Varsity, GI in dogfight for sixth spot

The wrap

Five teams have been confirmed for the quarterfinals starting next week — Taieri, Dunedin, Harbour, Kaikorai and Southern. Kaik is hitting its straps at the right time with a comfortable five-pointer over the Magpies. Taieri made hard work of beating Zingers at the Eelpit but finished 14 points clear of the field. Harbour thumped AU to jump to third spot and is peaking at the right time. Dunedin dismissed GI with ease to remain in second. I may need to apologise to Varsity and Zingers for labelling them "gone" some time ago. Varsity is in a dogfight for sixth spot with GI. It is two points clear and plays Harbour this week at Port and a win will not come easy. GI takes on Zingers at Bastion Point and the way they are travelling, Zingers go in as favourites — if GI lose, they are gone. That would mean AU will get the dreaded "spoon" off Zingers as they will struggle to get anywhere near Kaik Prediction: Varsity takes sixth spot and AU sleep with the spoon.

Kicking the grassroots?

Just when we thought it was only the NZRU and Otago Rugby making it so hard for club rugby to survive, the DCC has joined the collective. I was out at the Toolbox on Saturday and the DCC parking wardens swooped and issued at least 100 tickets to unsuspecting punters who were only trying to support grassroots rugby. Apparently this "flying squad" has been rampaging all over the city in the past few weeks. What a mean-spirited bunch our council have become. I was one of the victims, which doubtless many will be happy about! I was parked well off the road at the end of the ground (where I have been parked for years) and there is no signage to say there is no parking there.

Down on the farm

In the North, it’s semifinal time (yes, it’s June) with Kurow taking on Athies and Old Boys taking on Valley. I’m predicting a country final similar to last year. In the South, Clutha takes on Toko and Clutha Valley takes on Crescent. I’m predicting the two Cluthas meet next week. In Central, I have no idea what is happening but Upper Clutha has its name on the mythical White Horse for the first time since 1972 so great work lads. Neil Purvis will be looking down from up high with a smile on his face.

Some important stuff

Terry O’Neill’s funeral was yesterday in Oamaru. Terry had covered North Otago sport, especially rugby, for more than 50 years. He was an institution in the sporting fabric of Oamaru. RIP, mate.

My old mate Doug Manu was made a life member of Harbour last week — justly deserved, big fella. He’s done it all out there as a player, coach and administrator. I hear it was a great night.

I noticed Ray Nu’u only played the first half for GI against Dunedin on Saturday. Not to be disparaging but he looked a yard short of a gallop so can anybody tell me why? Especially when this weekend could be the side’s last game and he is not even listed to play!

Club final

There have been some bizarre rumours that the premier club final is being played on Friday night, July 15. Let me put that misguided untruth to rest. The club final with be played at the Greenhouse on Saturday, July 17, kicking off at 3pm. It will be a gold coin donation to get in, and parking is free. The North Stand only will be used and the bars will be open for business. Make sure you don’t miss this showpiece of our season — more next week.

This weekend

Destroyed Dunedin’s best butcher Kenny Ball last week so the confidence is at an all-time high, and I’m feeling sorry for Harbour’s newest life member Doug Manu. His chances are slim to none. Kaik (13+) will be far too strong for the hapless AU Ponies at the High Veldt. I’m picking Zingers (12-) at home to ruin GI’s season and divest themselves of the dreaded spoon all in one foul swoop. The Sharks (12-) should be too good for the Magpies at the Sandpit and deprive them of their dearly loved "Ron Reggett" at the same time but it will be no walk in the park. Harbour (12-) at home are hard to beat so the Bookworms will really struggle but should make the six if GI capitulate.

In the country, I’m going well, so should account for Alistair Woodhead from Toko in superior fashion. Clutha (12-), considering current form, should be too good for the Prison Guards from Milton. Clutha Valley (12-) will just pip the Coalminers from Kai but there will only be a "Tilly Lamp" in it. Heriot (12-) should just get it done over Owaka and the Market Gardeners (13+) will be too strong for Lawrence.

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