Clutha returns to No1 but resurgent Crescent fight

Clutha regained first place on the Southern Region competition table with a nervy 29-24 win over old foe Crescent, in front of a bumper crowd at Kaitangata on Saturday.

The first half was tightly contested and both teams used the ball well.

Clutha went into halftime 15-12 ahead.

Clutha had more of the ball in the early part of the second half and scored points to take it out to a 29-12 lead with quarter of an hour left in the match.

Crescent fought back and scored two quick tries to set up a grandstand finish.

With two men in the sin-bin, Clutha defended stoutly and fully deserved its win. It showed plenty of heart defending the line in the final moments as Crescent mounted attack after attack.

Crescent had enough possession to win the game but mistakes at crucial times proved costly.

Clutha will be very happy with the win, but three yellow cards and numerous penalties will be the down side.

Clutha winger Sam Viliamu scored two tries and was lively. Josh Turnbull and Tyler Brouwer were the pick of the Clutha forwards. Crescent prop Alan Anderson had a strong game for the home side. Captain Harley McHardy was instrumental in the latter stages as the home side came close to taking the win.

Roxburgh recorded its first win in the competition, defeating Toko 27-19 at home in Roxburgh. Roxburgh put together a very strong first half and ran in some very nice long-distance tries, leading 22-7 at the break.

Toko responded well in the second half and used the ball well.

Roxburgh's defence was solid, forcing turnovers.

Roxburgh scored four tries in total, midfielders Shaun Tauti and Danny van der Voort both crossed and their combination was deadly. Josh Botting and Jonty McKinnel also scored tries. Dylan Mathieson, Cole Wilson and Matt Lyon scored the five-pointers for Toko. Kieran Calteaux, Rocky Waters and Lyon off the bench were Toko's best players.

Owaka beat Clutha Valley 35-21 in Owaka. It had the majority of possession for the first half and scored two early tries to lead 14-0.

Valley then scored two opportunistic tries to level the scores at the break.

Owaka came out firing and took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half.

Fresh legs from the bench added plenty of energy and Owaka scored three second-half tries to push the score out. Valley came back strongly but could manage only one try, on the fulltime whistle. Owaka was dangerous out wide and winger Brendan McLeod picked up a brace of tries in the first half. Lock Ieru Leteu also scored a double. McLeod and fellow winger Caleb Dempster had strong games.

Loose forward Damian Wilson was the best on the field for the Valley side. Jimmy McDonald and Hamish Wilson were also strong.

A Ross Burnet hat-trick was not enough to give Clinton the win and it went down 32-29 to Heriot in Clinton.

Heriot's powerful scrum was rewarded with numerous tightheads and scrum penalties.

Clinton was passive in the first half but was confident of a second-half revival with the score 24-12 at halftime.

Clinton was the better side in the second half and had some huge impact off the bench. Heriot scored one crucial second-half try to keep it ahead.

Heriot skipper Elliott Hancox and James Edgar were key for the Heriot team, which has now four wins from four. Ross Burnet, Greg Landels and Aaron Lupton were strong for Clinton and Craig McKenzie and Petero Ramabuke were dynamic off the bench.

 - Francis Parker

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