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Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Greytown move up the ladder

Pioneer 21

Marist 19

Pioneer finished stronger to seal a valuable four points and stay in top-four contention with a deserved win over Marist in the mud and rain at Jeans Street.

Pioneer captain Reece Calkin was thrilled with the way his players stuck to their game plan, especially in the second half after persistent heavy rain and the worsening ground conditions made constructive rugby difficult.

“They were pretty tough, it was slippery, and it was hard to catch the ball, but I thought we managed the conditions pretty well,” Calkin said.

“We tried to keep it in the forwards as much as we could and see if we could build phases and hopefully force some mistakes and capitalise on that.

“We needed that win, especially for our goal to make the top four, and we’re building nicely, so on to the next one now.”

Little separated the two teams from the first whistle, and the teams were locked together at 13-13 at halftime, with most of those points coming in the final 12 minutes of the half.

Hayden Cooper had given the Marist the early lead with a penalty, but it wasn’t until centre Nikora Ewe scored wide out that the game opened up. Outstanding flanker Himiona Haira then added a second try from a lineout drive to give Pioneer a 10-6 lead.

A touch of brilliance from Mesake Koroitukana saw Marist regain the lead. The Fijian winger fielded a Calkin clearance that failed to find touch and beat four tackles to score handy to the posts for an easy conversion.

Two Cooper penalties gave Marist a 19-13 lead early in the second stanza, but Marist’s attempts to move the ball in the increasingly worsening conditions backfired when a loose pass deep in their half led to Haira scoring his second try.

An Ewe penalty after 63 minutes gave Pioneer a 21-19 lead, and from then on, they had the better of the territorial and possession battle to secure a vital victory and regain the Warwick Goodger Memorial Cup, played for between the two teams.

“He means a lot to us as a club, and for me, I knew him since he was a kid,” Calkin said.

“He used to be my babysitter, and speaking about it during the week that was a big focus, and we wanted to bring that cup home.”

Pioneer stay in fifth place in the championship, and Marist dropped to fourth.

Greytown 27

Carterton 21

Greytown again showed that when it comes to the business end of the season, they can never be counted out.

Their win at home over fierce rivals Carterton moved them to third in the championship standings with two rounds to play. Fullback Gracyn Evans, winger Joseph Te Nahi, veteran loose forward Tavita Isaac, and flanker Riley Walton-Sexton scored tries for the home side, who went out to a 27-12 lead before Carterton finished with two late tries, one a penalty try when a Greytown player deliberately knocked down a pass with Carterton having a three-man overlap.

Although there were only six points in it at the end, the score flattered the visitors.

East Coast 14

Eketahuna 11

East Coast coach Ritchie Robertson was happy to bag the four points but was disappointed with several aspects of their win over Eketahuna.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, but it was pretty willing here, there and everywhere, and there were a lot of mistakes which we weren’t happy with,” Robertson said.

“It was pretty intense, and Eke were pretty fired up, and they brought a big crowd with them.”

The Coasties scored two unconverted tries and lead 14-6 before a late Eketahuna try led to some tense moments in a nailbiting finish.

Much to Robertson’s frustration, his team turned down a couple of kickable penalties which, had they been converted, would have put the game out of reach.

The win on Saturday keeps alive the Coasties’ slim semifinal hopes and leaves Eketahuna stranded at the bottom without a win this season.

Martinborough 33

Gladstone 10

Martinborough have taken the championship lead after their bonus point win over Gladstone at Martinborough.

The home side, who were without eight regular starters with niggling injuries, dominated for most of the game in the wet slippery conditions scoring five tries.

Martinborough coach James Bruce was satisfied with picking up maximum points given that they were missing some key players. He said that gave him the opportunity to give some younger players some game time, and that was good for the development.

Loose forwards Jake Goodger and Logan Flutey, and halfback Chance Ropiha impressed for the winners, while Freddy Eschenbach stood out for Gladstone.

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Martinborough 24, Carterton 23, Greytown 19, Marist 18, Pioneer 16, East Coast 13, Gladstone 8, Eketahuna 5.

SENIOR RESERVES

Tuhirangi were pushed hard by East Coast before coming away with a 17-0 win and taking over at the top of the table over Masterton Red Star, who had the bye.

Pioneer moved into third place with their 12 -5 defeat of Greytown, Gladstone beat Martinborough 27-7, and Marist own by default from Carterton.

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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