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The second half was equally as tight, both sides’ defensive games on point. Valley scored the only points in the half through replacement loose forward Conrad Williams to take a hard-fought win and lock up the McIntosh Cup for the summer.
The Valley pack got through an honest shift, Damian Wilson, Adam Turnbull and Jordan Willocks all putting in the hard yards. Jonny Sargent was the pick of the Valley backs.
Tom Fraser and Elliott Hancox were outstanding for Heriot in the loose. Neta Masunu Utumapu carried strongly all match.
These two teams will meet again next week in one of the
top four semifinals.
West Taieri locked in second place and a home semifinal after a 66-5 away win over Roxburgh.
The game was put to bed before halftime and the 40-0 score line at the break could have easily been more if West Taieri’s draw-and-pass game had been on point.
The match was called off early, neither side gaining anything from the final minutes.
West Taieri’s forwards were far superior, and Ethan Hippolite, Conor Beaton and Conner Jenkins were the pick of them. Jared Cunningham, Will Scorgie and Issac Timoko were deadly in the backs. Timoko picked up four tries for his troubles.
Roxburgh tried hard but was no match for the opposition. Manasa Vula scored its only try and was the best player in sky blue, as he has been all season. West Taieri will host Clutha next week in Outram in the other top four semifinal.
Clutha pushed its way up to third in the table after a 26-0 win over Owaka at Swamp Hen Park.
The match was tighter than the scoreboard suggested and the halftime margin was just 7-0 to the travelling side.
Owaka had the lion’s share of territory in the match but failed to capitalise, last-minute mistakes in the red zone costing the side dearly.
Clutha treasured possession more and was helped out by some poor first-up tackling and lethargic fringe defence from the home side.
Clutha was served well up front by lock Tyler Brouwer, who had a strong match in the tight. Kurt Turnbull and Josh Turnbull also got through plenty of work. Matt Korteweg was very useful at fullback, defusing plenty of attacking threat and kicking intelligently at times. Chris Chittock and Chris Preddy stuck to their work for the full 80 minutes and really made a difference on both attack and defence. Jack Holland-Spinks was the standout back for the home side. Lochie Hannah, in his 100th match, was not too far behind either.
Toko secured a home semifinal in the bottom four after a 26-15 win over Clinton in Milton.
Toko winger Fareni Young broke the deadlock as halftime approached to give the home side a 5-0 lead at the break.
The home side came out firing in the second half and was quickly up by two more tries courtesy of Scott Anderson and Liam Ferguson before Clinton came back into the match on the back of a rapidly improving set piece.
The match then went to non-contestable scrums, which thwarted Clinton’s impetus.
Toko was next to score through Jared Hayes, which looked like putting the game to bed.
Clinton scored a late consolation try to narrow the margin but ran out of time. The halves combination of Dion Shaw and Nic Shaw was immense for the home side. Scott Anderson was also strong in the backs. Jake Williams, Ben Williams and Jerome Waller were Clinton’s best.
- Francis Parker