneer scrum provided some momentum for the visitors to take into the second stanza, but it was Martinborough that scored first, after a neatly executed inside pass put second five-eighth Keanu Dawson over handy to the posts.

Undeterred, Pioneer picked up a try of their own near the sticks following a period of sustained pressure, and a penalty in the 15th minute had the visitors at 20-26 and with a head of steam. Pioneer’s vocal supporters were sensing an opportunity to topple the home side.

However, Martinborough had other ideas.

A melee involving a handful of players on the Pioneer side of halfway did little to resolve whatever dispute had instigated it, but instead helped to create a mile-wide gap for Priest to waltz through for a second try and put an end to Pioneer’s hopes of an upset victory.

To their credit, Pioneer tried to spread the ball and speed up the pace of the game, but Martinborough’s defence was solid and their fitness proved to be a key weapon as they closed out the match with three more tries.

Bruce noted the lull in the early part of the second half but had faith the team’s leaders would get the ship back on course.

“We re-grouped, sorted out the lineout, which was not as sharp as we expected it to be, and we managed to grind away when we needed to.

“Sometimes you just have to stick to the plan and I’m proud of the way that the boys showed trust in the strategy and trust in each other.”

Bruce said the squad won’t be getting too carried away with the early season form.

“We are taking a ‘better-never-stops’ approach to the year and focussing on improving each week. The silverware is only up for grabs at the very end of the season, so there’s a lot of improvement needed if we want to be in the reckoning at the business end.”

While both sides showed plenty of endeavour with the ball in hand, which made for an entertaining spectacle, it’s reasonable to assume that both sets of coaches will be wanting to see more accuracy during lineout drills at training this week in RUGBY

ROGER PARKER

The benchmark for the 2023 Wairarapa club rugby premiership has been well and truly set by Martinborough.

In a repeat of the Lane Penn final just seven days earlier, Martinborough pieced together a seven-try effort and cracked a half-century of points to beat Pioneer 54-20.

And while Saturday’s performance at home was not a perfect one, Martinborough always seemed to have an edge on their opponents in most areas of the game. A determined, if somewhat loose Pioneer bridged the gap to just six points early in the second half, but Martinborough found another gear or two to rattle on 28 unanswered points and finish the game going away.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was particularly pleased with how his charges incorporated some changes to the lineup and a variation on the game plan from the Lane Penn final.

“The boys stepped up a cog, which is the aim, win or lose, we want to improve with every match, and they certainly managed to do that.

“We wanted to play a slightly different structure, and I think we nailed it, which gave us some extra options. I’m not sure Pioneer were expecting the changes we made, and that might have helped us get the upper hand.”

Martinborough had the better of the first half, scoring three quick tries, one of which came on the end of a slick backline move that put impressive centre Alex Priest over the line in his first game back in a month.

Pioneer scored a nice try from a lineout drive to end the half on a positive note.

The Pioneer scrum provided some momentum for the visitors to take into the second stanza, but it was Martinborough that scored first, after a neatly executed inside pass put second five-eighth Keanu Dawson over handy to the posts.

Undeterred, Pioneer picked up a try of their own near the sticks following a period of sustained pressure, and a penalty in the 15th minute had the visitors at 20-26 and with a head of steam. Pioneer’s vocal supporters were sensing an opportunity to topple the home side.

Martinborough had other ideas.

A melee involving a handful of players on the Pioneer side of halfway did little to resolve whatever dispute had instigated it, but instead helped to create a mile-wide gap for Priest to waltz through for a second try and put an end to Pioneer’s hopes of an upset victory.

To their credit, Pioneer tried to spread the ball and speed up the pace of the game, but Martinborough’s defence was solid and their fitness proved to be a key weapon as they closed out the match with three more tries.

Bruce noted the lull in the early part of the second half but had faith the team’s leaders would get the ship back on course.

“We re-grouped, sorted out the lineout, which was not as sharp as we expected it to be, and we managed to grind away when we needed to. Sometimes you just have to stick to the plan and I’m proud of the way that showed trust in the strategy and trust in each other.

Bruce says the squad won’t be getting too carried away with the early season form.

“We are taking a ‘better-never-stops’ approach to the year and focussing on improving each week. The silverware is only up for grabs at the very end of the season, so there’s a lot of improvement needed if we want to be in the reckoning at the business end of the season.”

While both sides showed plenty of endeavour with the ball in hand, which made for an entertaining spectacle, it’s reasonable to assume that both sets of coaches will be wanting to see more accuracy during lineout drills at training this week in preparation for the next round of

matches. An unusually high number of crooked throws and wins against the throw had some of those coaches scratching their heads during most of the first half.

Carterton 43
Eketahuna 12

Carterton needed a big second-half effort to take the wind out of Eketahuna’s sails in Carterton on Saturday.

Ahead 14-12 at the break, a lift in intensity and skill levels sifted the momentum firmly in the home side’s favour.

A superior scrum and precision from the lineout laid the platform for the win. Carterton scored two tries from lineout drives to add to the penalty try awarded from a scrum close to the line. The victory marked two milestones in the Carterton squad. Stalwart hooker Hone Vella played his 100th senior club match and no. 8 Zac Wakefield notched up his 50th cap with a typically storming game off the back of the scrum.

Gladstone 17
Marist 22

A to-and-fro battle at Gladstone had both teams on the see-saw before Marist found the right recipe to pinch the lollies.

Marist went up early with two tries and a handy 12-0 halftime lead before the home team scored two tries of their own to tie up the scores early in the second half.

In a sometimes scrappy match, Marist regained the lead with a penalty and a converted try and was pushing for a bonus point late in the game, only for Gladstone to pounce on a turnover as the final siren sounded and go 80 metres for a try in the corner that gave them a well-deserved bonus point.

Greytown 35
East Coast 10

Greytown donned brand new Papawai jerseys for Old Timer’s Day and rose to the occasion with a victory over visiting East Coast that was more hard-earned than the score may suggest.

In perfect conditions for expansive rugby, both teams entered into the spirit, but it was two long-range tries by Greytown that ultimately separated the two sides.

Greytown benefitted from the return to the lineup of several experienced campaigners and the backing up of Reserve Grade players to record five tries and have the better of the last 20 minutes of the game.

East Coast competed well in the forwards and, with a bit more accuracy on attack, could have put Greytown under more pressure near their line, but small errors proved costly. RUGBY

ROGER PARKER

The benchmark for the 2023 Wairarapa club rugby premiership has been well and truly set by Martinborough.

In a repeat of the Lane Penn final just seven days earlier, Martinborough pieced together a seven-try effort and cracked a half-century of points to beat Pioneer 54-20.

And while Saturday’s performance at home was not a perfect one, Martinborough always seemed to have an edge on their opponents in most areas of the game. A determined, if somewhat loose Pioneer bridged the gap to just six points early in the second half, but Martinborough found another gear or two to rattle on 28 unanswered points and finish the game going away.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was particularly pleased with how his charges incorporated some changes to the lineup and a variation on the game plan from the Lane Penn final.

“The boys stepped up a cog, which is the aim, win or lose, we want to improve with every match, and they certainly managed to do that.

“We wanted to play a slightly different structure, and I think we nailed it, which gave us some extra options. I’m not sure Pioneer were expecting the changes we made, and that might have helped us get the upper hand.”

Martinborough had the better of the first half, scoring three quick tries, one of which came on the end of a slick backline move that put impressive centre Alex Priest over the line in his first game back in a month.

Pioneer scored a nice try from a lineout drive to end the half on a positive note.

The Pioneer scrum provided some momentum for the visitors to take into the second stanza, but it was Martinborough that scored first, after a neatly executed inside pass put second five-eighth Keanu Dawson over handy to the posts.

Undeterred, Pioneer picked up a try of their own near the sticks following a period of sustained pressure, and a penalty in the 15th minute had the visitors at 20-26 and with a head of steam. Pioneer’s vocal supporters were sensing an opportunity to topple the home side.

Martinborough had other ideas.

A melee involving a handful of players on the Pioneer side of halfway did little to resolve whatever dispute had instigated it, but instead helped to create a mile-wide gap for Priest to waltz through for a second try and put an end to Pioneer’s hopes of an upset victory.

To their credit, Pioneer tried to spread the ball and speed up the pace of the game, but Martinborough’s defence was solid and their fitness proved to be a key weapon as they closed out the match with three more tries.

Bruce noted the lull in the early part of the second half but had faith the team’s leaders would get the ship back on course.

“We re-grouped, sorted out the lineout, which was not as sharp as we expected it to be, and we managed to grind away when we needed to. Sometimes you just have to stick to the plan and I’m proud of the way that showed trust in the strategy and trust in each other.

Bruce says the squad won’t be getting too carried away with the early season form.

“We are taking a ‘better-never-stops’ approach to the year and focussing on improving each week. The silverware is only up for grabs at the very end of the season, so there’s a lot of improvement needed if we want to be in the reckoning at the business end of the season.”

While both sides showed plenty of endeavour with the ball in hand, which made for an entertaining spectacle, it’s reasonable to assume that both sets of coaches will be wanting to see more accuracy during lineout drills at training this week in

preparation for the next round of matches. An unusually high number of crooked throws and wins against the throw had some of those coaches scratching their heads during most of the first half.

Greytown 35
East Coast 10

Greytown donned brand new Papawai jerseys for Old Timer’s Day and rose to the occasion with a victory over visiting East Coast that was more hard-earned than the score may suggest.

In perfect conditions for expansive rugby, both teams entered into the spirit, but it was two long-range tries by Greytown that ultimately separated the two sides.

Greytown benefitted from the return to the lineup of several experienced campaigners and the backing up of Reserve Grade players to record five tries and have the better of the last 20 minutes of the game.

East Coast competed well in the forwards and, with a bit more accuracy on attack, could have put Greytown under more pressure near their line, but small errors proved costly.

Gladstone 17
Marist 22

A to-and-fro battle at Gladstone had both teams on the see-saw before Marist found the right recipe to pinch the lollies.

Marist went up early with two tries and a handy 12-0 halftime lead before the home team scored two tries of their own to tie up the scores early in the second half.

In a sometimes scrappy match, Marist regained the lead with a penalty and a converted try and was pushing for a bonus point late in the game, only for Gladstone to pounce on a turnover as the final siren sounded and go 80 metres for a try in the corner that gave them a well-deserved bonus point.

Carterton 43
Eketahuna 12

Carterton needed a big second-half effort to take the wind out of Eketahuna’s sails in Carterton on Saturday.

Ahead 14-12 at the break, a notable lift in intensity and skill levels shifted the all-important momentum firmly in the home side’s favour.

A superior scrum and precision from the lineout laid the platform for the win.

Carterton scored two tries from lineout drives to add to the penalty try awarded from a scrum close to the line. The victory marked two milestones in the Carterton squad. Stalwart hooker Hone Vella played his 100th senior club match and no. 8 Zac Wakefield notched up his 50th cap with a typically storming game off the back of the scrum. RUGBY

ROGER PARKER

The benchmark for the 2023 Wairarapa club rugby premiership has been well and truly set by Martinborough.

In a repeat of the Lane Penn final just seven days earlier, Martinborough pieced together a seven-try effort and cracked a half-century of points to beat Pioneer 54-20.

And while Saturday’s performance at home was not a perfect one, Martinborough always seemed to have an edge on their opponents in most areas of the game. A determined, if somewhat loose Pioneer bridged the gap to just six points early in the second half, but Martinborough found another gear or two to rattle on 28 unanswered points and finish the game going away.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was particularly pleased with how his charges incorporated some changes to the lineup and a variation on the game plan from the Lane Penn final.

“The boys stepped up a cog, which is the aim, win or lose, we want to improve with every match, and they certainly managed to do that.

“We wanted to play a slightly different structure, and I think we nailed it, which gave us some extra options. I’m not sure Pioneer were expecting the changes we made, and that might have helped us get the upper hand.”

Martinborough had the better of the first half, scoring three quick tries, one of which came on the end of a slick backline move that put impressive centre Alex Priest over the line in his first game back in a month.

Pioneer scored a nice try from a lineout drive to end the half on a positive note.

The Pioneer scrum provided some momentum for the visitors to take into the second stanza, but it was Martinborough that scored first, after a neatly executed inside pass put second five-eighth Keanu Dawson over handy to the posts.

Undeterred, Pioneer picked up a try of their own near the sticks following a period of sustained pressure, and a penalty in the 15th minute had the visitors at 20-26 and with a head of steam. Pioneer’s vocal supporters were sensing an opportunity to topple the home side.

Martinborough had other ideas.

A melee involving a handful of players on the Pioneer side of halfway did little to resolve whatever dispute had instigated it, but instead helped to create a mile-wide gap for Priest to waltz through for a second try and put an end to Pioneer’s hopes of an upset victory.

To their credit, Pioneer tried to spread the ball and speed up the pace of the game, but Martinborough’s defence was solid and their fitness proved to be a key weapon as they closed out the match with three more tries.

Bruce noted the lull in the early part of the second half but had faith the team’s leaders would get the ship back on course.

“We re-grouped, sorted out the lineout, which was not as sharp as we expected it to be, and we managed to grind away when we needed to. Sometimes you just have to stick to the plan and I’m proud of the way that showed trust in the strategy and trust in each other.

Bruce says the squad won’t be getting too carried away with the early season form.

“We are taking a ‘better-never-stops’ approach to the year and focussing on improving each week. The silverware is only up for grabs at the very end of the season, so there’s a lot of improvement needed if we want to be in the reckoning at the business end of the season.”

While both sides showed plenty of endeavour with the ball in hand, which made for an entertaining spectacle, it’s reasonable to assume that both sets of coaches will be wanting to see more accuracy during lineout drills at training this week in

preparation for the next round of matches. An unusually high number of crooked throws and wins against the throw had some of those coaches scratching their heads during most of the first half.

Greytown 35
East Coast 10

Greytown donned brand new Papawai jerseys for Old Timer’s Day and rose to the occasion with a victory over visiting East Coast that was more hard-earned than the score may suggest.

In perfect conditions for expansive rugby, both teams entered into the spirit, but it was two long-range tries by Greytown that ultimately separated the two sides.

Greytown benefitted from the return to the lineup of several experienced campaigners and the backing up of Reserve Grade players to record five tries and have the better of the last 20 minutes of the game.

East Coast competed well in the forwards and, with a bit more accuracy on attack, could have put Greytown under more pressure near their line, but small errors proved costly.

Gladstone 17
Marist 22

A to-and-fro battle at Gladstone had both teams on the see-saw before Marist found the right recipe to pinch the lollies.

Marist went up early with two tries and a handy 12-0 halftime lead before the home team scored two tries of their own to tie up the scores early in the second half.

In a sometimes scrappy match, Marist regained the lead with a penalty and a converted try and was pushing for a bonus point late in the game, only for Gladstone to pounce on a turnover as the final siren sounded and go 80 metres for a try in the corner that gave them a well-deserved bonus point.

Carterton 43
Eketahuna 12

Carterton needed a big second-half effort to take the wind out of Eketahuna’s sails in Carterton on Saturday.

Ahead 14-12 at the break, a notable lift in intensity and skill levels shifted the all-important momentum firmly in the home side’s favour.

A superior scrum and precision from the lineout laid the platform for the win.

Carterton scored two tries from lineout drives to add to the penalty try awarded from a scrum close to the line.

The victory marked two milestones in the Carterton squad. Stalwart hooker Hone Vella played his 100th senior club match and no. 8 Zac Wakefield notched up his 50th cap with a typically storming game off the back of the scrum. preparation for the next round of matches. An unusually high number of crooked throws and wins against the throw had some of those coaches scratching their heads during most of the first half.

Greytown 35
East Coast 10

Greytown donned brand new Papawai jerseys for Old Timer’s Day and rose to the occasion with a victory over visiting East Coast that was more hard-earned than the score may suggest.

In perfect conditions for expansive rugby, both teams entered into the spirit, but it was two long-range tries by Greytown that ultimately separated the two sides.

Greytown benefitted from the return to the lineup of several experienced campaigners and the backing up of Reserve Grade players to record five tries and have the better of the last 20 minutes of the game.

East Coast competed well in the forwards and, with a bit more accuracy on attack, could have put Greytown under more pressure near their line, but small errors proved costly.

Gladstone 17
Marist 22

A to-and-fro battle at Gladstone had both teams on the see-saw before Marist found the right recipe to pinch the lollies.

Marist went up early with two tries and a handy 12-0 halftime lead before the home team scored two tries of their own to tie up the scores early in the second half.

In a sometimes scrappy match, Marist regained the lead with a penalty and a converted try and was pushing for a bonus point late in the game, only for Gladstone to pounce on a turnover as the final siren sounded and go 80 metres for a try in the corner that gave them a well-deserved bonus point.

Carterton 43
Eketahuna 12

Carterton needed a big second-half effort to take the wind out of Eketahuna’s sails in Carterton on Saturday.

Ahead 14-12 at the break, a notable lift in intensity and skill levels shifted the all-important momentum firmly in the home side’s favour.

A superior scrum and precision from the lineout laid the platform for the win.

Carterton scored two tries from lineout drives to add to the penalty try awarded from a scrum close to the line.

The victory marked two milestones in the Carterton squad. Stalwart hooker Hone Vella played his 100th senior club match and no. 8 Zac Wakefield notched up his 50th cap with a typically storming game off the back of the scrum.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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