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Upper Clutha scored a crucial win over Wakatipu in Wanaka on Saturday to all but ensure itself a home semifinal in the Central Otago club competition.
In other games, Maniototo beat Arrowtown 21-14 in Ranfurly, the Cromwell Goats were way too strong for Alexandra, winning 64-5 in Alexandra, while Matakani Combined beat the Cromwell Cavaliers 45-17.
Upper Clutha was down 10-3 in its vital match against Wakatipu at halftime but came back in the second half to run out a convincing 32-15 winner.
The first half was a real arm-wrestle as the ball was kept in close and forward packs tested each other.
Wakatipu led early in the second half but as the game opened up it had no answer to the home team lifting tempo.
Big Upper Clutha No8 Brendon Murdoch impressed, making his first appearance for the season with some good runs. Not far behind was Sam Calder, who came into the game in the final 30 minutes for a fine cameo.
Winger Sam McCall found space every time he got the ball and was rewarded with two tries. Brodie Flannery directed things well at first five-eighth and missed just the one goal
Wakatipu had little territory and possession in the second half. Forwards Steve Banks and Brad Cross played well but Wakatipu failed to get much going as the game slipped away.
Upper Clutha went from fourth to second in the table. If it beats Alexandra next week, it should get a home semifinal.
In Ranfurly, Arrowtown tripped up against Maniototo, losing 21-14.
The match was also close, with the visiting team leading 7-3 at the break. Maniototo kept the ball in tight in the second half and Arrowtown could not match the home side’s physicality.
Maniototo first five-eighth Daniel Adam scored the try that clinched the win. Forwards Ollie McLelland and Peter O’Malley had good games for Maniototo, which is fifth. With the sides ahead of it having easier games, the side could miss out on the top four. It has a White Horse Cup challenge against the Cromwell Goats on Saturday.
The Goats won 64-5 over Alexandra, in Alexandra, on Saturday, staying unbeaten. Matakanui Combined gained its second win of the season when it beat the Cromwell Cavaliers 45-17 at Cromwell.