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Week 3 – Report ~New Forrest Cup

blaketownA late surge carried Blaketown to an unlikely  32-20  victory  over  a  gallant Wests  rugby  side  on  a  windswept McLean Park, on Saturday.

Wests  —  shock  20-16  victors  over South Westland a week earlier — looked well  on  course  for  a  second  giant-killing  effort  when  deservedly  leading Blaketown  20-12  with  three-quarters of  the  match  gone,  but  a  previously lacklustre Blaketown finally came to life to snatch victory, with three tries in the last 20 minutes. 

In other games, South Westland beat Marist  20-17,  and  Kiwi  accounted  for Grey Valley, 79-3.

Blaketown’s  busy  No  8  Brogan  Watt led the resurgence with lock Alan Monk marginally  behind.  While  his  fellow forwards  were  on  cruise  control,  Watt, again off  the back of a struggling scrum, was  full  of  running  in  an  80-minute effort.

Wests,  claiming  two  tightheads,  had an  obvious  advantage  in  the  scrums but Blaketown dominated the lineouts, again with Monk and Watt to the fore, stealing many of Wests’ throws.

Wests first-five Nathan Smith was the star  of  an  impressive  backline  which, using  guile  and  pace,  was  a  lot  more creative  than  the  black  line,  which relied on the strength of Phil and Rob Thompson to batter their way over the advantage  line.   

Loose  forwards  Sean Meldrum and Craig Douglas shone in the Wests pack along with front rower Chris  Lord,  while  diminutive  17-year-old  wing  Nathaniel  Hamilton  played well above his weight to earn his team’s man of the match award. 

Blaketown,  aided  be  a  strong  tail wind, went straight on to the attack but struggled  to  cross  the  Wests  line  until Monk scored from a tap penalty. 

The  blacks,  with  the  wind  at  their backs,  spent  most  of  the  first  half  on attack  but  Wests  made  all  their  rare forays  into  opposition  territory  pay, firstly with a try to second-five Myson Teata, which levelled the scores at 5-5, and then a try to fullback Logan Ross, who juggled a high pass and scored to keep his team in contention at 10-12.Watt  had  scored  the  home  team’s second try amid a 30m rolling maul, the try converted by Nik Cumming.  

westsbWests  claimed  a  17-12  lead  at  the 32-minute  mark,  when  Smith,  with  a double  round  and  a  couple  of  dummy passes,  scythed  through  the  opposition to score and convert. Smith then missed two difficult penalty kicks  just  before  half-time  but,  soon after  the  restart,  managed  to  bounce another difficult kick off  the inside of an upright to stretch the lead to 20-12. 

Wests,  showing  more  tactical  nous and keeping the blacks pinned deep in their half, looked on course for victory but,  spurred  on  by  a  Phil  Thompson try,  and  a  Cumming  penalty  that leveled  the  scores  20-20,  drew  away with  another  rolling  maul  try  to Kevin  Curtis,  converted  by  Cumming and  a  last-gasp  try  to  halfback  Luke Negri,who darted over after a ball had bobbled out the side to a scrum near the Wests line.

Marist coach Luke McNeish said his side  fought  back  from  a  10-0  deficit at  half-time  to  lead  the  match  with five  minutes  to  go  but  were  unable  to clear the ball from their line in the dying minutes and South Westland capitalised.Giant  lock  Isei Ngasu  starred  in  the green  pack,  scoring  both  tries,  and flanker Sean Loveday produced another impressive performance. 

French  halfback  Hugo Torres  kicked a  penalty  and  two  conversions  but  his countryman,  lock  Sylvere  Mathieu, suffered  a  season-ending  facial  injury requiring surgery in Christchurch.“We  gave  them  too  much  of  a  start, managed to get the lead late, but then lost it,” McNeish said.

South  Westland  coach  Grant Matheison was relieved that his side had prevailed in a “good old ding dong”.“We controlled the first half but they had  the  better  of  most  of  the  second, until we got back in front at the end,” Mathieson said.

Man of the match, No 8 Josh Hill, was a tackling machine, while lock Neil Kelly relished  the  task  of  competing  against the towering Ngasu in the lineouts. Halfback  Kip  Nolan  was  his usual classy  self,  controlling  play  well,  along with Cory Deans.

South Westland 20 (C Nolan, J McRae tries, C Deans 2 pens, 2 cons)

Marist 17 (I Ngasu 2 tries, H Torres 2 cons, pen). 


kiwi2Kiwi player-coach Troy Tauwhare said new  centre  Mitchell  Sione  earned  the man  of  the  match  award  in  his  side’s romp over Grey Valley, but he was loath to sort out any others for praise.“It was pretty much a really good team effort with no one in particular standing out.”

Grey  Valley  player-coach  Ben Ferguson  said  his  side,  decimated  by off -season  defections,  showed  marked improvement  and  was  “turning  the corner”.

Halfback Keith McLeod had another outstanding  match  to  earn  the  man of  the  match  award,  while  lock  Kurt Decker  and  second-five  Kevin  Moore again proved his worth.

“We  are  taking  things  right  back  to basics. “It will take a while (to again compete with  the  best)  but  we  are  heading  in the  right  direction  and  will  get  there,” Ferguson said. 

Kiwi  73  (F  Wilson  2,  B  McBride,  S McClure,  J  Ferguson,  D  Tauwhare,  C Andrews,  D  Thomson,  N  Turnbull,  K Parker, M Sione, T Struthers tries; Struthers 8 cons, pen)

Grey Valley 3 (K Moore pen).

By Tui Bromley –