Crescent seals top spot, holding on for 1-point win

Harley McHardy
Harley McHardy
The Crescent Coal Miners have finished in first place at the end of the first round.

A 30-29 win over Toko at Kaitangata locked up the Springbok Horns for the year and the Eddie Scott Memorial Trophy until the two meet again.

Both sides showed their attacking prowess but it was Toko which took the early lead.

It had the wind behind it and led 19-0, before Crescent fought back with two tries before halftime.

The second half was a tight battle, in which both sides had their times to shine.

Crescent treasured the ball slightly better and its backs found space.

Toko continued to make metres up the middle and grind the Crescent defence down.

Crescent took the lead towards fulltime but Toko mounted the last attack.

It was held up over the line at fulltime by some desperate Crescent defence to deny it the win. Toko out-scored Crescent five tries to four but could only convert two of them in tricky conditions.

Flanker Carlin Wihongi was a standout for the home side, while hooker Brendan Irwin was industrious and worked hard.

Harley McHardy and Chase Owen were standouts in the backs.

Toko lock Liam Kingma had an inspired game, Semi Lacabuka was once again a menace at the breakdown and halfback Dylan Bungard led his side well.

Clinton won its first game after travelling to Roxburgh and defeating the home side 29-24.

The win ensures that the Speight's Jug will stay in the five-horse town until next season.

Everything clicked for Clinton, as it treasured possession and held the ball for long periods.

Its staunch defence also forced Roxburgh into making mistakes and the added pressure pushed Roxburgh into giving away silly penalties.

Roxburgh's discipline left a lot to be desired and that allowed Clinton possession to score points.

Roxburgh took two points out of the game which keep it in touch with the top four.

Clutha shrugged off last week's loss with 43-12 win over Clutha Valley at home on its Club Day.

Valley led for a brief period in the first half before Clutha found its stride.

Clutha made better use of the ball and stretched the Valley defence, to lead 24-12 at halftime.

It scored a further three tries in the second half and kept Valley scoreless.

Valley fielded an under-strength side with only three reserves but still showed promise in patches.

Clutha brothers Josh and Kurt Turnbull both had strong games for the home side, while the midfield combination of Sylvester Reeves and Matt Barton caused Valley issues.

Robin Fesilafai scored another three tries to take his season tally to 13.

Heriot closed the gap on Owaka with a 26-21 win in Owaka.

Heriot made the most of a poor first 20 minutes from the home side.

Owaka's option-taking and tactical kicking was poor, and it failed to use the wind to its advantage.

Heriot held on to the ball and made metres up the middle.

Heriot's forwards set a very good platform and the backs were not afraid to try outrageous plays.

Owaka clawed its way back into the game and levelled the scores, before Heriot changed up a gear late in the second half and sealed the win.

Hooker Louie Pengelly was Heriot's best, halfback Ethan Jane controlled proceedings well and captain Elliott Hancox was strong yet again.

 - Francis Parker 
 

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