Sat, Jul 30, 2022 5:17 PM

Second half surge sets up MBC; Waitohi, Central to meet in final

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Peter Jones

A compelling second half display in tricky, wet conditions propelled the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV to a 43-17 victory over Miles Toyota Championship rivals Selwyn Schools Combined in Renwick today.

The sides were locked 19-19 at halftime, both having scored three tries, with the match very much in the balance.

Field position was the key to success and, in the second spell, MBC dominated that area. Guided around the park expertly by first five Hugh Robinson, the home side put themselves in good positions to attack from and were clinical in their execution, co-captain Cooper Roberts showing the way with four tries from fullback.

The battle up front was also crucial and MBC’s pack executed their core roles well, led by prop Johnny Vakaloa, locks Sam MacDonald and Watson Tahavalu, plus energetic loosies Thomas Large Will Flynn and No 8 Wayden Smith. Acting as a fourth loosie was halfback Jack Kelly, always keen to do the gritty work, while passing accurately in slippery conditions. Co-captain Jake Pacey carried hard, while centre Cohen Stewart and replacement Senetenari Ponesi looked lively. However, the pick of the backline was Roberts who was in unstoppable form, his combination of pace, power and timing too much for the Selwyn defence.

MBC’s bonus point win moves them up to seventh place on the championship ladder. They have a bye next weekend and will be hoping that eighth-placed Shirley, who play top team St Thomas of Canterbury, lose so MBC can retain that position for the forthcoming play-offs.

Scores: MBC 43 (Cooper Roberts 4, Cohen Stewart, Kobe MacDougall, Senetenari Ponesi tries, Hugh Robinson 4 con) Selwyn Schools 19. HT: 19-19.

Points: St Thomas 50, Nelson 49, Christchurch 44, St Bede’s 43, Timaru 32, St Andrew’s 31, MBC 30, Shirley 29, Christ’s 25, Selwyn 16, Waimea 10, Roncalli 8, Rangiora 6.

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Central midfielder Nic Murray fires a pass out wide on a soggy Lansdowne Park today. Photo Peter Jones 

Division two semis

Meanwhile, Waitohi and Central justified their top seedings for the division two play-offs with victories in their semifinals today.

Waitohi beat MBC Old Boys 11-3 in Picton while Central downed defending champs Awatere 27-0 at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim.

They will meet in next weekend’s final.

Central will be keen to emulate their division one side, who took out the Tasman Trophy, and showed they will be a tough nut to crack in the decider with a whole-hearted display today.

Two tries, converted by influential first five Ra Tamati, saw Central ahead 14-0 at the break. The Blues scored just one more try in the second spell, to hard-working No 8 Logan Robinson, which Tamati converted and added two penalties to shut the brave but ultimately out-played Tussocks out of the match.

Tasman Mako

In Nelson, the Tasman Mako women’s side scored their first win of the Farah Palmer season, a hard-fought 27-17 effort against Taranaki at a sodden Trafalgar Park.

The visitors led 12-10 at the halftime break before the Mako women pulled away, tries to impressive lock Laura Bayfield and replacement winger Becky Davidson getting the job done and breaking a long winless run for the home side.

On Friday, the Mako men had their final pre-season game, a 33-17 win over Southland in Christchurch.

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