Semi­fi­nal crunch time loom­ing

Franklin County News - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Onewhero kept alive their semi­fi­nal hopes with a hard­fought 24-20 win over Waiuku up the hill on Satur­day.

Both teams scored three tries in the match but the goal-kick­ing of Rhain Strang proved the dif­fer­ence on the score­board.

It was a back and forth game with a num­ber of lead changes.

‘‘It was a good win for us,’’ coach Les­ley Vainikolo said.

‘‘The boys showed lots of char­ac­ter and pa­tience to come back from be­hind to win. We still have our eyes on that top four.’’

Ard­more Marist re­tained their po­si­tion at the top of the stand­ings while also suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing the Coun­ties Power Cup as they smashed Pa­pakura 77-19 in a re­sult that sends an omi­nous warn­ing to the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Doug Sanft’s side racked up a to­tal of 13 tries in the mas­sacre and had 46 points in the first half alone.

How­ever, he was far from happy with the per­for­mance.

‘‘I am quite crit­i­cal of what we do. I think they were miss­ing some play­ers to be hon­est.

‘‘We were quite clin­i­cal in the first half but we got sloppy in the sec­ond and credit to Pa­pakura – they just never stopped fight­ing and they scored three tries – two in the sec­ond half,’’ Sanft said.

Ard­more Marist is in great po­si­tion – well clear of the chas­ing pack but it wasn’t all rosy pick­ing up an in­jury con­cern.

‘‘We lost one of our props with an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age so he will miss a few weeks,’’ Sanft said.

Ma­nurewa em­bar­rassed arch ri­vals Pukekohe in a lop-sided score line at Colin Lawrie Fields. Sec­ond placed Ma­nurewa beat the home side 54-17 to put a mas­sive dent in Pukekohe’s semi­fi­nal as­pi­ra­tions.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly one of our best per­for­mances of the sea­son so far,’’ coach Jeremy Clark said.

Pa­tuma­hoe pro­duced a su­perb de­fen­sive display to beat four-time de­fend­ing Mc­Na­mara Cup cham­pi­ons Bom­bay – their sec­ond win of the sea­son over the same op­po­si­tion.

Waiuku’s Te­vita Halafihi breaks out of Trina Nahi’s tackle.

RICHARD SPRANGER

Rhian Strang ‘s goal kick­ing was what helped Onewhero get over the line in the game against Waiuku.

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