By Jonty Dine [Nelson App]
Marist proved too strong for Wanderers 38- 12 while Nelson edged Stoke 22- 12 in a double header at Trafalgar Park . Waimea Old Boys continues to set the pace with Marist after scraping home 17-6 against Kahurangi.
Nelson has bounced back from consecutive losses in the E’stel Tasman Trophy with a hard fought victory over Stoke at Trafalgar Park today.
Despite being outscored two tries to one, it was the boot of the returning Willy Havili which proved the difference.
Stoke made a thrilling start as towering Fijian Isei Lewaqai burst through a ruck with acres of space in front of him, only to butcher the opportunity with a poor offload attempt.
It would be the first of a number of strong runs from the bulldozing blindside.
Halfback Max Nalder opened the scoring soon after with a sneaky dart down the blindside as Stoke dominated territory and possession early on.
Willi Havili was back at the helm for Nelson after a stint with the Blues wider training squad.
The playmaker looked rusty early on, overcooking a penalty kick for touch but soon made amends with a long-range penalty to register Nelson’s first points.
Joey Scott, in his first year in club rugby out of Nelson College, looked dangerous with ball in hand while brothers in midfield Rupena and Kalani Parkinson enjoyed a fierce battle with Chris Kerslake and Nick Foxley.
Nick would dot down first for the hosts just after the break, the beneficiary of a pinpoint inside kick by winger Blane Wanoa-Commons after a barnstorming break down the right flank.
Havili added the extras for a 10-5 advantage before slotting a second penalty to stretch the lead to eight. The young fly-half had his radar well and truly on target as he soon nailed a third penalty.
Stoke struck back immediately however through replacement Chad Lowrie who converted his own try to bring his side back within four.
Havili restored the difference to seven soon after before sealing the win with a drop goal. "It was a bit scrappy at times but the boys dug deep," he said.
After a poor start to its campaign, Havili says the side is back on track after blooding some new combinations and with the youngsters getting up to speed with the physicality of club footy.
The former Nelson College skipper says he was happy to contribute 17 points from the boot. “It’s been a big work on over the summer.”
Nelson 22 (Foxley tries, Havili 4 pens, 1 drop goal, 1 con) v Stoke 12 (Nalder, Lowrie, tries, Hall-Smith 1 cons)
By PETER JONES [Marlborough App]
Central and East Coast racked up their second E’stel Tasman Trophy rugby wins of the season today, ensuring both Renwick and Moutere remained winless this year.
With the action returning to sub-union clashes, Central tipped over Renwick 20-14 in an arm-wrestle at the Renwick Domain while East Coast followed up their win over Nelson last Saturday with a 26-17 victory over Moutere.
At Renwick, it was anybody’s game at halftime, the Blues clinging to a 15-14 lead after a seesawing first 40. The home side started strongly in the second spell but couldn’t maintain field position, small mistakes allowing Central to dominate in that area and enjoy more possession. Despite that the visitors were unable to increase their slender advantage until the final 10 minutes when impressive No 8 Josh Chapman crashed over for his second try to seal the deal.
Others to shine for the Blues were fellow flankers Hayward Kaloni and Braden Stewart, halfback Ethan Jones, centre Jake Cresswell and fullback Mitch Smith who kicked intelligently, especially in the second spell.
The Renwick front row of George Tuineau, Sione Lonitenisi and Quinn Harrison-Jones played strongly, as did lock Jaydn Holdaway and loosie Atu Taufa. Kyle Marfell was all class at first five while winger Falaula Fotu-Moala, plus Orisi Erenavula and Michael Vaeno in midfield looked a dangerous combination until the latter left the field with a leg injury in the first half.
Meanwhile at Seddon, East Coast took early control of their clash with the Magpies, two tries to former Fijian international Nemia Ranuku helping them to a 21-0 halftime lead. However Moutere fought back in the second spell, scoring 17 points, although the Coasters managed a fourth try to register a crucial bonus point.
Ranuku, No 8 Shohei Nonaka and prop Brogan Matthews played well for the victors while fullback Josh Reece, midfielder Feofaaki Kaumavae and hooker Aiden Gane were the pick of the Moutere side.
Standings: Waimea Old Boys 19, Marist 15, Wanderers 13, Nelson 12, East Coast 10, Kahurangi 10, Central 9, Stoke 6, Waitohi 6, Moutere 2, Renwick 2.