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Semi-finalists confirmed

Clint Algie clears the ball for Eketahuna in their 26-5 win over Red Star. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

It took a few weeks longer than expected, but the semi-finalists in the Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup rugby competition have been confirmed.

Marist continued their impressive late season charge with another win on Saturday, but Martinborough’s upset win over previously unbeaten Gladstone ensured Marist can no longer sneak into a play-off spot.

Gladstone and Carterton are guaranteed to finish first and second on the ladder respectively, and will host semi-finals on July 21.

They will be up against Martinborough and Greytown, but teams will not know who they are playing until after next weekend’s final regular season matches.

Martinborough may have felt like their season was slipping away, with the indifferent form they have shown over the past few weeks, but they stepped up when it mattered most to claim an impressive 20-15 win over Gladstone on Saturday.

Gladstone may find they can relax a little, now that their unbeaten streak has come to an end, but they will be keen to bounce back quickly next weekend and ensure they head into the play-offs in the same confident frame of mind they have played with all season.

There weren’t many points scored in Carterton’s clash with Greytown on Saturday, but that didn’t mean the game was any less exciting.

Carterton came away with a narrow 8-6 win, and in the process guaranteed themselves a home semi-final.

Both matches could potentially have been previews of the semi-final match-ups in a couple of weeks, but that will depend on next weekend’s results.

Eketahuna were able to celebrate just their second win of the season of Saturday, as they beat winless Masterton Red Star 26-5 at Colombo Rd.

Both teams have struggled to make much of an impact throughout the season, but the result means Red Star are unlikely to secure a win this season, with their last match an away trip to Gladstone.

Marist knew they had to beat East Coast on Saturday to keep their faint play-off hopes alive, but unfortunately for them, their fate was not in their own hands.

They got the job done with a convincing 31-7 win at Memorial Park, but they are destined to finish agonisingly short of a top four spot.

The most important match of next weekend’s final round will be Greytown against Martinborough, at Greytown.

The winner will go on to play Carterton in one semi-final a week later, while the loser will travel to Gladstone for the other playoff match.

Both match-ups present their own challenges, with Gladstone proving unbeatable at home so far this season while Carterton have hit their straps at the right time.

In next weekend’s other matches, Gladstone will host Red Star, East Coast will play Carterton and Eketahuna will look to finish the regular season on a high against Marist.

Premier results: Martinborough 20 Gladstone 15; Marist 31 East Coast 7; Carterton 8 Greytown 6; Eketahuna 26 Red Star 5.

Senior reserves: Tuhirangi 45 Puketoi 21; Pioneer 22 Carterton 12; Pioneer OB 38 Featherston 29; Marist 29 Greytown 29; Gladstone 15 Martinborough 5; Eketahuna 55 East Coast 5.

Premier standings

Gladstone 58
Carterton 51
Martinborough 42
Greytown 41
Marist 35
East Coast 21
Eketahuna 14
Red Star 1

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