Southern Region finalists found after contrasting semis in wet

Clutha flanker Kurt Turnbull powers through the tackle of Heriot fullback Clayton Buchanan during...
Clutha flanker Kurt Turnbull powers through the tackle of Heriot fullback Clayton Buchanan during Clutha's 61-14 Southern Region semifinal win at the Balclutha Showgrounds on Saturday. Photos: John Cosgrove
The Southern Region finalists have been found in contrasting games.

The final will be a repeat of the last two years, with powerhouses Clutha and Crescent colliding at Balclutha.

Clutha put together a huge second half to thrash Heriot 61-14 at the Balclutha Showgrounds on Saturday.

The home side ran nine tries past Heriot, four of them to winger Robin Fesilafai.

Clutha started well and were up by two tries inside the first 10 minutes. But Heriot attacked their way back into the game in the latter stages of the first half.

Clutha held a 19-14 lead at the break, but was confident of extending it in the second spell.

It did just that.

Clutha held on to possession and found space out wide.

Its inside backs were in control and moved the Heriot forward pack around the field.

Heriot also dealt with many injuries. No fewer than four of its players ended up in hospital.

Clutha halfback Ollie Kenny and first five-eighth Kemp Skipper had huge games, while fullback Zak Thoms once again stood out, and his goal kicking was exemplary. Front row pillars Dan Groen and Phil Keighley were very strong.

Clutha's Kane Teunissen slips out of the maul to dot down for a try.
Clutha's Kane Teunissen slips out of the maul to dot down for a try.
Heriot first five Adrian Clague had a strong game, while hooker Louis Pengelly and midfielder Lee Stiven also played well.

Crescent joined Clutha in the final with a hard fought 19-8 win over Owaka in Kaitangata.

The pitch resembled a swamp, but it was the Coal Miners that adapted better in the first half.

Crescent played into the wind and kept the ball in hand to make metres.

Owaka defended well and its clearing kicks were effective.

It had the odd chance on attack, but tried passes much more suited to dry conditions.

Crescent went into halftime 6-3 ahead, but had the wind at their backs in the second half.

It played a smart game in the second half, pinning Owaka in its own 22 and waiting for mistakes.

To Owaka's credit those mistakes were few and far between, but it found it difficult to escape its own half.

Both sides defended stoutly, but it was Owaka who scored the opening try of the match.

Lock Craig McCormick crossed the line after a nice build up.

Crescent kept its nose in front with another penalty kick, before a long passage of play with 10 minutes to go resulted in a try to replacement lock Brendon Jury.

Crescent goal kicker Chase Owen converted, then kicked another penalty to push the lead beyond Owaka.

Owaka attacked valiantly for the final minutes, but could not add any more points.

Crescent props Lester Papali'i and Logan Morrell were willing ball carriers, making many metres.

Chase Owen kicked superbly both off the tee and with ball in hand, while fullback Jayden Sutton mopped up from the back.

Owaka captain Chris Preddy put in a huge shift for his side and was ably supported by lock Craig McCormick and flanker Reuben McLay. Young first five-eighth Hunter Cleland had a top game also.

Clutha Valley will play Toko in the bottom four final as a curtain raiser to the final next week.

Valley beat Clinton 22-5 at Clydevale.

Toko received a free pass to the final after Roxburgh defaulted to them mid-week.

 - Francis Parker 

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