Three games go down to wire

Harbour's Melani Matavao is tackled during its game against Zingari-Richmond on Saturday. Photo:...
Harbour's Melani Matavao is tackled during its game against Zingari-Richmond on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
There were three cliff­hangers and one lopsided con­test in the Dunedin premier club competition on Saturday.

Games were not decided until right near the end at Miller Park, Bishopscourt and the North Ground but Harbour was in total control from the outset at Montecillo.

Southern ..........................31

Green Island....................30    

If ever there was a game of two halves, then it was this one at Miller Park.    

The home side made all the running in the opening 40 minutes and led 24-7 at the break. Green Island further extended the lead to 27-7 early in the second half and looked to be odds on to take the Selwyn Inglis Memorial.    

But Southern awoke from its slumber and came back into the game. Winger Josh Gordon got involved and scored a couple of nice tries with Mack­enzie Haugh slotting the conversions from the sideline.

Those kicks were vital and, with about five minutes to go, Haugh put the Southern side ahead with a straightforward penalty.    

Green Island came back but could not hold on to the ball and came up short.    

In the first half, Green Island was utterly dominant and scored a pushover scrum as its forwards were totally on top.

First five-eighth Finn Str­awbridge, who is growing every week, piloted his side round the paddock and loose forward Josh Clark ran hard.    

But halftime stopped its momentum and Southern’s ball retention was better in the second half.    

Haugh and Gordon were lively in the backs for South­ern while its loose forwards worked hard to gain more ball in the second half.

Harbour ............................71

Zingari-Richmond ............14    

Harbour made no race of it against Zingari-Richmond at Montecillo and comfortably won the Scoles Memorial.    

The Colours had upset Harbour in the first round but that was never going to happen on Saturday.    

Harbour led 36-0 at halftime and, although the home team never flew the white flag and gave it everything, Harbour was just bigger, stronger and faster.    

The Harbour forwards made the advantage line with ball in hand and that created space for the backs, who ran with plenty of purpose.    

Left winger Piliu Tavake used his blinding speed to score two tries in the first half while hard-running Harbour forwards such as Sekonaia Pole and Solomon Pole picked up braces.    

Out the back, Logan Allen and Sio Tomkinson directed play well and showed some nice touches while halfback Melani Matavao enjoyed a dream run behind the pack.    

Zingari-Richmond tried hard and no-one could falter it for a lack of spirit.    

Veteran No 8 Chris Bell got among it and lock Matt McCor­mick, as usual, threw himself about as did prop Chris Shields.    

First five-eighth Thomas Johnson played one of his better games of late while Chris McNoe and Sasha Bachurin looked lively when they had the ball.


Alhambra-Union ..............15    

Alhambra-Union came out of the blocks and was all over Dunedin in the early exchanges.    

It dominated territory and possession and, if it had been more accurate, could have established a sizeable lead.    

It finally cracked Dunedin after a quarter hour and impressive winger John Tapueluluheu dashed away for the converted try.    

Dunedin took 30 minutes to get into the game as it spilled what ball it got at every avail­able opportunity.    

The staggering statistic for it was it did not win one clean lineout in the game.    

But it attacked the Alhambra-Union line for the last eight minutes of the half and lock Mark Grieve-Dunn crashed over on the cutback to draw them level at 7-7 at the break.

The only exciting aspect of the second half was the scores were close so the game went down to the wire.    

The handling of both sides in the second spell was substand­ard and cancelled many prom­ising moves.    

The defence on both sides in the main was brutal and efficient, so breaks were infrequent.

Alhambra-Union first five­eighth Levi Emery kicked an early penalty and, after 25 minutes, Ellim Liko went over a sustained build-up to give it an eight-point lead and the game looked done.

But Dunedin stormed back through winger Isaiah Duncanson who crashed over to reduce the lead to one with five to go.   

It was then awarded a pen­alty 38m out on the angle and Ulsterman Cormack Fox dril­led for probably an unde­served win.   

For Dunedin, Teague McIl­roy and Mark Grieve Dunn were its best up front and Fox at first five-eighth and outside backs Leroy Van Dam and Duncanson were its best attacking options.

For Alhambra-Union, Hay­den Fleury, Jacob Coughlan and Uru Tapueluluheu were its best up front and inside backs Sam Baker-Leota and Levi Emery controlled play well.



It was a classic game of two halves at Bishopscourt, when University escaped with an injury-time try to replacement outside back Tyler Beary to record a 28-22 victory over home side Kaikorai.

The Demons withstood an early onslaught from the academics, then became aside possessed, leading to tries to halfback Josh Renton and wing Jordan McEntee.

Inspired in defence by High­lander Dan Pryor and front rowers Jonah Aiona and Mitch Pryde in broken play, it con­tinued to dominate the first half leading to atry just before the break to wing Tarzan Smith.

Trailing the home side 19-0 at the break, University sent its first-half gremlins packing, scoring in the opening minutes through captain and open side flanker Jack McHugh.

When Kaikorai was reduced to 14 men and golden oldie scrums when prop Sidney Fidow was sent to the bin soon afterwards, McHugh scored a second. It then took the lead when wing Josh Timu broke through to score handy to the posts.

Kaikorai regained the lead with aminute of play remain­ing through a 46m penalty to Ben Miller, but the student side was far from done.

It initially appeared to score through Kieran McClea only for it to be disallowed.

Far from dismayed , and with time up, University regained the ball at the 22m restart for Beary to score a match-winning try.

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