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No surprises in first round


A strong final quarter saw Marist pull away for a convincing win over Pioneer at Trust House Memorial Park in the opening round of the Lane Penn Cup on Saturday.

After an even first half, the scores were locked together at 17–17, but the home side slowly gained ascendancy in the second period, forcing a couple of crucial turnovers, which led to tries.

Described by one spectator as “one of the best club games I have seen for a long time”, Marist were good value for their win, with their talented backline proving the difference.

Pioneer contributed to the spectacle, especially in the first half when the forward pack took the game to Marist, but will look back on some poor tackling and rue a couple of tries that should have been prevented.

Marist’s victory was even more special, as the match was played in memory of life member Rob Hargood, who died last week.


Martinborough coach James Bruce reckoned he felt like he had played a game of rugby after the “green and blacks” held on for a gutsy win over Carterton at Martinborough.

The home side made the most of their wealth of possession in the first half, scoring five tries for a 31–10 lead at the break. But in the typical game of two halves, defending champions Carterton fought back, eventually finishing just four points shy of the home side.

“In the first half, we had good quick ball, and we could do something with it. We’ve always been that team, and we’re that team again,” Bruce said.

“In the second half, we didn’t have a lot of ball, and they used some of their big boys. We don’t have a lot of big boys, so we probably struggled there a bit. But I’m definitely happy; our defence was really good, and our attack was good.”


Masterton Red Star rapidly found out about the reality of stepping up to the premier grade, conceding nine tries in going down 55–7 to last year’s beaten finalists, Greytown, at Colombo Road.

The visitors stamped their authority in the early running, going out to a 31–0 lead at the break, but the second half was a significantly better effort by the home team, culminating with Luke Loader scoring the team’s first premier try in five years.

“Being the first game, it was pretty tough, and we know if we drop the ball at senior A level, the opposition capitalises on that, and that’s what happened a few errors, and they scored a quick few quick tries,” Stars assistant coach Sam Davies said.

“I thought the boys played pretty well, and the second half was the best half by a long shot. We always knew Greytown, a pretty strong team, were always going to be hard to beat; we knew we weren’t going to beat them, but if we could stay with them, we could have a chance, but they were too good.” EKETAHUNA 10

East Coast snatched victory at the death, with lock Henry Williams crashing over between the sticks to draw level with Eketāhuna at Eketāhuna.

That left it to Jack Wakeling to land the conversion, which he duly did to earn the Coasties four valuable points.

Eke were in the box seat to take the victory after scoring with about 10 minutes left to play, but the Coasties weren’t done and had the home side’s defence under pressure, and it eventually opened up for Williams to score.

Eketāhuna coach Anthony Rowden said, “We held them for a while, but they got over under the sticks. It was a pretty even contest; both teams had periods of dominance, but it’s an 80-minute game.

“I’m happy; finishing was the only thing that let us down, and last year, our scrum was a real poor point, but it was a hell of a lot better.”


Greytown, Marist, Martinborough 5; East Coast 4; Carterton 2; Eketanhuna, Pioneer 1; Masterton Red Star 0


Gladstone 38 East Coast 3; Martinborough 43 Carterton 7; Tuhirangi 77 Greytown 0; Marist 73 Featherston 21.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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