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Varsity continues to defy the odds and nearly put 50 on Harbour before the Hawks ruffled their feathers and got some respectability late in the piece. Similar up at Bastion Point where GI put 50 on Zingers which rattled home late with 20 of its own in its first hit-out. Southern did enough to win it but the Mountain Men sneaked in with a late try to go two from two. Taieri just does what it does — wins late. It was down to 13 players and a two-point lead but held on against the Sharks to remain undefeated and hold on to the Speight’s Challenge Shield. It is far and away the longest holder of the prestigious trophy. Taieri took it off the GI Spannerheads early last year and still has it. Surely somebody wrestles it away at the Eelpit this year?.
On the farm
North and Central kicked off this week with no massive upsets. Old Boys put on 70 against Excelsior and is back! I see Jacko, the top dog up there, has made a massive profit for North Otago on the back of Covid so the Dunedin clubs should be trembling as he comes south with pockets jingling in search of talent. In Central, the Goats beat the Arrow Bulls to put an early marker in the sand. In the big result, sister team the Cromwell Cavs drew with the Maggots. The big news around that result is that Peter (Galls) Gallagher, the doyen of Cromwell Rugby Club, and prominent life member, in the ODT-Speight’s picking comp last week picked the Cavs to get thrashed by the Maggots! To you Cavs boys, make sure you remind Galls of the result every time you see him this week. In the South everything went with form so no surprises.
The Elon Musk deck
Mike (Elon) Kerr, from the Eels, has been waxing lyrical about ‘‘the next-level’’ deck that Eels have built which will be a ‘‘game changer’’ for their numerous members. Consequently, I was expecting big things when I visited the Eelpit at the weekend. Considering the astronomical amount spent (some have it at $5000 per sq m) it seemed astronomically small and one wag suggested you had to have a ticket to get on it as it holds so few! You could put a rocket into space for the same money! Although I did hear one of the worst pick-up lines in history while among the Eels elite on Saturday. The netball girls were selling the obligatory raffles and Brian (the REAL) Hammer asked one if she liked raisins and understandably she was rather non-plussed so he quickly added “how about a date?”. Not surprisingly, she answered in the negative!
There was some controversy, however, as the Taieri Eelheads were looking to shout for the VIPs from the Sharks after the game only to find President O’Brien and Club Supremo Jack the Whale had skulked off after the loss — very poor form. Although in the latter’s case, he has a history of this!
Once again we have an intrepid band of men at all prem games in town whose job is to allocate the best three players in that game a share of weekly points. Also, they have to spot the game’s most promising up-and-comer. The player with the most points at season’s end will win the Speights-ODT trophy and the up-and-comer whose name appears the most will win the Ben Smith medal. The ‘‘twins’’ Milburn and O’Driscoll, and Finchy from GI plus yours truly are the judges. Our other judge stormed out after a difference of opinion. So if you consider yourself a bastion of knowledge get in touch and we might add you to our merry band.
Got absolutely annihilated by Ken Hodge last week but I’m over it now and on to Sandi Wheeler the real power broker at AU so surely I get back on the horse. Taieri (12-) can’t be beaten at home but I’m sniffing a GI upset. Southern (12-) may just be a bit strong up front for AU but it will be close. Varsity (12-) may just get it done at home over the Mountain Men but there will only be a couple of points in it. Dunedin (13+) should get on the board comfortably against Zingers at the Sandpit.
Destroyed Galls, from Cromwell, last week and on to Roly Willocks, from Clutha, this week so the golden run continues. Owaka (13+) too big, too strong for Clinton. Toko (13+) should get on the board at home to Roxburgh. Clutha Valley (12-) may get it done at home over Heriot but it could easily go the other way. West Taieri (12-) will remain unbeaten but Clutha won’t be far away at home.