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Upsets plentiful in club rugby

Club try marathon

Himiona Haira races clear to score a brilliant try, cheered on by captain Jonte Miller. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

The form book was turned on its head in the second round of the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup. Times-Age sportswriter CHRIS COGDALE wraps up Saturday’s action.

RUGBY

Marist 32
Pioneer 42

Pioneer captain Jonte Miller is praising the club’s passionate supporters for lifting the team to their second win in two rounds of the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup.

The stunning victory at Memorial Park No 2 leaves Pioneer, along with Greytown, as the only unbeaten teams in the championship, and announced them as a genuine championship threat.

“It was definitely an 80-minute game and the boys pushed through till the end and brought it home thanks to our supporters,” said Miller.

“They got behind us and we’re playing for the man on the chest [the club’s Maori warrior emblem] I guess.”

In many ways this was the Pioneer of old, playing with passion, confidence and a fair amount of skill, and there was none better than Himiona Haira.

The openside flanker was in everything, from making tackles, forcing turnovers, to setting up and finishing a brilliant 70m try.

“The bro has been on fire all year, and it’s hard to say he’s not the best seven in the competition and I’m glad to have him around every week,” said Miller.

Haira’s try was only one of several outstanding ‘meat pies’ scored by both teams in the see-saw battle.

It started from a Pioneer lineout, one of many won by Marist, but Haira quickly swooped on the bouncing ball, ran 30m and passed to No 8 Miller, who committed the last line of defence before passing to Haira to score under the posts.

That gave Pioneer a 21-18 lead 10 minutes into the second half. The lead was soon out to 10 points when referee Alistair Payne awarded a penalty try after Marist fullback Chris Matthews committed a professional foul while Pioneer centre Shayne Harmon was in the action of scoring.

Matthew’s subsequent sinbinning seemed to spur on the home side who responded with tries to replacement hooker Sam Siaosi and standout second-five Malatai Malatai, to take a 32-28 lead into the final 15 minutes.

A lapse in concentration on defence had Pioneer regain the lead when they took a quick tap penalty 5m out and Taine McGregor dotted down under the posts to make the score 35-32.

Marist looked to have regained the lead in the last five minutes but flanker Marcus Ale’s pass to his supporting winger Ray Niko Ale was ruled forward.

Pioneer had the last say, when winger Oakland Dene-Pene scored, much to the delight of the passionate Pioneer supporters.

Miller said the morale in Pioneer is high after their first two wins since returning to the premier division last season, and there is still a lot to work on.

Paddy Gluck, who had another strong game, scores Marist’s first try.

However, Marist captain Peter Beech was disappointed with his team’s discipline and composure at crucial times.

“You can’t have a player go into the bin and let in that many tries. But fair play to them, they played some good rugby, and we just didn’t match it at times,” he said.

“We did a lot of good stuff but then a lot of bad stuff, like a few one-off missed tackles and they converted a lot of their opportunities, and you can’t let someone score from a tap and go five metres out – that’s criminal.

“So, we’ve just got to go look at ourselves and see where we are individually in terms of fitness levels and things like that.”

GREYTOWN 41
CARTERTON 25

A strong start was the impetus behind Greytown’s commanding victory over Carterton at Carterton. In the end Greytown scored six tries to Carterton’s four, but Greytown coach Mark Childs felt his team had control from the first whistle.

“The first five minutes we had the ball and I think we did about 25 phases without an error, and that sort of gassed them at the beginning, and we were able to suck a bit of energy out of them,” he said.

“It was a good team performance, and some really good tries were scored. Carterton showed some of their endeavour, but we had the game sewn up 15 minutes after halftime.”

Again, the Greytown forwards set a solid platform, with props Tolu Fahamokioa [2] and Lewis Bush scoring tries. However, Childs singled out former All Black Zac Guildford, playing at second-five, as his player of the match.

GLADSTONE 41
MARTINBOROUGH 3

Three weeks can be a long time in sport and that was no more evident at Gladstone where the home side turned around a 45-13 trouncing in the ‘Town and Country’ series to annihilate Martinborough 41-3.

Veteran Andrew McLean, playing at No 8, bagged three tries, with wingers Billy Leberi and Nathan Chaney also scoring, while a penalty try was also awarded.

Gladstone coach Steve Thompson said the team were rapt with their best effort of the season so far.

“We were good up front and out in the backs, and we managed to break a few holes and had the go forward,” he said.

“The first half I thought we had an edge, and we carried it on in the second half. It was a complete turnaround, and the boys are pretty happy.”

The veteran coach wasn’t getting too carried away and said there’s a long way to go, but it was a better day.

EKETAHUNA 14
EAST COAST 17

A strong first half set up East Coast’s win over Eketahuna at Eketahuna.

The ‘Coasties’ took advantage of a sluggish first half by the home side to lead 10-0 at the break.

Coach Aaron Matenga said the game was decided in that first 40 minutes.

“We started off strongly, but Eke as always came back strong in the second half, but we had managed to get enough points on the board,” he said.

“We got some forward dominance in the first half, and we defended really well in the second half.”

Matenga said the win was an important fillip after leading Greytown at halftime last week only to fall away in the second half.

“I think after the Greytown game, the boys owed it to themselves there and I think it’s going to do wonders for their confidence.

“We’ve just started to get our full squad back from injuries and concussions and that sort of thing and we’re heading in the right direction.”

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Greytown, Pioneer 10; Marist 6; Gladstone, Eketahuna 5; East Coast 4; Carterton, Martinborough 2

SENIOR RESERVES

Carterton edged Masterton Red Star 32-28 in the battle of the second- and third-placed teams, Tuhirangi retained their lead with a hardfought 33-13 victory over Marist, Pioneer were too good for Martinborough 39-17, Puketoi defeated East Coast 20-0, and Gladstone and Greytown had a 13-13 draw.

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