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Woodlands, Marist, Pirates Old Boys and Star are all still in contention for the Galbraith Shield final heading into the final round of matches this Saturday.
Woodlands was already assured of its spot in the final before thrashing Star 54-7 at Waverly Park. Star had some key players unavailable and was outclassed from the start.
Pirates Old Boys snuck past the Eastern Northern Barbarians with a 14-10 win.
The visiting team led 5-0 at halftime but Pirates gained some ascendancy in the third quarter and scored two converted tries. Barbarians hooker Lachie McCall was effective at the breakdown, as was blindside flanker Jacob Coglan. Fullback Rory Van Vugt was another top performer for the visiting side.
Pirates forwards Ben Keenan, Hayden Hagerty and Craig Smith were major contributors to the victory. Hookers Josh Harwood and Tua Tuapati provided a quality one-two punch. First five-eighth Greg Dyer also played well.
Blues has had a tough season but everything clicked on Saturday when it beat Marist 29-22 at Balmoral Drive.
Blues co-coach Simon Frisby said it was the first 80-minute performance of the season.
"Our tight five were very tired after the game; they made some heavy carries," he said.
"The boys were up for it. We’ve had a lot of bad luck this season, but the team has showed some great character."
Ben Soper had a fine game, hitting the ball up hard while openside flanker Jo McKinnell put in another top performance.
No8 Areese Boliko returned to action after three weeks off and scored two tries, one off the back of a tighthead and carried three defenders over the line with him.
Frisby thinks Boliko has the potential to play for Southland in the future. Another Blues player who continues to push for higher honours is wing Brad Kooman.
In the Ack Soper Shield division one competition, Midlands beat Wyndham 25-12 in Winton, Te Anau was defeated on its home turf 25-15 by Edendale, while Riversdale downed Waikaka 15-9 in the dead-rubber match.
In division two, Waikiwi knocked Mossburn out of final contention with a 31-14 at Donovan Park.
Drummond Limehills Star moved into second in the CJ Soper Trophy after beating competition leader Bluff at Limehills.
- John Langford