Centre James repeats dazzling form for Cromwell

A week after being named player of the day against Maniototo, centre Ollie James turned on another dazzling display in the Cromwell Goats' 52-5 romp against Alexandra, at Molyneux Park, in the Central Otago senior competition on Saturday.

English-born James completed a hat-trick of tries, having scored twice the previous Saturday. He left a trail of bewildered defenders as he carved up the home team in perfect conditions.

Previously with Wakatipu, James moved to Alexandra two seasons ago and the man who runs his own concrete grinding business has become a valuable asset.

His combination in midfield with Tom Docherty was too much for the home team to handle.

The heavy defeat came as a surprise, because Alexandra had started the season so promisingly, defeating the Cromwell Cavaliers and extending Arrowtown before winning by default against Matakanui-Combined.

It was the basics that let Alexandra down, big-time. It missed two simple early penalty goal attempts, remaining scoreless, then late in the spell seemed to suffer from a massive dose of stage fright.

The score was only 7-0 coming up to the 30-minute mark before Alex indulged in an excruciating sequence of blunders.

It could not secure the Goats' high kicks at all. Dropping a couple of them was bad enough, but then it let one bounce, gifting a try to winger Jack Ryan.

As a consequence, the Goats shot out to 26-0 at halftime, giving them the luxury of activating their entire reserve bench in the second spell. It was 64 minutes before Alexandra finally managed a consolation try.

Coaches Bevan Passmore and Trevor Washington will have plenty to work on at training before Alexandra's next game, against Upper Clutha, in a fortnight.

Cromwell's manager Russell Decke, meanwhile, was delighted that his team is continuing to progress after narrow losses to Upper Clutha and Wakatipu to start the season.

Besides the midfielders, there were big games from lock Stefan Blakeborough, loose forwards Daniel Hurring and Asivorosi Serukalou and halfback Ben Maxwell.

The Cromwell Cavaliers, came close to pulling off a major upset against competition leader Upper Clutha on Friday night.

After embarrassing Upper Clutha by heaving its scrum backwards for a pushover try, the Cavaliers were still in front with 10 minutes to play, before eventually going down 29-18.

Maniototo won by default from Matakanui-Combined, which has now withdrawn from the competition and the White Horse Trophy game between holder Arrowtown and Wakatipu is being held over until Easter Saturday.

 - Bob Howitt

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