RICKY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ
Marlborough Boys' College flanker Mitchell Boyce had an outstanding game on Saturday.
The Marlborough Boys' College First XV's chances of competing in the University of Canterbury rugby championship second tier play-offs disappeared in Christchurch on Saturday.
Although the Falcons showed plenty of grit and resolve against a physically more-imposing St Thomas of Canterbury counterpart, they were beaten 36-13 in their final round robin clash.
MBC, who scored the first try of the game, trailed 17-8 at halftime but fought their way back into the game, scoring their second try to narrow the gap to 22-13 with 10 minutes remaining. However MBC were unable to force the issue and a couple of breakaway tries to the home side allowed the final score to blow out.
"They were a dangerous team, certainly the biggest side we have played against this year," said MBC head coach Gray Cornelius.
"We made some silly decisions, trying to play too much rugby at times, and that cost us.
"[St Thomas] had a lot of X-factor and played the game at pace ... we tackled our hearts out but their size took its toll after a while and they made some half breaks and got their offloads going.
"We certainly fronted up though. Our success has been based on attitude before and during the game, plus effort, and those three things couldn't be faulted today. The boys can be proud of their comitment."
Loose forwards Mitchell Boyce and Ollie Lawson stood out among the MBC pack while halfback Jayden Lister, in his first start of the year, handled his core skills well.
Although the final positions and play-off draw have not been officially confirmed, it appears MBC will end up 10th on the UC Championship ladder, meaning they will be seeded second for the third-tier UC Bowl semifinals, where they will meet third-ranked Lincoln Combined, who beat MBC 12-10 last week.
The silver lining attached to the dark cloud of finishing out of the coveted top eight is that the Marlborough side will play at home next week, avoiding a third consecutive week of bus travel to Christchurch. Shirley BHS meet St Bede's in the other Bowl semifinal.
Top-ranked Christchurch BHS meet Nelson College and Christ's College play Timaru BHS in the Championship semis, while St Andrew's host Waimea Combined and St Thomas are visited by Rangiora HS in the Plate play-offs.
Scores: St Thomas of Canterbury 36 Marlborough Boys' College 13 (Keelan Murrell, Mitchell Boyce tries, Ethan Jones pen). HT: 17-8