Mid Canterbury defence too strong
Mid Canterbury defeated Thames Valley 25-16 in the Heartland Championship rugby match played at Paeroa last Saturday.
The two teams battled away in a fairly even contest but Mid Canterbury had the edge with a very strong defence which the Swamp Foxes found difficult to penetrate.
The crucial moment came just before half time when Thames Valley were ahead 9-8 and hot on attack but the visiting first fiveeighth gained an intercept and ran the length of the field to score a try.
The try was converted to give Mid Canterbury a half time lead of 15-9.
With their tails in the air, Mid Canterbury opened the second half strongly and quickly scored 10 more points made up of a penalty goal and a converted try.
Even though they were behind by 16 points, Thames Valley mounted several strong attacks with player of the day, Brett Ranga featuring prominently.
Following three consecutive five metre scrums Alex Bradley went over for a try between the posts which Chris Doak converted.
Thames Valley were well and truly back in the game and there were still 20 minutes to play.
Replacement five-eighth, Beau Hamilton missed a handy penalty goal but the Mid Canterbury defence held true as they maintained a high level of accuracy with their tackling.
However the tackle of the match was made by Alex Bradley as he sent Mid Canterbury forward-replacement Matt Bentley flying backwards in a huge hit much to the delight of the crowd.
There was no further scoring in the match and Thames Valley even turned down a penalty attempt (that would have given them a bonus point) in favour of trying to score a try which they almost did in the final move of the game.
Besides a try to ‘‘Birthday boy’’ Alex Bradley Chris Doak kicked three penalty goals and one conversion.
Thames Valley now line seventh on the points table and next Saturday they play West Coast at Greymouth – West Coast are one point behind so both teams are competing for the better play off position.
Thames Valley’s final game of the regular season before the semi-finals is against Poverty Bay and it has now been transferred to Te Aroha on Saturday, October 14.
Thames No.8 Alex Bradley goes for a run with team mates Sam McCahon (left) in support.
Thames Valley halfback Jonty Wood about to clear the ball against Mid Canterbury.