by Matt Kersten – GreyStar ( 26/06/2013)
Blaketown, crippled by injury, were unable to withstand a determined Grey Valley side in their senior rugby match at McLean Park, Blaketown, on Saturday.
The hosts suffered a 25-3 loss at the hands of the valley, who lived up to their reputation for forward domination.
Meanwhile, just down the road at Karoro, Marist put up a tough fight against top-of-the-table Kiwi, narrowly losing 29-24. The match was fierce, forward Dean Greaney ended up receiving 15 stitches to patch up two deep cuts on his face and suffered a broken hand as an indication of how rough it was.
In contrast, South Westland had a relatively cruisy victory over Wests in Hokitika, running in 10 tries for a 62-10 scoreline.
Both Grey Valley and Blaketown looked lethargic in the first half of their game. Grey Valley showed they were hungry for a win as they played to their strength, their forwards. Veteran No 8 Pete Nicholls led the pack, opting for the classic mauls from the lineouts to gain metres as the visitors took advantage of Blaketown’s own weakened engine room, which was missing key figures including Alan Monk and Robert Gabriel.
They took an early lead as fullback Kevin Moore, a Buller representative, slotted an easy penalty after Blaketown’s Beau Cain’s missed attempt just moments prior.
Left winger Samu Tavukilevu extended the buffer a few minutes later, benefiting from the ground made by lock Connor Jennings and halfback Keith McLeod, while Blaketown’s defence was broken.
The second half was much more exciting, though. By 10 minutes, Blaketown had the opportunity to draw within two points on the scoreboard but Phil Thomson and then Cain both missed penalty kicks at goal.
Calls of ‘freight train’ rang out from Nicholls’ mouth in the lead up to valley’s second try, and their set move from an attacking lineout was just that, all eight of the valley forwards shunted Blaketown’s out of the way and replacement Sam King, usually a halfback, was holding the ball in the midst of it all when they crossed the line.
Moore missed the penalty, but Grey Valley were in a strong position at 13-0.
Blaketown immediately responded with a period hot on attack, flanker Thomson and Cain both taking the ball to the line as they advanced up the field. Their play looked most dangerous when the pair were dictating the flow, and they earned a penalty, which Thomson was able to knock over.
The progress Blaketown was making was suddenly halted, however, when flyhalf Nick Makea scored an unusual try,he chipped it into Blaketown’s goal area where halfback Cole Watson retrieved it, but before he could put it down Makea nicked it from his hands and grounded it under the posts.
Blaketown launched another offensive, with centre Tyler Davy almost scoring in the corner off a well-placed Thomson kick, but he was ruled to have gone dead.
Grey Valley put the result beyond doubt soon after, and in similar fashion to Makea’s try. No 8 Lomiga Vaaelua gathered a kick near his own line, but fumbled it right in front of flanker Sam Dredge, who quickly grabbed it and dived over.
Of some consolation to Blaketown were the performances of busy flanker Brogan Watt and hooker Cory Lang, who looked almost fearless despite being outgunned.
Grey Valley 25 (S King, S Dredge, N Makea, S Tavukilevu tries; K Moore pen, con)
Blaketown 3 (P Thomson pen);
Kiwi 29 (D Bishop 2, T Tauwhare 2 S McClure tries; McClure 2 cons)
Marist 24 (M Mudu, S Tau, N Smith, J Komen tries; Smith 2 cons);
South Westland 62 (C Scott 3, C Deans 3, M Riley 2, C Nolan, L Syminton tries; Deans 6 cons)