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Perry stars for injury-hit Coasties

Matt Perry brushes off a Pioneer defender on his way to scoring a brilliant individual try. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Carterton put an end to nine-year drought
Seven teams are in contention for the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup semifinals with two rounds to play. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE wraps up Saturday’s premier club games, all won by the visiting teams.

RUGBY

PIONEER 22
EAST COAST 38

Two moments of brilliance by openside flanker Matt Perry propelled an injury-hit East Coast to an outstanding victory over Pioneer at Trust House Memorial Park.

In a closely-fought affair, the first premier game on the artificial turf this season, Pioneer led 22-17 heading into the final 15 minutes, before an intercept by Coasties winger Camden Butler, who ran 50m to score under the posts and give first-five Utah Walker an easy conversion and the lead.

From then it was the Perry show. Firstly, the rangy No 7 took advantage of the extra space in the Pioneer defence with substitute prop Ihe Namana in the sin bin, to run 40m and score under the posts.

Perry was back in the action with two minutes to play, following-up on his own kick and winning the race to the bouncing ball and passing to Walker, who dotted down and converted for an unassailable lead.

The Coasties’ chances before the match looked grim with the team ravaged by injury and illness, and only two players on the bench, including veteran utility forward Joe Feast, who came out of retirement to help the team out.

Captain Josh Prentice was thrilled with the effort on a poignant day for the club.

“The boys dug deep, and we wanted to play for the Burling family, as Fred passed away and he was a proud supporter of our club and he’s been sponsoring us for years, and Johnny was here today so we wanted to do it for them,” he said.

The Coasties raced out to an early 12-0 lead, but Pioneer bounced back with tries to burly prop Taine McGregor, blindside flanker Mikey Harmon, and first-five Reece Calkin for a 17-12 lead at the break.

The scores were level shortly after the resumption before lock Conan Gray-Harmon scored after a barnstorming 30m run by McGregor.

Then it was the Perry masterclass, to seal an important bonus point victory.

With two rounds to play, the Coasties are locked together with Eketahuna and Marist in fifth place on 11 points, three points outside the top four.

“We’ve got Marist next week, and we have to get up again, and hopefully we will have a few more of the boys back,” said Prentice.

“If we can keep all the young fellas and the squad together, we’re going to go places.”

MARIST 22
EKETAHUNA 31

Eketahuna coach Craig Pepperell was full of praise for the effort of his injury-hit team to come from behind to beat Marist at Memorial Park No 2.

The visitors had only 17 players for the match, and their stocks plummeted further when former Manawatu Turbos centre Frankie Bryant tore a hamstring, forcing winger Rhys Christian into centre, an unaccustomed role he handled with aplomb.

“We were down to the bare minimum when Frankie went off and I had no backs left,” said Pepperell.

“We got to halftime, and I just avoided any sort of talk around how depleted we were and who is playing in what positions and we just focused on the second half and the boys played really well.

“We got in front and the boys lifted and came home strong, with a lot of guts and determination again.”

Both teams scored four tries, and in the end goalkicking was the difference, with Josh Pepperell converting all his side’s tries and kicking a penalty.

Pepperell said the return of Wai-Bush loose forwards BJ Campbell and Sam Gammie also gave Eketahuna the edge at the breakdown.

GLADSTONE 7
CARTERTON 25

Carterton ended a nine-year drought at Gladstone with a comfortable but patchy victory over their fierce rivals.

The maroons scored three tries to one, with elusive winger Fiula Tameilau, No 8 Tupou Lea’aemanu, and openside flanker Gus McKinnon dotting down, however coach Neil Rodger said they bungled several other opportunities, with knock-ons at critical times.

“We were stoked with the win, it’s been nine years since we won at Gladdy, but in saying that we made a heap of mistakes, and it could have been a lot more than what it was, so there’s plenty to work on for next week.”

Carterton and Pioneer meet on Saturday in a clash which could determine home advantage for the semifinals.

MARTINBOROUGH 3
GREYTOWN 39

Greytown scored six second-half tries to extend their unbeaten run to eight games.

That scoreline looked a long way off at halftime when they led only 5-3 after playing with the aid of a strong wind.

Greytown scored in the first five minutes but the rest of the first 40 minutes belonged to the home side.

“I tip my hat to them; they came out fired up and played really well in that first half,” said Greytown coach Mark Childs.

“There were a few guys who hadn’t played a Brown Cup match before and it probably took them a little bit by surprise, but Martinborough do that to us all the time.”

Childs said the second half was a lot better and Greytown took their opportunities well.

Captain and No 8 Tavita Isaac, and winger Cheyenne Harmon scored doubles for the winners.

Greytown are 10 points clear at the top of the table and virtually guaranteed of winning the Weatherstone Cup for winning the premier round robin.

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Greytown 25; Pioneer 15; Gladstone; Carterton 14; Eketahuna; East Coast; Marist 11; Martinborough 3.

SENIOR RESERVES

The top four teams cruised to comfortable victories in the penultimate round of matches before the quarterfinals.

Leaders Tuhirangi beat East Coast 26-7, second-placed Carterton thrashed Gladstone 36-3, Masterton Red Star are third after their 44-5 win over Marist, and Puketoi round out the top after winning by default over Pioneer. Greytown beat Martinborough in the other game.

 

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