Nelson and Waimea's E'stel Tasman Trophy clash finished in a 22-all draw. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport
Waimea play out another epic draw
[By Jonty Fine – Nelson App]
Two old rivals went to war at Neale Park on Saturday, ending in stalemate.
Nelson and Waimea Old Boys played out a thriller in the E’stel Tasman Trophy and the two teams could not be separated after the exhausting encounter which ended 22-all.
Waimea would out-score the defending champions four tries to three, but Willy Havili’s superior goal-kicking saw the sides share the spoils in referee Mike Lash’s 100th premier club fixture.
Nelson would open the scoring on the back of Havili’s delicate chip for Saul Lewis who in turn found number eight Connor Rhind looming on the right flank.
Waimea then made a powerful statement with a dominant first up scrum, as Tim Coman scored from the ensuing attack.
Waimea’s relentless assaults eventually proved too much for Nelson as Jayde Palmer strolled over for the visitor’s second.
The offloads then came thick and fast as lock Lee Mcbrydle finished a superb movement with winger Mitch Amberger providing the final pass as Waimea took a 12-point lead into the break.
Some individual brilliance from Saul Lewis brought Nelson right back into the contest after half-time. The fleet footed winger showcased his best football skills before out-sprinting the Waimea cover and touching down just millimetres inside the deadball line.
Waimea would respond immediately however through powerhouse centre Erenimo Tau who waltzed over untouched after another Amberger offload.
Lewis picked off an intercept and went 80m to bring Nelson back within three before Havili would square the scores with a penalty.
Both sides would throw everything into the final moments as Nelson lost a man after a cynical deliberate knock down.
After five minutes of furious and frantic extra time, referee Lash finally called curtains on an absorbing affair.
Lash says it was an honour to bring up his century in such an enthralling match. “It’s always a tough battle and great to be involved.”
The result means Waimea have yet to taste defeat in 2019 having also drawn with top of the table Marist.
Nelson 22 (Lewis 2, Rhind tries, Havili 2 cons, 1 pens) Waimea OB 22 (Coman, Palmer, Mcbrydle, Tau tries, Eder 1 cons)
Elsewhere, Marist also remain unbeaten with a 42-22 win over Stoke at Greenmeadows while Wanderers pipped Kahurangi 21-19.
Waitohi, Moutere have differing reasons to celebrate
By Peter Jones [Marlborough App]
Waitohi and Moutere celebrated E’stel Tasman Trophy wins on Saturday night – but for vastly different reasons.
The Tohis’ 25-22 victory over East Coast at Endeavour Park in Picton earned them a semifinal spot, while the Magpies’ 28-24 triumph over Renwick, at the Renwick Domain, saw them notch their first win points of the season and move off the bottom of the table.
Both Moutere and the Green Machine came into the game without a win after nine rounds, guaranteeing a desperate battle, and that was how it played out.
The scores were locked 10-10 at the halftime break and when the home side scored almost immediately after the resumption the scene looked set for a Renwick celebration.
But ultimately it was the Moutere forward pack that carried the day, taking control of the game in the second spell with their team facing a stiff breeze.
Tries to hard-working forwards Matt McCormick and Jordan Hart allowed the visitors to get their noses in front, then ill-discipline and inaccuracy from the Green Machine allowed Moutere goalkicker Max Freydell to keep them there as the home side mounted increasingly frantic late attacks.
Locks Michael Leger-Kula and Amco Cassidy, plus flanker Luke Scott were at the heart of the Moutere eight’s effort, along with Hart and McCormick.
However it was the return of influential halfback Ben Finau that put air under the Magpies’ wings. The quick-thinking No 9 took control from the outset, ever alert for opportunities to attack and organizing his troops superbly.
Freydell, in the 10 jersey, was also influential, along with impressive midfielder Aki Kaumavae and elusive fullback Petueli Taufaga.
Renwick were well served by loosies Naisa Taufa, who scored two of their four tries, and Cody Weir. Halfback Jayden Lister continues to impress, while midfielder Michael Vaeno, winger Falaula Fotu-Moala and fullback Michael Dillon always looked dangerous on the break.
Moutere head coach Laurie McGlone was a happy man after the game. “I think the club has really come together,” he said, “there has been support from the division two side, which has really helped us in our preparation for this do-or-die battle.
“It’s the first time we have been able to name 22 players for a long time … the feeling among that team is that we are doing it for each other and that showed through today.
“We have been training week-in, week-out since January 8th so to finally get a win is fantastic for the boys.”
Meanwhile, Waitohi maintained their position as the leading Marlborough-based side in the competition, claiming their sixth win of the season. The Tohis ensured themselves a spot in the Trophy play-offs, as closest pursuers Nelson have a bye during next week’s final round. They will be the sole Marlborough representatives in the semis, with East Coast now too far adrift to challenge for the fourth position.
At halftime on Saturday, a Waitohi win was far from a done deal with the Coasters ahead 12-6.
Waitohi player/coach Jimmy Giles said the match was very even, even suggesting East Coast may have been the better side on the day, the difference being the home side were better at taking their scoring opportunities.
The scoring see-sawed throughout the second half, leaving the visitors ahead 22-18 with three minutes to go before prop Duane Aholelei scored from close range to give his side the lead, and Corey Bovey converted.
Giles said lock Dylan Burns put in a good shift, along with front rowers Manu Mataele, Losi Malimali, Aholelei and hooker Luke Bergman who helped their scrum to dominate their much-vaunted opponents.
Out wide halfback Saia Takai, first five Bovey and fullback Fetuli Paea impressed.
Myles Hamilton scored all East Coast’s points through a try, five penalties and a conversion.
Marist appear to have all but booked top spot for the play-offs, with Waimea Old Boys second and Wanderers third, although the side from Brightwater is well within Waitohi’s sights if they slip up.
Giles said his side, “were not too fussed” who they meet [in the semis].
“Although if we were able to grab that third position it would be a massive feat for the team.”