Marist gave the hitherto unbeaten Blaketown team a lesson in running rugby, on Blaketown’s home turf at McLean Park on Saturday. A Josh Costello field goal in the last play of the day added insult to injury in the 35-14 victory. The result leaves both teams level on the New Forrest Cup points ladder, although Blaketown claimed the trophy by virtue of a better points differential.
In other games, Wests beat Grey Valley 28-24, while Kiwi accounted for South Westland 31-20.
The gulf between the two Greymouth teams at McLean Park was much greater than the 21-point margin suggests. Marist, with backs and forwards combining in long attacks — one spectacular 90m effort being ruled out for a forward pass — were well co-ordinated, while Blaketown’s disjointed effort suggested that most players had never met, let alone trained, together.
Were it not for three Marist tries being ruled out by referee Jamie McGeady, and a lopsided 19-10 penalty count (12-3 at half-time)in Blaketown’s favour, the deficit would have topped 50, and that
would have been a true reflection of the difference between the teams. The lightweight black scrum, minus usual grafter Brad Houston, conceded six tightheads and the lineout was little better. Marist’s was a true team effort but flanker Sam Tau and No 8 Ivan Robin were again always in the thick of things, while Costello, Brad Lewellyn, Haami Tangiora and
Maleli Mudu were keen to exploit gaps in Blaketown’s pedestrian backline.
Few in the black jerseys enhanced their reputations, but usual workhorse Alan Monk tried hard and hooker Mark Whitehead was a complete nuisance to the opposition at the breakdowns. Marist attacked from the outset, Costello being held up over the Blaketown line before Tau crossed and Hugo Torres converted at the 10-minute mark. Cain then missed a penalty kick but Torres, at the other end, proved more reliable
when also presented with a similar kick, 10-0. Within minutes, Torres was then held up over the Blaketown line but made amends soon after with a short pass to put Robin over for a try. Torres’ conversion put the greens up 17-0 before two Beau Cain penalties closed the gap to 17-6 at the break.
Any thoughts of a Blaketown comeback were dashed soon after the break, when a long loping 70m run for Isei Lewaqai led to a Tangiora try. Cain again gave his team-mates a glimmer of hope with his third penalty (22-9) before Lewaqai scored from a lineout drive, 27-9.
Blaketown’s backs managed to sum up their performance perfectly when three players knocked on or dropped the ball in the same passage of play, on their own 22, before Gilbert Fahey toed the ball ahead and won the race to touch it down. The hosts struck back with a penalty, which was tapped and thrown wide to Cain, who only had to catch it and dot down, but Costello had the final say when a Marist attack broke down and he elected instead to snap over a fi eld goal, 35-14.
Marist 35 (H Tangiora, G Fahey, I Robin, S Tau, I Lewaqai tries; H Torres pen, 2 cons J Costello 1 drop goal)
Blaketown 14 (B Cain try, 3 pens).
By Tui Bromley – GreyStar.co.nz