Final four decided
POVERTY Bay rugby’s premier club competition has its final four — OBM, YMP, High School Old Boys and Waikohu.
The four clubs have secured their spots in the playoffs, with two rounds still to play in the regular season.
Competition leaders OBM — who beat third-placed HSOB 40-25 at the Oval on Saturday — look likely to take the top spot, leaving the other sides jockeying for position.
Second-placed YMP held off a spirited Pirates-GMC 35-21 at Barry Park and fourth-placed Waikohu cemented their place in the semifinals by defeating a plucky Ngatapa 27-14 at Patutahi.
Enterprise Cars OBM coach Trevor Crosby was happy to bank the win, though it was far from pretty.
Both sides fielded patched-up backlines and errors flowed in the first 20 minutes.
“We had good patches in the first half,” Crosby said.
“Our ball skills showed in the second half, when we were deep in our half.”
OBM had the wind behind them during the first period and it got stronger as the half went on.
It meant that, though Earthwork Solutions HSOB were down 21-0 at halftime, a comeback seemed likely.
They slotted a penalty goal after the break but battled to turn their advantage in territory into points, and lapses in discipline were costly.
HSOB were reduced to 13 men at one pointHSOB were reduced to 13 men at one point, with both coach Scott Leighton, who came on as a replacement back, and openside flanker Stefan Destounis in the sin-bin.
No one relished the extra space more than OBM lock Juston Allen, who went on three huge runs and scored a try.
Blind-side flanker Gabe Te Kani also coasted in for two tries.
By the time HSOB had 15 players on the park again, the score had ballooned out to 40-3.
OBM second five-eighth John Jones had a good day with the boot in difficult conditions, kicking five conversions.
However, Crosby was perturbed that his side conceded 25 points in the second half.
“Both teams lost a bit of structure and momentum,” he said.
OBM No.8 Morgan Reedy scored the first try, openside flanker Adrian Wyrill dived in for their second and hooker Rikki Terekia crashed over for their third.
HSOB got four tries in the end, earning themselves another bonus point.
One was when Andrew Tauatevalu, who started at centre and ended on the right wing, had little room to move but still beat several players and scored.
Another went to replacement forward Salesi Niuvao.
But the contest was well over by then.
HSOB captain and No.8 Tamanui Hill said his team believed they were still in the match at halftime but they needed to be more clinical in OBM territory.
“Collectively, we didn’t play as well as we should have in the first half,” he said.
The yellow cards didn’t help their cause after that, though HSOB somehow managed to win the second half on the scoreboard.
'The boys dug deep in the last 20 minutes'“The boys dug deep in the last 20 minutes,” Hill said.
OBM prop Jayme Barnett played his 100th match for the club on Saturday.
“It was an extremely physical match, up front and in the backline,” he said.
“There has always been that bitter-sweet rivalry between the two clubs, so any win, whether it’s by one point or five points, is a hard-earned victory.”
His standout memories from the 100 games were playing alongside the likes of his brother Paul Barnett, Trevor Crosby, Robert Tata, Brent Ingram, Sam Cairns and Murray Hewson.
Larsawn Ngatapa had a brave showing against GT Shearing Waikohu.
Down 22-0, Ngatapa scored two tries and had a chance to get within seven points but Waikohu closed out the game.
Waikohu coach Jason Tuapawa said he had a couple of wings come up from the Senior 1s team — Thomas Rutene and Punch Noanoa — and both scored tries.
Tuapawa said Ngatapa tested his side’s defence.
“We needed something like that.”
Mario Counsell played well at halfback, Ethine Reeves at second-five and Larry Fleming at fullback, Tuapawa said.
Prop Tulsa Kaui and openside flanker Richard Green were also strong.
Ngatapa coach Steve Hickey said his team played well.
Two Waikohu tries just before halftime “sort of put the game out of reach”.
Or so it seemed. Hickey was proud of the way his team fought back.
“We’re not the biggest team,” he said.
“The guys just really gutsed it out.
“Chase Sheridan was outstanding at No.7. His work rate was unbelievable, and the tight five battled away.”
After two consecutive losses, YMP got back in the winner’s circle but Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates-GMC made them work hard for their victory.
Pirates-GMC backs coach Barnard Huriwai said No.8 Will Bolingford was their player of the day for his tackling and ball-running.
“He scored a try and set up a try.”
Centre Whakarae Henare also scored two tries.