by Tui Bromley – greystar.co.nz
Blaketown beat the Marist rugby team 37-19 in a dour New Forrest Cup rugby match which never rose to great heights, at Arthur Fong Park on Saturday.
In other games, the unbeaten Kiwi side collected the New Forrest Cup with a 42-0 win over South Westland, while Grey Valley beat Wests 36-26. With the referee whistling up 27 penalties to go with the slipshod handling from both teams, the Greymouth game was a procession of scrums and lineouts punctuated by the odd bit of cohesive play, Blaketown leading 15-14 at the break.
Blaketown’s usual suspects Brad Houston, Alan Monk and Brogan Watt were to the fore up front, while the backs did their best to fritter away all their hard won ball with misdirected passes and poor Marist’s best were again loose forwards Sam Tau and Ben Campbell, while first-five Nathan Smith, despite missing several kicks at goal, was classy in all other aspects of play.
Eroni Ulioborutu shored up Marist’s midfield and Josh Costello chimed in with two tries.
Blaketown player-coach Nik Davy provided a highlight of the match, the halfback making a sharp break from a ruck and kicking ahead for himself. His endeavours were rewarded when Costello spilled the ball back into Davy’s hands, giving him a free run to the line.
For the second week in succession Wests on the wrong side of the scoreboard but winners in the eyes of the Hokitika rugby public with their gutsy 26-36 loss to the highly rated Grey Valley. Wests’ forwards matched up well to the strong Grey Valley pack and took control early with a Logan Ross penalty and a Darcy Ralph try, following some strong forward play.
Ralph ran 20m to score from the back of a scrum and Ross added the extras to put his side up 10-0. Two more Ross penalties allowed Wests to lead 16-8 at the break and the lead extended to 19-8 before Grey Valley brought on some of the bigger forwards, who took charge up the middle allowing the home team to eke into the lead courtesy of the trusty boot of Tim Priest. Wests’ final scoring movement was a nice try to wing Regan Monk.
Coach Kevin Church said Wests’ outstanding players were Ross (16 points) and prop Matt Jeffers.
“It was a good game, well controlled by referee, Rob Maitland,” Church said.
South Westland coach Grant Mathieson said Kiwi were simply too well drilled and skilled for his side. “We only train once a week and get about 10 there for it, and it showed,” Mathieson said.
“You can’t be selecting a side an hour before the game and expect to compete with the likes of Kiwi – they are too polished.”
Mathieson said second-five Mark Le Lievre was a rock in midfield, making several try-saving tackles, while prop Jessie MacRae never bowed to his “Ben Monk came all the way up from Paringa and played the full 80 – probably the smallest player on the paddock but with the biggest ticker.”
Mathieson’s injury woes continued with Nathan Blackburn damaging a knee that probably put him out for the season. Kiwi coach Dan Tauwhare said the score flattered his side. “It was a hard game, we only led 14-0 at half-time and a couple of tries in the last five to 10 minutes blew out the score,” Tauwhare said.
Kiwi’s players of the day were centre Brent McBride and prop Daniel Oakden, while Peter Te Rakau had another strong game on the wing, Mitchell Brown impressed at halfback and Logan Wilson had a strong impact on the game when he joined the back of the scrum.
Blaketown 37 ( B Houston, N Davy, R Stanton 2, B Cain tries; Cain 2 pens, 3 cons)
Marist 19 (E Ulioborutu, J Costello 2, tries; N Smith 2 cons)
Grey Valley 36 (no scores supplied)
Wests 26 (D Ralph, R Monk tries; L Ross 2 cons, 4 pens)
Kiwi 42 (B McBride,S McClure 2, P Te Rakau 2, T Scaddon tries; McClure 6 cons)
South Westland 00