Taieri look unstoppable — yawn

The wrap

Kaik kept GI scoreless to drag themselves up from the bowels of obscurity to fifth spot and are a win away from confirming a spot in the six. GI meanwhile are teetering on the abyss. Varsity branded the Ponies from AU to give themselves a modicum of a sniff. Southern pulled off a big win to leap to third and guarantee a spot. Taieri thrashed nearest challengers Dunedin as they careered to 35 points, and I think the title is locked away for the second successive year — yawn! Taieri, Dunedin, Southern, Harbour and Kaik are in. GI and Varsity are fighting for sixth spot with GI slight favourites as they play Zingers in the last round. AU and Zingers play their last game next week, which to my mind is criminal.

The High Veldt

Just what was going on at the High Veldt at the weekend? Did somebody put "acid" in the water tanks? Firstly, in a Junior Colts game the Dunedin Hammerheads nearly had a pitch invasion after trampling on RSCN’s beloved ropes. Apparently they couldn’t believe the ref was wearing Kaik socks. As it turned out, Kaik club captain Rhys Heatley had to grab the whistle because of a shortage of refs! In the big game, GI’s Jessie Va’afusuaga got a red card for an indiscretion which didn’t go down well with Spannerhead supporters. Then one of the GI "heavies" got into a verbal stoush with ref Logan Whitty and was asked to vacate the premises. Just to cap it off, a member of the Kaik management team was asked by a photographer to identify a player and he promptly broke down in tears. Let’s be fair, Stew Parker has always been an emotional man but the "rift" and Saturday’s events were obviously just too much! On a serious note, the shortage of refs is OUR problem, and this stuff doesn’t help.

A worrying sign

We have great numbers in the junior colts grade which is due to a lot of innovation bought in by CRC. The comp has just split into a top and bottom six to ensure we don’t have too many lopsided scores and kids are playing kids of like abilities. The worrying factor is the make up of that top six. Dunedin has three teams, Kaik has two and the sixth team is Upper Clutha. So our other seven premier clubs are in the bottom section. Great work on recruitment from Dunedin and Kaik and hats off to Upper Clutha, but a lot of work required from the rest. Safe to say Dunedin or Kaik will win — too close to call.

Down on the farm

In the North, three teams are in the four — which unbelievably starts next week. Old Boys, Valley and Kurow are in with Athies and Maheno fighting for the last spot. All will be revealed this weekend. In Central, all eight teams have made the playoffs — fantastic! Perhaps AU and Zingers could join them — makes about as much sense. I’ll comment on Central rugby when the lunacy is over, and from what I can work out that could be when they have an actual final. If not, all teams could share it! In the South, Clutha Valley, Clutha and Crescent are in the four which starts next week. Toko, Heriot and West Taieri are still fighting out fourth spot, with the Prison Guards the favourites.

Women’s final

Big River Country take on the Dunedin Sharks for the title in Clydevale this weekend. The Sharks will be up against it down there, guaranteed to be home town officiating with patches over both eyes. But they’ve been the best team, so to the victors go the spoils. I also understand the Sharks have been done no favours by the wicked witches of the east from Dunedin Netball.

Apparently a couple of the Sharks play premier netball and the games clashed on Saturday. The two netball teams talked and agreed to play the game tonight — great work, you would think, but NO. You have to give two weeks’ notice — pretty hard to do till you’ve won a semifinal. Rugby could be better run than I thought! Anyway, if you’re passing through "banjo" country, call in and have a look at the final at 12.45pm on Saturday.

This weekend

I think I picked two results out of nine last week. Some expert I am. The confidence is shattered but luckily I’m taking on the famous Kenny Ball from Zingers this weekend and even I beat Dunedin’s best butcher. Southern (12-) are at home to Kaik this weekend at Bog Bathgate and it’s nearly too close to call, but the Magpies just. GI are at home at the beloved Toolbox but the Sharks (13+) are circling and they should be too big, too strong for an understrength Spannerhead outfit. Taieri (13+) take on the hapless Zingers at the Elver Pit and they should "jelly" them into submission. AU, who are now claiming they are the oldest club in Dunedin (they are seriously deluded), which is surprising considering they haven’t had a 150th yet, are taking on Harbour (13+) and I’m thinking it will be one-way traffic. In the women’s final, Big River Country go into the game as overwhelming favourites, especially on the strength of their big pack but I’m tipping Dunedin (12-) against all the odds.

The late mail

So the ABs named their squad to take on Ireland in a series in early July. What an underwhelming side that was. Were the selectors not at Dublin or Paris late last year? Get your money on the Irish early. I’ll discuss the side next week but how do you keep picking a bespectacled Chiefs prop who supposedly plays both sides when in reality he can’t play either?

paul.dwyer@alliedpress.co.nz

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