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Pioneer, Martinborough into final

Pioneer and Martinborough will meet in the Lane Penn Trophy after scoring big wins in the last round of North and South matches on Saturday.


On the face of it, Pioneer were too good for East Coast, scoring eight tries to two in their third North group match against a nuggety East Coast at Jeans Street.

However, coach Victor Thompson was disappointed with the, at times, ill-disciplined performance. The home side played 30 minutes with 14 players after a red card to captain Jonte Miller for punching, which will see him suspended for the final, and a yellow card to young first-five Zinny Harmon for a no-arms tackle.

“It was very messy and disjointed from our point of view,” Thompson said.

Whether that was the result of pressure but our boys’ lack of discipline, it wasn’t good enough, and it won’t be good enough going into this weekend.”

Although the home side blotted their copybook with poor discipline, there were some outstanding individual performers, none more so than Fijian No. 8 Dan Nawaqavonovono, who bagged three tries, the first from a 5m scrum early in the first half and two in five minutes in the first 11 minutes of the second half when Pioneer put the game out of East Coast’s reach with four tries.

Centre Nikora Ewe, with several strong runs and fullback Reece Calkin again impressed for the winners.

East Coast again had to rely on a group of senior reserve players backing up from the curtain-raiser to field a full squad.

An Epeli Rayaqayaqa try, and three Jack Wakeling penalties had the Coasties trailing 15-14 at the break, and although they never gave up, Pioneer had too much pace with Nawaqavonovono and winger Jomoci Vatunitu to the fore.


Martinborough overpowered Greytown late in the second half of a highly competitive South section match at Greytown to come away comfortable 47-12 winners.

Martinborough had been made to work hard to lead 19-12 at the end of a closely fought first half, but their better depth on the bench proved the difference in the second spell, with three late tries sealing the victory.

Greytown’s cause wasn’t helped, though, with the loss of experienced prop Tolu Fahamokioa with a split eyelid and No. 8 and co-captain Rongoma Huirama with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Ex-NRL player Keanu Dawson stood out at second-five for Martinborough, while veteran flanker Jared Hawkins was a nuisance at the breakdown, and promising young prop, Caedman Hawkins came on for the last 20 minutes to give Martinborough the edge in the scrum.

Veteran Tana Isaac, playing at lock, and flanker Rihi Brown impressed for Greytown.


Carterton scored five second-half tries to seal a comprehensive victory over bitter rivals Gladstone and second place in the South section.

The home side led 17-7 at halftime, but greater depth on the bench again proved the difference as they powered away over the final stages.


Some outstanding running rugby highlighted Marist’s big win over Eketahuna at Memorial Park No. 2.

Promising winger Hayden Cooper shone with his pace and elusiveness, while hooker Tua Levi and prop Stan Wright Junior were powerful runners with the ball in hand.

Eketahuna, though were well in the match at 17-17, but their lack of depth on the bench showed as Marist pulled away for a big win.


Masterton Red Star notched up their third big win of the second tier, scoring nine tries in beating Marist 55-7 to set up an intriguing clash with defending champions Tuhirangi in two weeks. East Coast edged out Pioneer 34-29, Gladstone were 26-7 victors over Carterton, and Greytown thumped Martinborough 79-7.

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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