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Kaik got lucky and got up late over a plucky Taieri outfit. It is unbeaten for eight straight games and is guaranteed a spot in the four.
Zingers won with a late dropped goal to Thomas Johnson to post their second ‘‘W’’ and end Varsity’s chance of making the four.
The mighty GI Spannerheads finally broke their duck and posted their first win in 11 games. After the draw against the Eels in the previous week their time in the sun had to come and the portly prince of flyhalves, Ben Patston, led them around the ground superbly against AU.
The Ponies go the way of Varsity, as their top four aspirations were extinguished with the loss. Harbour confirmed a spot in the four and now has eyes on Dunedin’s second spot, after destroying it at the Codfish Cauldron.
They are destined to meet in the semis and Harbour has ensured it will go into that game as the raging hot favourite. You have to hand it to the Harbour "heavies" though, they were very hospitable after the game to a depressed Shark school.
Highlanders slay the Lions
In front of a packed Greenhouse and as the wind threatened to tear the roof apart the Highlanders, minus quite a few stars, ignited two bar heaters all over the stadium to warm the cockles of their supporters’ hearts. When Money Banks banged over the late penalty the crowd rose as one to applaud their all-conquering heroes.
Some points to ponder from the game.How is Liam Coltman rated behind Codie Taylor and Nathan Harris (who is he anyway?). He was outstanding on the night, his work rate is huge and his tackle count is staggering. His lineout throwing is very accurate and as a former prop his scrummaging is unquestioned — so Shag, please explain.
How can Akira Ioane be rated ahead of Luke Whitelock? He doesn’t have the accuracy, the toughness, the tackle count or the industry. Admittedly, he is good with ball in hand but only really shines against non-tackling Aussie sides and could be considered a flat-track bully.
Luke is rated by some as the best of the Whitelocks, so who am I to argue? So again, Shag, please explain. Waisake Naholo was released to play against the Lions and he was the outstanding back on the paddock, but that tells us they are not looking at him as a starter in the first test.
There is a bit of word around that they are looking at starting three fullbacks to combat the Lions kicking game but tell me that’s not true. We have to take at least one genuine try-scoring winger in the back three and that is Naholo — tell me it’s not so.
I made mention last week of the "Scottish challenge" we were going to give the Lions which I wasn’t big on but it hit a snag anyway as LIons management (take your pick there are 43 of them!) objected. So in the end Luke Whitelock simply handed over a Claymore which, to be fair, was understated and dignified.
Out in the country
The big game in the sticks was between Upper Clutha and Arrowtown at the Tarras International Stadium which is similar to Rotorua International Stadium except it has no stand, no seats, no bars but apart from that ... The Neil Purvis Memorial Trophy was at stake and Arrowtown prevailed in a tight encounter by six points.
The trophy commemorates Upper Clutha’s favourite son, Neil Purvis. The occasion was even more special because Paul Allison (the human mouth) organised to have one of Neil’s old team-mates, Wayne Graham, re-present his All Black cap as the previous one was lost last year when Cluden Station burnt down. Wayne presented the cap to Neil’s sons Ben (who was playing in the game) and older brother Sam.
ORFU president Des Smith, of course, was on hand (no show without Punch) and he reckons it was a pretty special occasion. Neil would have been looking down from his sheep station in the sky and would have been pretty proud apart from Upper Clutha losing — shame on you Ben!
Have you heard?
One of the big games last weekend was a clash of the two unbeaten teams in the Highlanders schools comp, Johnnies and King’s. It was a tight, tense affair with King’s prevailing with a late penalty to win it.
Mark Scully — the host with the most, and one of myriad coaches (reminiscent of Lions management) with Johnnies — was getting slightly aggrieved at some of the calls against his side dished out by Jono Bredin, the ref.
When King’s threw to a lineout and the ball only travelled 2m-3m he suggested to Jono enough was enough — Billy Somerville, the Southern stalwart, also got involved in the lively discussion (he was probably there waving the bottomless chequebook).
All was resolved amicably when Jono suggested Sculls would be moved to the naughty boy’s chair. Sculls had the last laugh, however, as Jono reversed his decision. But Sculls, I suggest you don’t buy carpet off Jono or Bill!I noticed on Saturday Chris Hart (ref supremo) was doing the Pirates v North Otago women’s game. When questioned on his demotion he mentioned it was a disciplinary demotion as he had rung big Jim Thompson (ref superintendent) recently at 2am from Perth, to discuss what burger shop he should visit on the way home from the casino — big Jim unbelievably hung up on him! He did ref most of the game sitting in a chair sitting on halfway!
The fall guy
Poor old Eden Brown was reffing SBHS v Kaik on Saturday as SBHS crashed over under the bar. As can be seen from the photo he adds meaning to the term unsighted as at the time he was sprawled prostrate and looking the other way after tripping over his own feet. Great photo Wayne Parsons — the camera never lies! SBHS did win comfortably, however.
In Prem two, West Taieri lost its first game of the season when it went down Eastern at Waikouaiti at the weekend but is still four points clear at the top of the table.
Eastern and Kaik are separated by only a point in second and third respectively, and Dunedin is fourth, some seven points adrift. At this early stage Kaik is looking the goods and I’m backing it to win the whole shooting box. I did watch Pirates play Dunedin for the Larry Salmon for 40 minutes on Saturday and was less than impressed with the standard — Larry wouldn’t have been handing out the barley sugars from on high after that! From what I could see there were no Pirates heavies on the sidelines which wasn’t a good look either.
In Prem Colts it is the Blues and SBHS on top with the Makos and the Eels in third and fourth. The Blues look overwhelming favourites especially with Varsity missing top four in Prems!
I watched the Blues v Makos game on Sunday where the Blues pulled away late to win it. It was far and away the best game I’ve watched for some time and has given me hope that all is not lost — a credit to both teams.
My days as a supreme pundit are numbered after crashing to a second defeat in three weeks at the hands of Hayden McBride from the Spannerheads — Mark Scully will go broke at this rate. However, moving on and up against Bookworm captain Sam Aitken so surely . . . Top-of-the-table Southern (12-) takes on Varsity for the Cavanagh at Mudgate and as I’ve said all year, the small-numbered behemoths just get it done for them. Harbour (13+) is at Abalone arena and takes on Zingers for the Scoles and even though it took out Varsity last week I’m predicting Zingers won’t back up. The Sharks (12-)need to get back on the the wave and may have a feeding frenzy on Eels for the Walker Fitzgerald at the sandpit. Kaik (12-) is at home on its beloved high veldt and takes on AU and should go nine straight but the Broncos will be hurting as they were average last week.