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Sub-Union Division 1 Semi-Final Match Reports

Get ready for Nelson Bays finals footy weekend

Jonty Dine [Nelson App]

The club rugby season wraps up this weekend with two mouth-watering finals to crown our 2019 champions.

In a rematch of their epic Tasman Trophy final clash, Marist will meet Waimea Old Boys to decide the sub-union title at Trafalgar Park.

The teams reignite their rivalry which saw them play out a thrilling 100-minute final to decide the Tasman Trophy.

On that occasion it was Marist sneaking home 32-29 thanks to a clutch penalty from skipper James Hawkey. 

Both sides booked spots in Saturday’s showdown in contrasting styles.  

Marist hammered Stoke 46-24 while Waimea OB only just sneaked past Wanderers 29-20.

Stoke put up a stern challenge in the first 40 minutes but the Tasman Trophy champions would ultimately run away with it in the second half.

Marist coach Gavin Briggs says, being finals footy, they were always excepting Stoke to come out with plenty of intent.

"They certainly brought it and we probably weren't clinical enough, but we addressed a few things that we knew we were letting ourselves down with and things seemed to come right in that second half."

Stoke opened the scoring against the green machine through the boot of Declan Smith.

Marist’s Jamie Spowart and Sam Briggs looked in ominous form with ball in hand early, asking numerous questions of Stoke’s line defence.

Marist's pack then made a statement with a dominant rolling maul that hooker Sam Moli would finish off for the game’s first try.

Smith kept his side in touch with a second penalty before Stoke took the lead against the run of play.

With Marist hot on attack, winger Chris Little picked off an intercept and streaked 80m to put Stoke ahead 13-7.

Barrell and Smith traded penalties as the clock ticked past 40 minutes but Marist wasn’t done yet.

Sam Briggs split Stoke wide open in a blistering break before linking up with his halfback as Barrell put Marist one behind at the break.

Marist took the lead back through Briggs’ boot and then stretched its lead further as Rahiti Witehira finished off a superb movement.

Stoke replied through winger Nikora Kanara before Taina Fox-Matamua and Hopo Taufua put the nail in the coffin with back to back tries.

Spowart then produced some magic using his lightning agility to break the line before chipping over the last defender and regathering to ensure a new sub-union champion for 2019.

Gavin says the scoreline flattered his side as Stoke put up a valiant effort.

"We set a goal at the start of the year and we got there so just stoked for the boys."

The former Nelson Bays prop didn't hesitate when asked if his side could repeat its defeat of Waimea in the Tasman Trophy final earlier this year.

"Absolutely."

In the women’s final, it will be a repeat of the 2018 decider between Waimea Old Boys and Moutere.

Waimea sent a statement to the Marlborough side after crushing Motueka 73-10 at Jubilee.

Moutere however also put in an impressive performance against Wanderers, winning 42-22.

Results:

Marist 46 (Sam Moli, Cleve Barrell, Ra Witehira, Taina Fox-Matamua, Hopa Taufua, Jamie Spowart, tries, Barrell 5 cons, 2 pens) v Stoke 24 (Chris Little, Kanara tries, Declan Smith 1 cons, 4 pens)

Waimea Old Boys 29 v Wanderers 20

Tohis, Blues to meet in ‘Big Dance’

By Peter Jones [Marlborough App]

The 2019 Marlborough club rugby title will end up in familiar hands.

Next weekend, Waitohi and Central will meet in the final of the sub-union division one competition, having repelled the efforts of two pretenders to the local rugby throne.

Neither Renwick nor East Coast, the beaten finalists on Saturday, have ever had their hands on the premier crown and, despite their best efforts in a Lansdowne Park double-header, they will have to wait at least another season to do so.

The top qualifiers for the play-offs, both boasting a string of grand final victories, showed composure and big match experience to book a date at the “big dance” - Central beating East Coast 30-16 and Waitohi battling past Renwick 29-22.

In the early game Central trailed a fast-starting East Coast side 10-11 at halftime, but notched 20 unanswered points in the first 28 minutes of the second spell to book a place in the decider.

It would have taken a brave punter to suggest the Coasters would lose by 14 points after their start to the match. On the back of a dominant scrum, raking kicks from out of defence, hard straight-running and well-timed off-loads they controlled the first 35 minutes, pushing out to 11-0 but, more notably, missing several opportunities to build a larger advantage with the stiff wind at their backs.

Eventually first five Mitch Smith landed a penalty to get the Blues on the board, before one of the game’s turning points. A Myles Hamilton penalty goal attempt drifted wide, then Central cleverly regained possession form the ensuing 22 drop out, sweeping onto attack.

Minutes later they had their first try, flanker Hayward Kaloni scoring after a lineout drive and suddenly just a single point separated the sides at the break.  

Soon after oranges, an early Smith penalty put the Blues in front, before two superbly-constructed converted tries plus another Smith three-pointer, established an advantage the Coasters were never going to run down.

Flanker Braden Stewart was outstanding for Central, along with Smith, whose accurate passing and goal-kicking was a highlight, winger Nigel Satherley, midfielder Jake Cresswell and hooker Jesse MacDonald.

East Coast got good value from lock Jordan Judge, flanker Jake Collins, centre Ben Filipo and fullback Sam Westenra.    

Central skipper Reyne Volavola said he “had plenty of faith in the lads to come back” and felt they used the breeze well in the second 40.

“We basically turned around and started doing to them what they had been doing to us. The try just before halftime made a huge difference.” 

The second semi turned into a tighter affair.

Waitohi dominated a large percentage of the first half, going out to an 18-3 halftime advantage. However three second half tries to Renwick closed the gap to two points in the dying minutes, Renwick missing a conversion that would have levelled the scores.

Then it was the crew from Picton who had the final say, a last-gasp try to No 8 Taimi Fangatua sealing the deal for the Tohis, who finished the match with 14 players after flanker Rocky Leofo was sent off for throwing a punch with 10 minutes to go.

The experience of inside backs Jimmy Giles, Corey Bovey and Tim O’Malley was a key for the Picton-based lads, plus the elusive skills of fullback Fetuli Paea.

However their outstanding player was prop Duane Aholelei, whose rampaging runs created the momentum Waitohi fed off in the big moments.

Renwick showed courage and skill to get back into a contest that looked almost gone, their best being skipper Josh Holdaway, Quinn Harrison-Jones, Owen Soper, inside backs Jan Hasenlechner and Dion Narayan, plus midfielder Michael Vaeno. 

Waitohi captain/coach Jimmy Giles suggested the half time break arrived at the wrong time for his side, who ended the first 40 camped on Renwick’s line.

“Maybe it was just that Renwick flicked a switch, but we also made some bad decisions and they clawed it right back in the second half.

“I did consider [the possibility of] extra time but I reminded the boys that we had been in the same situation before and come through … we know what we can do if we just hang onto the ball and that showed at the end.

“All credit to Renwick though for playing the second half so well.”

Central 30 (Hayward Kaloni, Braden Stewart, Josh Chapman tries, Mitch Smith 3 pen, 3 con) East Coast 16 (Sam Houston, Steve Crudis tries, Myles Hamilton 2 pen). HT: 11-10 East Coast.

Waitohi 29 (Tim O’Malley, Duane Aholelei, Taimi Fangatua tries, Corey Bovey 4 pen, con) Renwick 22 (Michael Vaeno, Quinn Harrison-Jones, Ty Bampton tries, Michael Dillon 2 con, pen). HT: 18-3 Waitohi.