Clutha wins comfortably in first game

Reigning champions the Clutha Steamers started the season with an emphatic 79-15 win over Clinton at Clinton on Saturday.

The Steamers side, which ran in 13 tries, four of them to centre Robin Fesilafai.

Clutha dominated from start to finish. Clinton showed glimpses of what it is capable of when it held on to the ball. It scored three tries and put some decent phases together.

Halfback Ben Winter scored a brace for the home side. Clutha openside Max Pennell had a strong game, as did debutant Bax Colley, at lock.

Midfielder Jayden Dovey also shone on his debut in Clutha colours.

Clinton fullback Maurice Tairua was a standout. Asked to do a lot of defensive work, he did not shy away from his responsibility. Experienced players Ross Burnet and Mark McKenzie were also solid.

Clutha walked away with its hands firmly on the Helen Huddleston-George McKenzie Memorial Trophy.

Owaka retained the Reg Phillip Trophy with a 33-18 win over Toko, at Milton. Toko used the ball well to start with and made metres through the middle.

Once Owaka found its feet, it was more than ready to meet the attack head-on.

Owaka scored two first half tries and headed into halftime with a slim 14-13 lead. Toko scored early in the second half and was given more chances through some ill-discipline from the Owaka pack.

Once Owaka got the ball it was hard to stop, playing a good kick-and-chase game.

Toko turned the ball over to give Owaka chances.

It scored three unanswered second half tries and ran away with the contest towards the end.

The Owaka forwards were led well by skipper Chris Preddy and man of the match Lyndon McNab. Sene Te'o and Chris Chittock were sound in the midfield and Damon Clement showed a cool head off the bench to direct the play at halfback.

Matt Lyon and Dylan Greer were the best of the Toko forwards. Dylan Bungard ran the Toko backline well but did not see enough of the ball in the second half.

Crescent beat Clutha Valley 31-20 in the game played at Clydevale.

Valley showed its attacking intentions and took a handy 14-5 lead into the break.

Crescent did not play with much structure but knew if was still in the contest if it could tweak its game plan

Crescent ran in four unanswered tries in the second half. Valley first five Gordon Edwards scored a brace and looked at home in the No10 jersey.

His combination with halfback Jordan Willocks was tidy. Cole Birse and Nick McBride were the best of the Crescent pack. Fesui Viliamu and Norton Hill were dangerous with ball in hand. The John Cross Cup stays in Crescent's hands for another round.

Heriot and Roxburgh played out a rather scrappy game in Heriot. The home side was made to work hard for its 8-0 win.

Both teams spurned plenty of opportunities and the structure was lacking. Heriot created more chances, but execution let it down. Roxburgh also blew some chances but will have confidence in its first- up appearance.

Heriot keeps the West Otago Shield for another round.

 - Francis Parker 

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