Alexandra fighting hard for semi spot

Alexandra is a bit like Owaka and Green Island - an unfancied club turning doubters into believers every week.

The team went winless last year, but this season it is in a dogfight for the playoffs.

It has five wins and is fresh from a tense 18-14 win against rival Arrowtown.

"During the last four games the boys have gained a lot of self-belief and confidence," coach Bevan Passmore said.

"We've just been trying to build on that.

"We've got a good group of young guys and some old heads in there that are keeping everyone grounded."

The competition is tight. There are six clubs jostling for the top four spots. Upper Clutha (37 points) leads the standings with seven wins and a draw from nine games.

The Cromwell Goats are three points back with six wins from nine games.

Wakatipu (31 points) is also well placed, while Arrowtown (28 points), Alexandra (23 points) and Maniototo (19 points) are battling hard for a semifinal berth.

Alexandra will pick up an automatic five points this weekend. It was scheduled to play Matakanui Combined, but it pulled out earlier this season. The game will be recorded as a 20-0 win.

"We've got a pretty tough run during the last four games of the season. But we've got to take it one game at a time and just keep doing what we've been doing, because I think we can compete with any of the teams in the competition."

That run to the playoffs involves playing the top three sides. Passmore thinks his side can afford to drop one of its four games and still make the playoffs. Plan A is to keep winning.

The team will look to captain James Dobson for inspiration. He has provided plenty of that all season.

Young first five-eighth Taura Wilson has been in good touch. The 21-year-old kicked some crucial points in the win against Arrowtown.

The other key player is lock-cum-loose forward Cameron Wright. He has provided a lot of grunt in the pack and is always busy.


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