Country clubs to fore as Citizens Shield competition begins

Jake Matthews
Jake Matthews
Club rugby power may be shifting inland if the Citizens Shield opening round is any indication.

Old Boys dominated the decade up to 2017 but in the next two seasons country clubs — Valley in 2018 and Maheno last year — took home the trophy.

Country clubs won all three games on Saturday. Maheno beat an eager Athletic Marist side 42-10, Kurow downed Old Boys 31-24, and Valley thumped Excelsior 66-0.

Athletic Marist held Maheno to a 14-5 halftime lead. Speedy winger Adam Johnson and midfielder Lachie Kingan scored tries, while Paea Fifita scored for Athletic.

Maheno applied the pressure in the second half, running in tries to Nick McLennan, Llew Johnson, Marcus Balchin and Robbie Smith, who converted all six.

Kurow’s victory against Old Boys was a minor upset, running in four tries to three.

Kurow went into the break with a 12-3 lead, following tries to Tyler Burgess and midfielder Ben Nowell. Old Boys’ points came from an Inoke Naufahu penalty.

Jack Kelly scored for Kurow midway through the second half to stretch the lead to 19-10.

Old Boys rallied with tries to Toni Taufa and the experienced Lemi Masoe. But Kurow responded with a try to Sam McDonald to win the game.

Valley, led by its forwards, produced a dominant display against Excelsior.

Flanker Jake Greenslade opening the scoring in the seventh minute, and the Weston-based side did not let up the intensity for the rest of the first half. It led 38-0 at halftime.

First five-eighth Jake Matthews, winger Vonivate Qoro, flanker Junior Fakatoufifita and midfielder Ben Paton added second-half tries to complete the romp.

 - Terry O'Neill

Citizens Shield

The scores

Valley 66 (Tim Hanipale 2, Jake Greenslade, Matt Vocea, Logan Dunlop, Glen Sturgess, Jake Matthews, Vonivate Qoro, Junior Fakatoufifita, Ben Paton tries; Brad McKenzie 7 con, Matt Vocea con), Excelsior 0. Halftime: 38-0.

Maheno 42 (Adam Johnson, Lachie Kingan, Nick McLennan, Llew Johnson, Marcus Balchin, Robbie Smith tries; Smith 6 con), Athletic Marist 10 (Paea Fifita, Kadin Turner tries). Halftime: 14-5.

Kurow 31 (Tyler Burgess, Ben Nowell, Jack Kelly, Sam McDonald tries; McDonald con, 3 pen), Old Boys 24 (Inoke Naufahu, Toni Taufa, Lemi Masoe tries; Naufahu 3 con, pen).
Halftime: 12-3.

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