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Excelsior defeated Old Boys 17-7, while two late converted tries were not enough to give Maheno victory over Kurow which held on for its second win of the season, 22-21.
Valley's formidable forward pack laid the foundation for its win over Athletic Marist, which has been battling on the paddock. But a recent transfusion of Pacific Island players into the club lifted its game and made for a brighter future.
Valley's well-drilled pack was always going to dominate but Athletic displayed an attacking ability which has not been seen so far.
Valley added two tries in the last 10 minutes of the half, to props Meli Kolinisau and Logan Dunlop, to give it a 28-7 halftime lead.
Athletic Marist struck first in the second half, when tighthead prop Pakileata Fifita barged over after an Arty break. Replacement Howard Packman scored a cheeky try for Valley eight minutes from fulltime when he tapped a penalty 22m out and then outpaced the defence to score wide out.
Kurow posted its second win of the season when it held off a late charge from Maheno at the Maheno Domain. Kurow loosehead prop Lototonga Malafu's try gave it an early lead and a second try to Sione Kaufasi extended the margin to 12-0.
Maheno replied through half Cameron Grubb.
But Kurow controlled the game, adding further tries to Malafu and flanker Pat Henwood and in the final quarter led 22-7.
Maheno came back with late tries to lock Andrew Fisher and Lachie Kingan, both converted by Tatupu, leaving Maheno a point in arrears.
Excelsior beat Old Boys for the second time this season, outscoring the former perennial champion three tries to one on No2 ground confirming its dominance this season.
Excelsior led 5-0 at halftime, after winger Kayne Middleton had scored late in the period.
In the second half, Excelsior forced Old Boys into handling errors with some intense defence.
Trailing 17-0, Old Boys got a consolation try to Joseph Vilia.
In the game of the round, previously unbeaten teams Valley Gold and Waitaki Girls' Lightning Strike met on Saturday. Lightning Strike came out firing with some exceptional phases and the Waitaki team took a seven-goal lead into the second quarter.
Valley's experience began to show and it quickly ate into the lead, going into halftime with a two-goal lead. The teams went goal-for-goal in the second half, before Valley Gold prevailed, 38-34.
Stand out players for Valley were Nicky Wallace (GD), and Shay Frost (GK) while Brytnee Firman (GS/GA) had a fine game. The best of the Lightning Strike was Milly Matthews (GA), who really opened up the circle for an on-fire Losa Fifita (GS), and Holly Beazer (GD) was a menace on defence.
St Kevin's started with real intensity against Valley Silver and led 14-3 after the first quarter. Hannah Cunningham (GD) and Jasmine Emery (GK) worked tirelessly in the circle alongside Serena O'Brien (WD), as St Kevin's played a strong defensive line. Valley Silver was up against it for most of the game and managed some excellent passages of play, with Grace Firman (WD) and Amber Direen (GK) standing out.
Athletic almost pulled off an upset, picking up a bonus point from Waitaki Girls' Wildfire and falling just three goals short of victory.With sickness and unavailability, both sides were tested and moments of brilliance were followed by unforced errors.
The pick of the Waitaki team was Kira Mortimer (C) and playing her first full game of the season,Lily Rawson (WD). For Athletic Robyn Williams (GD) turned over the ball on numerous occasions and applied pressure throughout the court.
After another low-scoring first half, Maheno Green finally found form in the third quarter in what could be described as a ``busy'' game. Maheno's defence of Rachel Armstrong (GK), Mel Smith (GD) and Georgia Oakes (WD) were dominant throughout the game. The return of Nga Yaxley (GA) was a bonus for Maheno's shooting combinations. Kurow's circle defence of Steph Voise (GK) and Jane Mulholland (GD) combined well. The centre match-up of Maheno's Kat Kawau and Kurow's Rebecca Stark was competitive.
Tainui held Northern Hearts to 2-all at halftime in South Canterbury League hockey but succumbed in the second half as Hearts pulled away for 5-3 win. Tom Wouters (2) and Josh Dalziel scored for Tainui while Regan Stevenson scored a brace of goals.
In North Otago club hockey Pirata Black had an 8-1 win over Waitaki Girls Development XI with Jason McLaren and Aria Packer scoring two goals each, while Harriet Melton scored Waitaki's goal. Goals to Zoe Le Lievre and Alex Campbell enabled Pirata Blue beat Waitaki Girls First XI 2-0.
- Terry O'Neill