by Matt Kersten – GreyStar ( 26/06/2013)
Blaketown’s 34-22 club rugby victory over Wests at Cass Square, Hokitika on Saturday was anything but comfortable the seagulls’ structure and size carrying them through to an uneasy win against the underdog hosts.
Kiwi and South Westland also fought out a ferocious match on Cass Square’s second field, with Kiwi maintaining a narrow lead through to the final whistle.
On the other end of the scale was Grey Valley’s game against Marist. Marist were unable to score as valley piled on nine tries for a 53-0 hiding.
In Hokitika, Wests’ effort belied their lack of size against the towering Blaketown side.Up to 20 minutes into the first half they looked as though they were destined for a similar thrashing to Marist as Josh Cornish, playing on the wing in his second game back from a long term leg injury, scored out wide off an attack initiated by a Tyler Davy chip kick.
Blaketown then scored immediately from the kick-off, when inside centre Adam Richardson broke the Wests line cleanly, putting his side 17-0 ahead.
Davy then took advantage of a thinly-spread defensive line, the flying centre easily beating his opposite and the winger to dot down.
However, with 20 minutes past, Wests’ outstanding prop Heroshi Tea burst into action. Despite his size and position in the front row, the hulking Samoan ran the ball like an agile centre, stepping off both feet and putting his team on attack for a lengthy period.
It first resulted in a penalty within range of the posts, kicked by flyhalf Aaron Shaw, followed by centre Matt Slaven crossing the line thanks to a Tea charge.
Shaw had another attempt at goal prior to half-time, although his kick was off-target, leaving Wests trailing 17-10.
Blaketown’s game stalled early in the second half, with no real direction shown by their backs mostly due to Davy’s departure at half-time and the forwards met with some resistance from their newly inspired opponents.
Gradually, after several taxing runs by lock Adam Torrance and No 8 Lomiga Vaaelua, Blaketown wore down Wests’ defensive enthusiasm and Phil Thomson, now in the centres, found them short of defenders on the left side to score in the corner.
Wests stayed in touch with a try to prop Matt Johnson after they pinched it from the kick-off, but Blaketown replied soon after as their own prop Mose Funaki drove through to the line to take them to 27-15.
With their heads down, the Hokitika hosts could not stop a confident Thomson from adding five more with a solo try through the middle of the paddock, bumping off one defender and slipping through the grasp of three more.
Loose forward Chris Lord added a consolation try on the stroke of full-time, but it was not enough to even put them in range of a bonus point.
Blaketown 34 (P Thomson 2, A Richardson, T Davy, M Funaki, J Cornish tries; Thomson, N Williamson cons)
Wests 22 (C Lord, M Slaven, M Johnson tries; A Shaw 2 cons)
Kiwi 38 (M Brown, J Kearns, J Searle, I Kearns, D Thompson, T Tauwhare tries, D Tauwhare 4 cons)
South Westland 33 (K Harris, C Scott, M Sanson, C Deans tries; Deans 3 pens, 2 cons)
Grey Valley 53 (A Verway 2, K Moore 2, M Bruhn, K McLeod, N Makea, J Featherstone, S Tavuklavu tries; Moore 2, Tavuklavu 2 cons)