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Old and new shine for Marty


Martinborough 32
Pioneer 19

The young and old starred for Martinborough as they held off a spirited Pioneer in an entertaining Lane Penn Trophy final at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday night.

Much of the early running came from Pioneer, who deservedly took the lead when centre Nikora Ewe ran through a big hole for the first try in the 12th minute.

Martinborough slowly worked their way into the game, finally gaining a share of possession and territory. The momentum shift for the “green and blacks” came with two tries in two minutes.

The first, after 26 minutes, went to big loose forward Tiawharangi Aranui, who crashed over after a 5m scrum. The second came from the kickoff after 17-year-old winger Conall Doyle following up on a clearing kick, latched on to the bouncing ball and showed a clean pair of heels for a 10-7 lead.

Not to be outshone by the young ones, veteran winger Nathan Hunt swung the game very much in Martinborough’s favour on halftime with a brilliant run from his own 22m line after his forwards forced a turnover with Pioneer hot on attack.

A penalty and a second try to Doyle extended Martinborough’s lead to 25-7 after 47 minutes before Pioneer hit back with tries to veteran lock Quinton Trass after multiple phases in the red zone, and captain and No.8 Jonte Miller to close the gap to 25-19 with 12 minutes to play.

A stunning solo effort by outstanding openside flanker Sam Twigley sealed the victory, though, when he picked up a loose ball and beat three defenders on a 3om solo run to the line.

Martinborough captain Tipene Haira was rapt with the performance to lift the prized trophy for the first time.

“We’ve been building pretty well, and we’ve got a good combination of old and young, and we have quite a bit of depth as well, so I think that’s the key moving forward for us,” Haira said.

“Conall Doyle is only 17, and he’s got a bit of toe and every week he’s improving, and he’s as keen as mustard when he gets to training, and Twigley, he’s got plenty of ticker in him.”

Even more special for Haira was that the victory came against his old club.

“We knew they were going to come out firing on all cylinders, and once they get their tails up, they’re hard to stop, especially when they get close to the try line, and hats off to them.

“The boys dug in there, and we were lucky to get away with it, and there were a few infringements, but I’m proud as of the boys.”

Although some of the younger players stole the limelight, the standout for Martinborough was hardworking blindside flanker Jake Goodger, who dominated the lineouts, was outstanding on defence and made several surging runs, including one 40m effort.

For Pioneer, Ewe showed his class at centre, fullback Reece Calkin was a dangerous counterattacking threat, and in the forward pack, there was none better than big prop Ihe Namana, who was to the forefront of many of their forward charges.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday in the first round of the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup, and Haira is anticipating another bruising encounter.

“It’s a good foundation, and we’ve just got to keep building and take it just one game at a time. We’ve got to play them again next week, so we’ll look at the video and hopefully improve off this game.”

In the other games played to wrap up the north and south series, Marist came from 22-10 down to beat Carterton 24-22, Greytown got the better of Eketahuna 40-26, and Gladstone were 40-21 winners over East Coast.


Wairarapa Wahine Toa 24
Old Boys Marist 40

The improvement of the Wairarapa Wahine Toa team was evident in their gutsy performance against a quality Palmerston North Old Boys Marist side.

An upset looked on the cards at halftime at the Solway Showgrounds on Saturday, with Wahine Toa leading 17-15 with two tries going to hardworking No.8 Missy Williams.

The class of the star-studded Old Boys Marist, which featured several Manawatu Cyclones and Hurricanes players, shone through in the second half as they pulled away for a hard-fought victory.

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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