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But both the Arrowtown and Wakatipu teams came away from Saturday’s dramatic club rugby encounter at Jack Reid Park reasonably content with two points each.
So much happened in the frenetic final 15 minutes that everyone seemed to agree that 17-17 was a good result.
It allowed Wakatipu to retain The Cup, at stake in the first local derby each season.
Wakatipu fullback Chris Young had the winning of the contest in his hands but after striking the upright with a 45m penalty goal attempt in the 78th minute, he sliced a dropped goal from close range in the game’s final act.
The teams were level at 5-5 at halftime and 10-10 after 70 minutes.
Then Wakatipu flanker Tim Trevis uncorked a freakish try, running 40m untouched from a maul to dot down between the uprights, finally allowing Young to land a goal.
At 17-10, the game was Wakatipu’s to lose, but Arrowtown came roaring back.
Replacement Jimmy Smith dotted down beside the goalposts, only to have the referee apologetically deny it because the pass from centre Tom Grandiek had brushed off his shoulder.
Wakatipu’s relief lasted only a couple of minutes until a kick charged down led to a try beside the posts for Arrowtown’s heroic captain and lineout ace Malcolm Sutherland.
Sutherland said afterwards Covid-19 and a run of severe frosts in Arrowtown had made it difficult for his team to prepare.
"We did things wrong, like kicking away too much quality possession in the first half," he said.
"But we addressed that at halftime.
"There’s plenty to work on for next week, and at least we’re playing rugby again."
Wakatipu coach Brad Robertson felt his team "should have taken it out — we had enough chances" but admitted he was pleased, given it was their first hit-out.
"It was a good spectacle [and] we displayed a lot of ticker."
Wakatipu halfback Dean Young, making his premier debut, was named his team’s player of the day.
Cromwell Goats travelled to Wanaka knowing they had not beaten Upper Clutha for three seasons, so to come away with a 25-16 victory was hugely satisfying.
The game marked the 100th appearance for midfielder Hayden Todd.
Alexandra snatched victory from the Cromwell Cavaliers in the final minutes with a try by replacement prop Hohepa Te Rata-Taituha which took his team from 6-7 to 13-7.
Te Rata-Taituha was not going to play because his partner was heavily pregnant. However, he agreed to join the subs bench, took the field and scored.
His partner gave birth to a daughter at 4.38am yesterday.
Matakanui Combined marked its return to the competition by forcing a 13-all draw with Maniototo, which missed two late penalty attempts.
- Bob Howitt
Central Otago Premier
Arrowtown 17 (Jackson Wallace, Aidan Winter, Malcolm Sutherland tries; Bryce Bird con), Wakatipu 17 (Dwayne Paul, Tim Trevis, Gareth Jones tries; Chris Young con). Halftime 5-5.
Cromwell Goats 25 (Leon Buchanan, Luke Holden, Kane Dodds, Daniel Hurring tries; Dodds con; Ben Maxwell pen), Upper Clutha 16 (Scott Cunningham try; Brodie Flannery con, 3 pen).
Alexandra 13 (Hohepa Te Rata- Taituha try; Taura Wilson con, 2 pen), Cromwell Cavaliers 7 (penalty try). Maniototo 13 (Ollie McLean try; con, Daniel Adam 2 pen), Matakanui Combined 13 (details unavailable).