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Kurow and Athletic Marist caused boilovers in premier rugby on Saturday but for different reason and at different ends of the competition.
Kurow, on its home ground, beat Old Boys 22-21. Kurow first five-eighth Tyler Burgess scored all of Kurow's points with a try, a conversion and five penalty goals.
At the Maheno Domain, Valley moved out to a seven-point lead over Excelsior (39) which, in turn, is two points ahead of Old Boys while Maheno holds on to fourth place but is only five points ahead of Kurow, with four rounds to play.
Athletic Marist's inability to field a team against Excelsior marred the round as it had to default for the second time this season. Coach Graeme Pitches was frustrated.
"At Thursday night's practice we had 18 players, but on Saturday afternoon that had dwindled to a mere nine stripped to play," he said.
He said players failed to communicate their unavailability, which was frustrating.
A penalty goal late in the final quarter gave Kurow an upset win at home.
Burgess kicked penalties in the 12th and 26th minutes before Old Boys centre Taani Vaitohi touched down and Lemi Masoe converted. A Burgess try and conversion in the 37th minute put Kurow back in front and in the 40th minute Burgess gave Kurow a 16-7 halftime lead with a penalty.
The almost inevitable penalty from Burgess extended the lead to 19-14 but a try to Panua Fariu, converted by Masoe, put Old Boys out to a 21-19 lead, before Burgess kicked a penalty with two minutes left.
Valley almost shut Maheno out at the Maheno Domain scoring six tries, all of which were converted by Brad McKenzie, to win 42-12. Tries to Meli Kolinisau, Scott Ruddle and Howard Packman took Valley out to a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Hayden Hastie try put Maheno on the board with a try but Valley led 21-5 going into the second 40 minutes.
Tries to No8 Jake Greenslade and centre Mattew Vocea took Valley out to a 35-5 before Maheno blindside flanker Jackson Attfield touched down. A late converted try by Dylan Edwards sealed the win.
St Kevin's A made the most of an inconsistent first quarter from Kurow in premier netball on Saturday and went out to an 8-4 lead.
St Kevin's led 16-7 at halftime and it played well in the cold, windy conditions but was still inclined to throw too much ball away. The defence worked hard, turning over a lot of ball, and Hannah Cunningham stood out at GD and GK.
Kurow picked up its game in the final quarter with some good intercept ball but could not catch St Kevin's, going down, 27-21. Oriagh Hanning, promoted from the B team, played well in the shooting circle.
Athletic Maroon, playing with grit and determination, had possibly its best game of the season pushing WGHS Lightning Strike. It was a closely fought game until midway through the final quarter when Waitaki Girls pulled away to win 31-26. Athletic battled through the court getting some nice tips and turnovers. Blayze Tisdall had a good game at centre on both attack and defence.
As expected, Valley Gold and Maheno had a real battle. Maheno led 9-3 after the first quarter before Valley led 15-13 at halftime. Maheno cut the deficit down to a single goal after the third quarter.
Valley's Leann Mavor (C) had an outstanding game with steady feeds into the circle and driving strongly through court. A couple of errors by Maheno in the last four minutes allowed Valley Gold to capitalise and take the game 32-28. Petra Aspros was sharp
and accurate while Mikayla Cleveland (WA) had a great tactical game, shutting down the Maheno attack. Georgia Oakes (GS) and Nga Yaxley (GA) combined well for Maheno.
Waitaki Wildfire determined to end the first round on a high and hold second place came out strongly against Valley Silver. Wildfire led 14-9 at halftime.Wildfire lost Madaleine Mansfield (GA) but normal defender Maikale Fifita moved to her position.
Best of the Wildfire was Molly Hurst while the Wildfire defensive trio of Charlotte Weir, Kira Mortimer and Lily Rawson created havoc, allowing Wildfire to win 32-19. For Valley Silver Kate McGregor (WA) led the team well while Grace Firman worked hard at WD.
- Terry O'Neill