Clutha chasing five in succession

Clutha players celebrate at the final whistle of the Southern regional final at the Balclutha...
Clutha players celebrate at the final whistle of the Southern regional final at the Balclutha Showgrounds last Saturday. PHOTO: SI LEEDS
The Otago Country club season comes to an end this weekend with the Countrywide final taking place in Arrowtown tomorrow.

Central Otago champion Arrowtown hosts Southern region champion Clutha for the right to call itself the best in Otago Country.

Arrowtown booked its place in the match courtesy of its upset 24-21 victory over Cromwell last weekend. Clutha once again showed its class as it won the Southern final for the fifth time in a row with a 34-28 victory over Crescent.

Clutha has also been crowned Countrywide champion for the past four years with wins over Alexandra, Cromwell, Wakatipu and Upper Clutha.

Arrowtown has enjoyed a stellar jubilee season and qualified in third after the round robin. It beat Upper Clutha 14-13 in Wanaka to progress to the final. That was the third time this season the Bulls had beaten last year's Central Otago champion.

Arrowtown has a well-balanced side with experience and X-factor all over the park. Props Matt Flower and Tomo McKenzie have been pillars of strength all season. Hooker Ben Carr and lock Malcolm Sutherland are very experienced campaigners and solidify the pack.

Loose forward Nemo Gent has had a very good season also. The backs are marshalled well by halfback Jackson Wallace. Midfielder Adam Jackson has had a quality season and there is plenty of pace out wide with the likes of Ryan Egerton and Blair Foster.

Clutha has maintained the majority of its squad for the past few seasons and has grown together over this victorious last few years.

Hooker Josh Turnbull has been a standout for his side this season. Todd Holgate and Scott Hollows have been rocks in the second row.

Experienced players Simon Grant, Mala Saimoni and Kerrod Baldwin form a strong loose forward trio.

Clutha has a young halves combination which has taken the competition by storm this season.

The side has an explosive midfield and some serious wheels out wide with the likes of Sam Viliamu and Robin Fesilafai.

The final will be evenly matched with both sides confident of taking the win. A fifth Countrywide title in a row awaits Clutha if it is victorious against a fifth different Central Otago team.

Arrowtown will want to cap off a season in which it celebrated its 30th year since reforming with victory in front of a large home crowd. It will be a belter.

An Otago Country Barbarians team is playing a curtain-raiser against the Otago Sassenachs Colts team.

 - Francis Parker 

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