Marist Announce Title Aspirations.
By Nick Jeffrey [Stuff]
Marist confirmed it is right in the hunt for the 2021 Stuff Tasman Trophy club rugby competition handing Kahurangi its first defeat of the season with a hard fought 21-18 victory at Trafalgar Park in trying conditions on Saturday.
With three rounds remaining to decide the Nelson Club title and finishing order for the Tasman Trophy semi-finals Marist’s weekend win means they join Kahurangi and Waimea Old Boys with only one loss this season.
Marist's Sam Briggs takes on the Kahurangi defence at Trafalgar Park. Credit: Martin De Ruyter / Stuff
Marist trails their rivals by five competition points but has a game in hand and faces perhaps the hardest road, travelling to face Stoke this weekend, then Wanderers, before finishing the round robin at home against Renwick. Waimea Old Boys has Nelson and Central at home over the next fortnight before resting up for semi-finals with the bye in the final week, whilst Kahurangi has what many would say is the easiest path with Awatere/Moutere and Nelson (who have combined for just two wins this season to date) separated by a bye in the penultimate round.
They also looked to be in control of their clash with Marist on Saturday after playing disciplined rugby into the elements in the opening half with Kahurangi coach Brendan Smith delighted with his charges' first half effort.
“I was really happy to go into the sheds at 13-all after playing into the wind. Maybe we thought the work was done at the break and that cost us. Our discipline let us down in the second half. We conceded 16 penalties after halftime and it showed if you give good teams chances in good field position they will make you pay and that’s what Marist did,” Smith said.
Marist coach Gavin Briggs said his side relished the challenge against a quality Kahurangi side.
“Playing wet weather rugby is always a leveler and it was a challenging game between two good sides. We did a good job with ball in hand and played a bit more direct,” Briggs said.
Sam Briggs controlled play superbly for Marist, ensuring Kahurangi played the vast majority of the second half deep inside their own territory. Kahurangi’s forward effort was again impressive, led by lock Tom Robinson but they were unable to turn that advantage into points.
Waimea Old Boys again drew level with Kahurangi at the top of the table, re-joining the winner’s circle with a scrappy 32-14 victory in Picton over Waitohi.
However an early Waimea Old Boys try was their only return from the first 40 minutes and they trailed 14-7 at the break before getting their game going in the second half to score 25 unanswered points and bank a sixth win from seven starts.
“Once we got going our ball retention and control was very good. I think that early try must have made us think it was going to be easy but even though we made hard work of it, it was good to get back on the horse after last week. We’ve done a lot of hard work to get to where we are this season so we just need to keep pushing on,” coach Scott McKenzie said.
Cameron Roderigue tackled his heart out for the victors, while Michael Stringer again found holes in midfield on a day that was not made for backs.
Waimea Old Boys now looks forward to its 125th celebrations this weekend, with a clash against Nelson on Saturday, kick-off time to be advised.
Central kept its top four aspirations alive with a 24-7 win over Nelson, moving ahead of Stoke who were on the bye and into fourth spot on the ladder.
It was not without its challenges however with Central relying on a number of Senior A players to fill its bench and struggling at set phase with the absence of Quentin MacDonald. However coach Dave McCormick was happy with how his side fought through the adversity
“We hung in there really well. Our tight five dug deep and our loosies tackled everything in sight. We missed a chance to grab a bonus point at the end with poor execution which pretty much summed up the day but we got the win and we are still in the hunt,” McCormick said.
Renwick made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season, following up last week’s impressive win over Waitohi with a comfortable 36-7 triumph over Awatere/Moutere.
“We set a goal to back up after last week and it was a day for good old fashioned footy. We are getting used to doing what we want to do out there now and we’ve simplified things and now have some momentum to take with us into the Marlborough competition,” Renwick coach Tii Paulo said.
Isaiah Miller was strong off the back of the Renwick scrum and was confrontational with the ball in hand and on defence and he was backed up well by fellow loose-forward Sky Boskett-Barnes, while halfback Jayden Lister showed good communication and organisation and played a key role in guiding his side around the park.
STUFF TASMAN TROPHY POINTS TABLE (After 8 weeks): Kahurangi 31, Waimea Old Boys 31, Marist 26, Central 21, Stoke 18, Renwick 16, Wanderers 15, Nelson 7, Waitohi 7, Awatere/Moutere 5.
Golden Bay Fruit Senior Women
The form book was held in the Golden Bay Fruit Women’s competition as Waimea Old Boys Women and Moutere again registered victories four weeks out from their inevitable meeting in the competition Grand Final.
Waimea Old Boys easily accounted for Riwaka to maintain its spot at the head of the table thanks to a 42-10 margin.
After a change of ground to avoid a water-logged playing surface, Waimea Old Boys got into its work and made sure of a finals spot with two rounds still to play.
“We strung some good phases together and we are starting to gel as a team. We were able to get the ball wide, even though it wasn’t a day for that and we scored some really good team tries. I feel like we are building nicely to try and go out and earn a home final,” coach Tom Williams said.
Jess Harvie continues to stamp her mark on the competition and she was ably supported by Jade Armstrong who handled her switch from the front row to lock with aplomb.
Moutere had little difficulty in banking maximum points over Wanderers, winning 51-7 to stay in touch with Waimea Old Boys. Wanderers continued to struggle for numbers and had to rely on the loan of Moutere’s reserves to field a side.
Pippa Andrews directed play well and made key breaks throughout the game, with Eleri James-Sitters the main benefactor, scoring three tries. Hannah Gillespie, Eleri James-Sitters, Lesley Taufa, Fiali’i Solomona and Maiden Tupara all featured prominently.
GOLDEN BAY FRUIT TASMAN TROPHY – WOMEN (After 7 weeks): Waimea Old Boys Women 12, Moutere 10, Riwaka 6, Wanderers 0.
In The Car Company Nelson Bays Division 2 games played on Saturday, Marist, Tapawera, Stoke, Collingwood and Nelson all claimed victories, while in the Motorworld Marlborough comp, Central, Moutere and Waitohi also added to their season win tallies.
THE CAR COMPANY DIVISION 2 – NELSON BAYS (After 7 weeks): Collingwood 34, Marist 25, Tapawera 23, Stoke 22, Waimea Old Boys 18, Waimea Old Boys Colts 18, Wanderers 17, Huia 10, Takaka 9, Riwaka 6, Nelson 5.
MOTORWORLD DIVISION 2 – MARLBOROUGH (After 7 weeks): Central 28, Moutere 21, MBC Old Boys 19, Waitohi 14, Awatere 10, Renwick 7, Pelorus 5.