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Woodlands and Star progressed to the Galbraith Shield final after a strongly contested final round of matches on Saturday.
There was a fight between Pirates Old Boys, Marist and Star to join Woodlands in the final. After the games had finished, the three teams all had 27 competition points, and it came down to flag points earned in games played against each other.
Star prevailed and will go to the final next week, though Woodlands will start as favourite.
Woodlands cruelly finished off Marist when Marty McKenzie kicked a penalty goal from halfway in the last minute of its game to win 29-28, while Star beat Pirates Old Boys 29-5.
Star was always comfortable in the 29-5 win over Pirates Old Boys at Surrey Park. Star scored after five minutes and almost had its fourth try before halftime.
Co-coach Chris McIlwrick said Star played with positive intent.
"Jack Capril caused havoc in the wide channels, fullback Junior Lafoga played his best game of the year and first five-eighth Ben Pope directed things pretty well," McIlwrick said.
Hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate made some big tackles. One, on Pirates first five-eighths Greg Dyer, forced Dyer off with a leg injury before halftime. His punting was missed in the second half when Pirates Old Boys had the wind behind it.
The Eastern Northern Barbarians beat Blues 29-19 in a dead-rubber match at the Gore Showgrounds. Both have been in a rebuilding phase this season.
The tightness of the division one competition was again highlighted when Waikaka beat Te Anau 24-17.
This result meant Edendale needed to earn only a bonus point in its last round-robin match against Midlands to make the final. Unfortunately for the Magpies they were beaten 36-20.
Edendale put in a valiant effort after having a player sent off early in the first half.
Edendale scored three tries but Midlands started strongly and never let up. It set the pace early on and will deservedly host the Ack Soper Shield division one final in Winton against Te Anau.
Pioneer will host the division two Gerald Dermody Shield final against Tokanui. Pioneer beat Waikiwi 43-24 on Saturday, while Tokanui beat Albion 43-14.
In the CJ Soper Trophy, the winner of the Waiau Star and Drummond Limehills Star game at Tuatapere was to advance to the final. The game ended in a 22-22 draw but since Waiau Star had beaten DLS earlier this season it will play the final in Bluff.
Collegiate beat Woodlands B 25-21 and will play Marist B at Lindisfarne Street in the final.
- John Langford