Clutha Valley win, first loss for West Taieri

Clutha Valley is the only unbeaten team left in the Southern Region competition.

The Condors defeated West Taieri 27-17 at Outram on Saturday to snatch away the Speight’s Jug and the Holmes Milk Can.

The loss for West Taieri was its first since joining the competition last season.

Clutha Valley started the match with more vigour and was the dominant side for the opening quarter. Its structure was sound and lack of mistakes starved West Taieri of ball. Clutha Valley led 17-5 at the break.

West Taieri switched players around at halftime, which seemed to work in terms of getting back on the front foot. Valley’s defence was tested but it held on for the most part.

Valley’s loose forwards were very strong, especially on defence with Jonny Sargent and Liam Turnbull standing out. Thomas Johnson once again ran a quality ship at first five-eighth and scored 14 points with a try, three conversions and a penalty. Ben Scorgie put in a solid effort up front for West Taieri. Lochlan Kennedy and Jackson Reid were the pick of the backs.

Owaka and Crescent fought out a 19-all draw at Swamp Hen Park in Owaka. It was a physical and passionate encounter which lasted for the duration of the match. Crescent started promisingly with a near-perfect first-half performance. The Coal Miners kicked for territory and forced Owaka into making mistakes at key times.

Crescent scored just before halftime to make the score 19-5 at the break to the visitors. Owaka took control of the match in the second half. Its scrum was a good platform and the backs found metres out wide. The Swamp Hens showed plenty of ticker to draw the match with a try and conversion in the dying embers of the match. Owaka’s forwards were led well by Chris Chittock and Chris Preddy, who put in huge shifts. Hunter Cleland and Laumua Ieru were strong in the backs. Vavae Lesa was exciting off the bench, scoring the last try to draw the match.

Crescent was served well by flanker Josh Cook, who was deadly at the breakdown. Chase Owen controlled things well in the first half but left the field injured with half an hour left on the clock.

Heriot outmuscled Toko 39-19 at Death Valley. It was the battle of the forward packs with Toko more than matching the opposition. Heriot was forced to look elsewhere for options and found them out wide.

Heriot scored three early tries but Toko managed to hold on and keep the score at 15-5 at the break. Heriot kicked up a gear in the second half with four more tries. Toko finished strongly but paid the price for defending for long periods. Neta Masunu Utumapu, Mark McKenzie and Tyson Adams all scored doubles for the home side and were strong up front. Dylan Greer, Kaleb Hayes and Levin Coulter-Butler were strong for Toko.

Clinton won its first match of the season with an 18-16 win over Roxburgh in Roxburgh after being down 16-0 at halftime. The home side had the best of the first half, Clinton failing to get going.

Some key substitutions at halftime spurred Clinton into action and it came from behind to take the points. Glynn Lawrence and James Morris changed the game for Clinton up front. Manasa Vula and Lani Tumai had strong games for Roxburgh.

 - Francis Parker 

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