by Julian Lee ( 10/04/2013 GreyStar )
Grey Valley’s Andrew Verwey on the rampage !
Those who were expecting a hardcore game when Kiwi faced Grey Valley, in Hokitika, on Saturday were not disappointed, Valley winning a close-fought match 25-20.
It could have been either team’s game at any point. Kiwi stunned the crowd in the first two minutes of the game when Kiwi winger Dale Green stole a try with the help of fullback Dan Tauwhare and wing Daniel Bishop.
Grey Valley were not fazed by the early try and retaliated with a penalty kick by first five-eighth Tim Priest and a try by centre Kevin Moore in the 15th minute.
The visitors continued to put the pressure on Kiwi but it was not enough to stop Kiwi centre Pete Te Rakau taking advantage of a loose ball to score.
This was the beginning of what turned out to be an excellent game for the dominating backs. Poor ball handling and a lack of flow in Valley’s backline allowed Kiwi centre Sean McClure to break their defence and score under the posts, making the half-time score 17-8 to the home team.
Grey Valley missed chances in the first half to tilt the score in their favour, and the first part of the second-half seemed to be going much the same way as the first, with the Kiwi backline turning around several breakdowns right on the tryline.
The visitors’ pressure did pay off, however, when they were awarded a penalty try in the first few minutes of the second half for a head-high tackle; Priest converted to even the score. Another penalty kick by Priest soon after tipped the scales for Valley, but for most of the second half both teams were keeping each other in check, with neither side having any obvious advantage.
A penalty kick by Kiwi’s McClure put tremendous pressure on the Valley boys in the last 10 minutes, Valley now being down 20-18, but they came back when centre Alex Biscay scored with five minutes to go, converted by Priest.
Despite a manic counter-attack by Kiwi, the northern raiders just managed to hold off to take the game 25-20.
Earlier in the day on the same ground, Wests suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of a still green Marist side, with Nathan Smith scoring four tries and Josh Costello a hat-trick.
Despite a strong first half, which saw the two teams on a fairly even keel, Wests lost momentum in the second half and turned the game into a walkover.
Meanwhile, Blaketown managed a comfortable 24-11 victory against southern rivals South Westland on their home turf.
Grey Valley 25 (K Moore, A Biscay, penalty tries; T Priest 2 pens, 2 cons)
Kiwi 20 (D Green, P Te Rakau, S McClure tries; S McClure pen, con)
Marist 55 (N Smith 4, J Costello 3, M Mudu, M Meehan tries; N Smith 3, J Costello 2 cons)
Wests 16 (M Slaven, S Bowe tries; S Meldrum 2 pens);
Blaketown 24 (B Cain 2, A Richardson tries; B Cain 3 cons, pen)
South Westland 11 (R Walker try; C Deans 2 pens).