by Julian Lee – GreyStar ( 12/06/2013)
The clock seems to have wound back for Marist, who were playing on Saturday like the young green team they were at the start of the season, when they were beaten by Blaketown 19-5 at McLean Park.
An early offensive by Blaketown set the tone of the rest of the game, with the blacks constantly on the attack and Marist always barely holding them off.
Marist had a favourable wind to their backs coming off the harbour for the first 30 minutes of the game but did not use the opportunity at all.
A penalty kick by Blaketown fullback Beau Cain in the first 10 minutes was a sign that the team was keen to get points on the board rather than bother with difficult tries. They went for a penalty kick near the tryline five more times during the game in very similar circumstances.
Blaketown lock Adam Torrance eventually scored a try in the 22nd minute, a well-earned try for the team who were fighting against some serious cold, wet weather.
The black forwards have come a long way this season, and tight, highly organised play by the forward pack kept territory and possession in Blaketown hands for most of the first half.
Marist seemed happy to give away territory, but not tries as they rallied their defence on the tryline and repelled attack after attack from Blaketown.
A penalty kick by Cain towards the end of the first half put the half-time score at 11-0.
But Blaketown were caught off their guard at the beginning of the second half, when Marist second five-eighth Josh Costello stole the ball from the breakdown at the halfway mark and bolted 50m down the paddock to score a try on the wing.
One Blaketown spectator correctly yelled out that the blacks were ‘still in the changing sheds’.
That try was enough to wake up the team, however, and once again the boys from McLean Park attacked furiously, taking a whole field of territory in one go and setting Cain up for a try under the posts in the 47th minute.
One more penalty kick by Cain would set the full-time score with 30 minutes left to go.
The rest of the game largely consisted of Blaketown attacking again and again, but the Marist defence was enough to prevent any further points being conceded.
At one point, with about 20 minutes to go, Marist suddenly turned their game on and really went for it, but did not have the drive to break through Blaketown’s reasonable defence.
The tension was clearly building towards the end, when a stoush erupted on Blaketown’s 10m line with 10 minutes to go, but flying fists would never be enough to change the fate of the game another comfortable Blaketown victory.
Down in Whataroa, South Westland finally secured the victory they have been waiting for all season, beating Muir Trophy table toppers Grey Valley, 28-17, putting the southerners back in the running for the title.
Meanwhile, in a Hokitika derby Kiwi beat Wests soundly 31-5, with this victory being enough to put them at the top of the round table.
Blaketown 19 (B Cain, A Torrance tries; B Cain 3 pens)
Marist 5 (J Costello try)
South Westland 28 (J Hill 2, R Kennedy, M Riley tries; C Deans 4 cons)
Grey Valley 17 (D Crouchley, C Jennings, T Priest tries; T Priest 2 cons, pen)
Kiwi 31 (D Green, P Oates, D Bishop, P Te Rakau, J van Vleit tries; D Tauwhare 3 cons)
Wests 5 (N Cook).