Alhambra-Union favoured for top 6 spot

The wrap

Southern just about wrapped up a top six spot with a hard fought victory over the winless Spannerheads, who languish on two points with three to play — they are consigned to the bottom two in a season that promised so much.

Taieri is looking at going into the six as top qualifier, as it found yet another way to win. Incredibly, its points differential for the season is plus one, so that tells you the grind it has been – but winning is a habit. AU could have confirmed a top six spot, but after leading for all but five minutes of the game gave it up to a late Eels penalty.

Varsity climbed to second equal when it comfortably accounted for Zingers. Harbour pole vaulted to fourth when it crushed the Sharks up front and pretty much confirmed a spot in the six. The Sharks have fallen away up front and are languishing in sixth, and AU is smelling blood. Looking at the run in, AU is favourite to pick up that final spot.

Semis in the South

Yes, it’s semifinal time in the South already, with champion elect West Taieri taking on the once mighty Clutha and Clutha Valley taking on Crescent. Clutha, which is a shadow of its former self, shouldn’t get near West Taieri as it is unbeaten and playing at the beloved Outram. The other game will be a lot closer, and while Valley goes in as favourite, I’m tipping the upset, with the Coalminers — with their Tilley lamps on full power and bird squawking in the cage — getting up and getting it done! Good luck to all four teams.

Other grades

There are no unbeaten teams in Prem Two, with the Sharks disgracing themselves at the weekend. The Sharks and GI look safe for a spot in the four. There are four teams vying for the other two spots — Eastern, Taieri, Varsity and Kaik — and there are only three points between them, so too close to call. The Magpies and Sharks are unbeaten in Prem Colts and look like top qualifiers in the six. Varsity, Kaikorai, Harbour and Taieri look like they will fill the other four spots. The women’s final will be between Varsity and Pirates next weekend and the bookworms go in as favourites. In Seniors, the final will be between Strath Taieri and Harbour — take it to the bank. In Junior Colts, Kaik Cobras could fill top spot in the four, with the two Shark teams and Taieri likely to make up the four.

Buying his refs now

So Lance Abramovich has splashed enough cash to keep Harbour afloat, so he’s now looking for a club ref. Turns out he flew his own ref in to do the curtain raiser between Harbour and the Sharks in Prem Colts at the weekend and Harbour still lost! To make it worse, the ref’s brother was playing centre for the Harbour colts. Is this a please explain from Ref Supremo Harty or do we get Jacinda to set up an inquiry? Funny story at the Jellyfish Jamboree at the weekend. A plethora of balls were being kicked into the harbour during the Prem game and Sharks manager Piranha on his 90-year-old hips was struggling to retrieve them. One sailed well out to sea and Piranha was at his wits end. A young fella said he’d swim out and get it. Piranha said I’ll have a towel and a two bar heater waiting for you. When I left on Saturday night that kid was still sitting in the middle of the field shivering!

You wouldn’t read about it ...

Johnnies (McGlashan) finally won a game in the first XV grade. I hope that calms the coaches down, so that just leaves the Spannerheads. But speaking of GI, it had a junior club day with Star from Invercargill on Sunday at the Toolbox, then all the kids went to the Landers game – great work from a great community club. Has Mike Kerr, the CRC “mover and shaker”, actually been to a club game this year? Word is the AU clubrooms have been full and humming over the last couple of weeks due to the success of their Prems. Question: where were you when Wheels and Taity really needed you?

This weekend

Destroyed Woody the GI and possibly Otago lock this year and on to Tim Medder from the Hawks this weekend, so the locks’ shout is looking further and further away! Varsity come out to the Sandpit to take on the Sharks (12-) and should win in a canter, but in all conscience I can’t pick them, so Sharks just. The Eels (12-) are at home and can’t break the winning habit, so they’ll bore the Magpies into submission. The Hawks scale the mountain to the high veldt and just come up short against Kaik (12-). AU (13+) needs to win to make the six and does comfortably over Zingers.

Late mail

Finals day is September 19 and it will be BIG — put it in the calendar and keep it free. More next week.


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