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Nervous times for Martinborough

Matt Gain on the charge for Carterton against Martinborough. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

Martinborough will face a nervous couple of weeks looking over their shoulders unless they can get back to winning ways in the Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup rugby competition.

They were beaten 8-31 by a dominant Carterton side on Saturday, and Marist’s upset 23-13 win over Greytown means the semifinals race is not as clear-cut as it seemed to be.

Martinborough sit in fourth and hold an eight-point lead over Marist with two rounds to go, but they still have to play leaders Gladstone and fellow top four team Greytown.

Marist, in contrast, have two matches left against East Coast and Eketahuna, who are both below them on the table.

Martinborough started strongly at Carterton on Saturday and took an early lead through a penalty to second five-eighth Tipene Haira.

Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Carterton fullback Nick Mason sparked a counter-attack from his own side of halfway that put his team hot on attack.

Martinborough were back-pedalling on defence but couldn’t get themselves organised and Carterton first five-eighth Corey McFadzean executed a perfectly weighted cross-kick that fell into the arms of No 8 Brock Price, who strolled over for a try.

Price was in the thick of the action a few minutes later when he charged down an attempted clearing kick from Martinborough halfback Chance Ropiha and regathered for his second try.

That gave the home team a 12-3 lead at halftime but Martinborough cut the deficit to four early in the second half when winger Nikora Ewe crashed over in the corner.

Carterton responded with a try of their own and when Martinborough flanker Chris Raymond was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle in the lead-up to the try, the game was as good as over.

Carterton added two more tries in the closing stages to extend their advantage to 31-8 and secured an important bonus point in the process.

Meanwhile, in the round’s other matches, Gladstone claimed a bonus point for scoring four tries in their 22-5 away win over Eketahuna, and East Coast thrashed Masterton Red Star 72-12.

In this week’s matches, there will be plenty of factors to keep an eye on.

Marist will look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they host East Coast and Martinborough will be hoping to end Marist’s season with an upset win over Gladstone.

Red Star will be chasing their first win of the season against Eketahuna at home and Carterton will play Greytown in what should be a tight match.

In Saturday’s senior reserves top four matches, a missed conversion by Puketoi in the final play of the match gave Carterton a 23-22 win, and Tuhirangi beat Pioneer 46-19.

Premier results: Carterton 31 Martinborough 8; Marist 23 Greytown 13; Gladstone 22 Eketahuna 5; East Coast 72 Masterton Red Star 12.

Senior reserves: Carterton 23 Puketoi 22; Tuhirangi 46 Pioneer 19; Pioneer OB 31 Greytown 27; Featherston 24 Marist 12; Eketahuna 17 Gladstone 12; Martinborough 53 East Coast 10.

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