No 2nd prize for The Rams

It just had to be the way for Upper Clutha.

The side enters tomorrow's Central Otago semifinals as top qualifier, having lost just two games all season.

Both of those losses came against Arrowtown - tomorrow's opponent in Wanaka.

That will no doubt provide plenty of motivation for an Upper Clutha team that has built into a strong unit.

Playing at home will be a big boost, too.

It has played few games on its No1 ground this season while the clubrooms were renovated.

For club captain Nathan Simon, the opposition is not too much of a factor.

"I don't think the team we run out against is the issue.

"This team has come a long way in the last two years from what we used to call it `another season of rebuilding'. Now we've built .

"We've go the team, we've got the system and the structure.

"They're well-coached, well-rehearsed.

"So it doesn't really matter who we run out on.

"It's just the boys' mindset. This is the big time now, there's no second prize."

He said the team had come together well.

While there were some quality players, it was more a case of everyone fitting in well together.

The standard cliches were the key for The Rams, trusting each other on defence and sticking to its systems to break down the Arrowtown defence.

It will follow a big weekend for the club, which hosted Otago's Ranfurly Shield defence against Thames Valley last Saturday.

Simon said it had been a great event and there was still a buzz around the town.

He hoped that would carry through to tomorrow.

"It's been pretty cool for the community.

"Everyone that I've spoke to has just been buzzing off it.

"The 250 or so juniors, they got to have some one-on-one time with the Shield and the Otago players."

"And it's been a great showcase for the club, the new clubrooms we've built down there and everyone had a chance to come down and see what we've done."

In the other semifinal, Cromwell will host Wakatipu.


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