Arrowtown defeats Upper Clutha again

The Central Otago premier club playoff picture is complete as Arrowtown, for the second time this season, tipped up defending champion Upper Clutha on Saturday.

Having clinched a narrow win at Upper Clutha in May, the Bulls again fronted when it counted as they hung on for an 18-14 win at Arrowtown's Jack Reid Park.

Having led 15-9 at the break courtesy of tries from fullback Blair Foster and wing Cam Beel, Arrowtown's expansive attack unsettled Upper Clutha during the first stanza.

It was forced into more tackles as the game wore on. The home side's tenacious defence managed to repel an onslaught from the Rams in the final 20 minutes.

Arrowtown captain Malcom Sutherland said it was symptomatic of the team "getting up" when it really mattered.

"I guess it was our mindset going in.

"We knew they were top of the table and that we're a good side. When we turn up with the right attitude we play some really good rugby."

Standout performers for Arrowtown were first five-eighth Connor Bissett, Foster at the back and openside flanker Johnny Appleby, who led the defensive effort.

Manager Ben Finn also paid tribute to lock Nathan Munro who is enjoying his first season of rugby.

"He has came over for a scholarship this year. He was outstanding for us."

The team team now goes to Cromwell with a burst of confidence and will back itself in a White Horse Cup blockbuster on Saturday.

Upper Clutha and Arrowtown could also be paired for a semifinal showdown depending on how results play out next weekend.

Upper Clutha is assured of finishing on 58 points as it was scheduled to meet Matakanui which has defaulted.

Arrowtown's win ends the semifinal hopes of Alexandra and Maniototo which will both be playing for pride during their final-round showdown this weekend.

An assertive first 40 minutes from Alexandra helped it to a 16-5 win over third-placed Wakatipu at Molyneux Park, after it led 11-0 at the break.

Halfback Sam Malcom and tighthead prop Robbie Mathers crossed the line for the home team.

After a heavy loss to Upper Clutha a week prior, Alexandra coach Bevan Passmore said there was extra motivation for Saturday's encounter.

"We had to right a few wrongs from the past couple of weeks.

"It was good to get an 80-minute performance after a couple of flat showings the last couple of weeks."

Although its playoff aspirations were dashed by Arrowtown, Passmore said it had been a good season as plenty of new players were blooded .

It travels to Ranfurly to take on Maniototo, which continued its late-season hurrah in Cromwell on Saturday.

The Maggots ran out a comfortable 48-6 winner over the Cavaliers at Anderson Park.

The Cromwell Goats had the week off as they contemplate an all important White Horse Cup defence next week.


 

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