Phase 2 - battle for Galbraith Shield

Edendale's Jeroe Fodie looks to go past Midlands hooker Lachie Wood in a match in Edendale...
Edendale's Jeroe Fodie looks to go past Midlands hooker Lachie Wood in a match in Edendale earlier this month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The second phase of the Southland premier club competition begins tomorrow.

There were two pools of six teams in the first phase of competition. Now the top three from each pool will contest the Galbraith Shield.

The two pool winners, Marist and Star, start their shield campaigns on six competition points, the Eastern Northern Barbarians and Blues on four points, and Woodlands and Pirates Old Boys on two points. They will now play each other at home and away before semifinals and the final.

They are the top six teams which played in the premier competition last year, with the six sides which had come up playing in a premier B competition.

Star hosts Woodlands at Waverley Park. Reigning champion Marist will host the Barbarians at Miller St.

Blues and Pirates Old Boys were set to meet in pool play at Les George Oval last week, but a car hitting a power pole was enough to knock out the lights and the game was cancelled before it got under way. Blues get another go at Pirates Old Boys tomorrow at Balmoral Drive.

The bottom three teams from the two pools will follow the same format in the premier B division to contest the Ack Soper Shield. Te Anau and Wyndham finished fourth in their pools so bring with them six points, Edendale and Riversdale have four and Midlands and Waikaka have two.

Riversdale has been treading water through the early stages, waiting for this phase to begin.

It will be defending the Northern Southland supremacy trophy - the Bedford Compton Shield - when it hosts Te Anau.

Te Anau's 19-17 win over Midlands last week almost secured it a spot in the top flight. Te Anau was the 12th-ranked team at the beginning of this year and proud coach Dale Wairau credits the passion and positive attitude of his side to its successes on and off the field.

Waikaka will start as underdog at home against Wyndham, while Midlands has a home game against Edendale.

The eight evenly matched teams in division 1 are having a great competition. Blues B is top of the table after four games and has a home game against Albion Excelsior.

Star B is at home against Waikiwi. Pioneer will host Mossburn, while Wakatipu will set off on the trek to Tuatapere to play Waiau Star.

The six teams in the Southland women's competition all play at Balmoral Dr on Sunday.

 - John Langford 

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