Thursday, June 20, 2024
8.9 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Strong second half gets Martinborough home

Eketāhuna 17
Martinborough 31

A powerful scrum and Eketāhuna’s poor discipline were the catalysts for Martinborough’s come-from-behind victory to become the first club to lift the Lane Penn Cup a second time.

The early running at Eketāhuna was with the home side, who went out to a 12–0 after tries to flanker Sekove Finanu and centre Nacanieli Buadromo, but the momentum began to change in the last 10 minutes of the half with the sin-binning of Finanu for repeated infringements.

Despite spending much of the final 10 minutes of the half camped on their own line, the Eketāhuna defence held out until the visitors spread the ball wide for winger James Whitby to score out wide.

Whatever Martinborough coach James Bruce told his troops at halftime worked, and the “green and blacks” came out firing, although Eketāhuna were first to strike, with winger Lesikoro Ilisea having too much gas for the scrambling defence on a 75m run to the line.

The game’s momentum fully swung Martinborough’s way a few minutes later when Finanu was shown a second yellow card and a subsequent red card for continued infringements.

That left the side playing with 14 for the next 20 minutes, and Martinborough took control at scrum time. Three tries came from the dominant scrum, one to no. 8 Ryan Knell and two to the outstanding replacement Cody Cunningham, who had plenty of impact from the back of the scrum and surely must be putting his hand up for representative honours.

The other significant change was veteran Tipene Haira’s move from centre into first-five. His kicking game ensured Martinborough good territory, while his ability to spot the gap and run created problems for the home side.

Veteran winger Nathan Hunt completed the scoring after 81 minutes, setting off wild celebrations in the Martinborough camp.

“We worked pretty hard at training during the week because we knew Eke were going to be a hard team to beat up here,” Martinborough captain Jono Hartnell said after the game.

“That pushover try from the scrum gave us the belief that we could do it, and it brought us into the game, and it means a lot to the club to do it two years in a row.”

For Bruce, locking away the Lane Penn Cup for a second straight year has plenty of significance, having had much to do with the legendary Wai Bush coach during his playing days at Gladstone.

At the break, though, Bruce admits he was far from happy.

“I was so fired up at halftime I lost my rag a little bit,” Bruce said.

“We weren’t running with purpose in the first half; we didn’t believe in ourselves. We were still on the bus pretty much.

“Eke were really good, but they struggled at scrum time, which kept us going. That gave us a little bit of impetus, and once we believed that was what we could do, it was a lot better.

“We got there in the end, and to do it with the injuries we have got at the moment is a good feeling.”

Martinborough and Carterton finished the first round locked together on 29 points after Carterton won their game with East Coast by default. Martinborough won the Lane Penn Cup on the countback, having won their first-round encounter with Carterton.

Pioneer 26
Greytown 26

A late converted try earned Pioneer a 26–26 draw with Greytown at Jeans Street.

The visitors looked to have the game in the bag, leading 26–19 heading into the final few minutes, but a sustained period of pressure from Pioneer paid off when one of the forwards crashed over after a series of pick-and-goes, leaving Nikora Ewe a conversion attempt, which he slotted, to draw the match.

With nothing resting on the game, the teams attempted to play attacking rugby, but poor execution let down both sides at various times.

“It was a bit of a see-saw battle, an arm wrestle,” said Pioneer coach Victor Thompson, “and we just couldn’t finish anything off.”

Masterton Red Star 20
Marist 55

Marist’s pace in the backs proved too much for Masterton Red Star in a free-flowing game at Colombo Road.

Stars took an early lead with a converted try, but once Marist hit their straps, they built a comfortable 34–10 halftime lead.

In the end, the “green and whites” ran in eight tries, and Hayden Cooper scored 20 points from a try, six conversions and a penalty.

Injured Marist lock Peter Beech said the difference was Marist’s Wairarapa Bush players, with Tafa Tafa exceptional at first-five, Cooper and Charles Mataitai outstanding, while Willy Mataitai, in his first year out of college again impressed.


Martinborough, Carterton 29; Marist 27; Greytown 19; Eketāhuna 16; Pioneer 15; East Coast 11; Masterton Red Star 4.

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.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
scattered clouds
8.9 ° C
9.4 °
8.9 °
90 %
49 %
9 °
12 °
12 °
11 °
13 °