North Otago sports roundup

Valley prop Meli Kolinisau is on the run against the Excelsior defence in Oamaru on Saturday....
Valley prop Meli Kolinisau is on the run against the Excelsior defence in Oamaru on Saturday. PHOTO: KYLE BECK
Rugby

North Otago rugby was marred by a serious injury to Excelsior forward Hayden James and the third default for the season, when Old Boys defaulted to Athletic Marist through lack of players.

James was injured in the second half of the match against Valley and was left on the ground as the match was shifted to a neighbouring ground at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.

There were fears James had broken his leg but X-rays showed it was not broken and he may have injured his knee.

Old Boys could not come up with enough players and North Otago Rugby Football Union chief executive Colin Jackson said it was disappointing, but players had work commitments at the Pukeuri meat works and had to work. The Saturday shift at the works was due to end shortly.

Valley maintained its place at the top of the table with a 33-27 win over second-placed Excelsior. Maheno confirmed its fourth place with a 45-17 win over Kurow at Kurow.

Valley and Excelsior scored five tries each and it was the accurate goalkicking of Valley first five eighth Brad McKenzie that carried Valley to a 33-27 victory.

Midway through the half McKenzie sliced through the Excelsior defence to convert and put his side into a 7-5 lead.

Excelsior held a narrow lead until five minutes from halftime, when strong running Valley fullback Howard Packman outpaced the defence to put his side into a 14-10 halftime lead.

Excelsior's outstanding No8 Samuela Babiau, with two tries in the third quarter, took Excelsior out to a 22-14 lead.

But Valley replied as lock Blake Welsh and right wing Brad Fleming, with two, went in for tries.

Excelsior had the final say when flanker Mosese Aho scored.

Maheno was back at full strength with the return of skipper Hayden Tisdall from injury, halfback Robbie Smith, back from overseas and speedster fullback Josh Buchan.

Kurow, on a high after downing Old Boys the previous weekend, was down 19-7 at halftime.

The second half belonged to Maheno. Fullback Buchan crossed for tries in the 54th and 56th minutes, both of which he converted to take his side out to a 33-7 lead.

It was appropriate that Maheno's final try should go to Tisdall, as he had a fine match.

Netball

There were predictable results in premier netball on Saturday.

Maheno led St Kevin's A 9-8 after a close first quarter before a change in the attacking end saw St Kevin's trail by five at halfway.

Ellen Swanson was strong in midcourt and Annie Metcalfe transferred well from shooter to defence.

Maheno led 18-13 at halftime and 27-16 at three-quarter time but a gutsy College team held its own 7-7 in the final quarter before going down 34-23.

For Maheno, Jasmine Emery (GD) and Metcalfe (GK) combined well while Jaimee Trainor, coming on at WA, fed well.

Kurow was on the back foot after a strong start from WGHS Lightning Strike which led 14-5 after the first quarter.

Kurow struggled to combat the height of the Waitaki players.Taneisha Fifita, back from injury for WGHS, motivated her side as it won 47-24.

Lightning Strike took the game away from Kurow in the first quarter leading 10-5 and extending this to 18-12 at halftime.The best for Lightning Strike were Ryah McLeod (GA) and Losa Fifita (GS), as it won 47-24.

Ravaged by injuries, WGHS Wildfire had to bring in two year nine pupils for their first taste of top level netball.

Wildfire led 10-5 after one quarter and 18-12 at halftime. Valley Silver applied the pressure after halftime and took a slender lead into the final quarter.

Superb defence from captain Kira Mortimer and controlled attack from Molly Hurst finally broke the Valley defence, Wildfire running out victor by four goals, 36-32.

For Wildfire, Renee Stenning and Charlotte Weir made great debuts.

Mikayla Cleveland (WD) produced some great circle feeds at centre while Brylee Firman stood up and took control of the shooting circle guiding Valley Gold to a 43-34 win over Athletic Maroon.

 - Terry O'Neill 

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