North Otago registered
its first win in Ashburton against Mid Canterbury since 2006 when in a Lochore
Cup semi-final the fourth ranked team defeated the top qualifier, 36-24 at the
Ashburton Showgrounds on Saturday. The
margin was wider than the final score would indicate with Mid Canterbury
picking up two late converted tries in the last ten minutes after North Otago
was reduced to fourteen players when experienced midfielder Lemi Masoe was
Mid Canterbury made the
ideal start when first five eight Jared Percival got a fortuitous bounce inside
the North Otago twenty two to score and convert to give the home side an 8-0
lead after two minutes. But that was to
be the only scoring for Mid Canterbury for the next seventy one minutes as
North Otago's resolute and aggressive defence effectively shut Mid Canterbury
out of the game.
In a sensational first
forty minutes of rugby, West Coast, which had won only one of its previous
seven games, piled on forty four points in the first spell to establish a
margin that North Otago was unable to equal or pass in the final forty minutes
with the home team holding on for a 54-42 victory. This loss however gave North Otago a better
result as far as the Lochore Cup semi-finals are concerned. A Wairarapa-Bush win over East Coast allowed
it to leapfrog Mid Canterbury and thrust Mid Canterbury back into the Lochore
Cup playoffs, whereas top qualifier it will play the fourth placed qualifier,
North Otago In Ashburton next Saturday.
In a low scoring game
played in wet conditions overhead but on a good surface North Otago and King
Country fought out, often literally, a four all draw, with both side kicking
penalties in both halves. The game burst
into fisticuffs early in the first half but North Otago immediately indicated
to the opposition that there would be no tugging of the forelock in this
game. Consequently North Otago lost
hooker Sione Vea and tighthead prop Dan Towler while King Country lost
loosehead prop Carl Carmichael for ten minutes, a situation which required both
teams to run on substitute players for any scrums which upset the tempo of the
game. Down to thirteen men North otago
produced a gutsy defensive effort which was not lost of coach, Barry Stevens.
The pauper is now the
prince. After one hundred minutes of
rugby, Maheno with a superb try in the last sixty seconds of extra time
snatched a deserved 30-25 win over Old Boys in a thrilling Citizens Shield
final at Whitestone stadium before a crowd estimated to be nearly two and half
thousand vociferous supporters.
For Maheno captain,
number eight Hayden Tisdall it was the result of two years of build-up.
"When we scored
that last try it was just awesome. It
was a long 100 minutes but we got there in the end."
Maheno led 6-0 at
halftime but Tisdall was not confident that it would be enough.
"You can't shut Old
Boys out. They always come back at you
and as they proved in the second half they can score great tries from deep
inside their half. We had a good chat at
halftime with Coaches Mark Wilson and Nic Anderson and instead of kicking as
much we decided to our plan of running Old Boys wide and tire them out, and it
worked. We've got a very young team. It's taken a couple of years or so to get
confidence with each other and the ability to work off each other."