Waitohi claim first cross-over win

Central flanker Jone Lasaganibau takes on the Marist midfield defence. Photo Peter Jones

Waitohi notched the first cross-over win for a Marlborough-based side in the 2021 Tasman Trophy competition, beating Nelson 24-21 at Trafalgar Park today.

The news was not so positive for the other two Marlborough sides in action today however, Central well beaten 40-8 by Marist in Blenheim and Moutere/Awatere hammered 64-17 by Stoke at Awarua Park. In the other result Kahurangi downed Wanderers 26-7.

The Tohis established an early 14-0 lead but, as they did all game, Nelson came back at them to close the gap to 14-7 at halftime. With 10 minutes to play Waitohi held a handy 24-14 advantage but Nelson added a late converted try to make for a nail-biting last 10 minutes.

Prop Seymour Lambert leads the Waitohi defence against Nelson at Trafalgar Park. Photo Shuttersport.
Prop Seymour Lambert leads the Waitohi defence against Nelson at Trafalgar Park. Photo Shuttersport.

Waitohi player/coach Jimmy Giles described it as a “gutsy” win which “keeps their season on track”, especially as they travelled west with just 16 players.

Hooker Taimi Fangatua was their main weapon, scoring a hat-trick of tries. Tiare Tautari scored their fourth, Dylan McManaway adding two conversions. Youngster Viliami Napa’a, at lock, midfielder Dan Monaghan plus wingers Richie and Sione Kavalu on the wings played major roles for the Picton-based crew.

Central, coming off a hefty win over Awatere/Moutere last weekend came crashing down to earth against the rugged Marist outfit at Lansdowne Park.

The Blues were on the wrong end of a six-tries-to-one hiding, being bullied at the breakdown and unable to cope with their better-drilled rivals in the wider channels.

Marist led 21-8 at halftime, courtesy of three converted tries, while Central, despite enjoying long periods of possession and territorial advantage, had only a Quentin MacDonald try from close range and a Mitch Smith penalty to show for their efforts.

The second spell was a scrappy affair, Marist adding another three tries as Central struggled to hold onto the ball for any length of time.

Marist employed a very physical forward game, especially at clean-out time, an approach the home side struggled to consistently match.

Prominent for Marist were No8 Te Puoho Stephens, halfback Cleve Barrell, loosie Jacob Norris and midfielder Rahiri Witihera.

Hooker MacDonald, flanker Setaleki Baker, lock Jack Powell, halfback Ethan Jones and midfielder Nigel Satherley were the best of a well-beaten home side.

Tasman Trophy points: Waimea Old Boys 15 (played 3); Kahurangi 14 (3); Marist 12 (3); Stoke 12 (3); Wanderers 10 (4); Central 9 (4); Waitohi 7 (3); Nelson 6 (2); Renwick 0 (3); Moutere/Awatere 0 (4).

In division two action today, Central downed Awatere 31-12, MBC Old Boys beat Renwick 27-14 while Moutere and Waitohi drew 22-22.

Meanwhile, Moutere women scored a nail-biting win in the Tasman women’s competition, downing the highly-rated Waimea side 32-31 at Awarua Park.

The Magpies led narrowly at halftime but extended their advantage quickly after the break, led by the experienced trio of No 8 Niska Scott, front rower Hannah Gillespie and halfback Pippa Andrews, plus player of the day Aiesha Tepuia. Centre Chanelle-Erica Kuka-O’Brien also had a top game.

Moutere were ahead 32-7 at one stage then had to weather a fierce Waimea comeback to take the honours, breaking a winning streak for their rivals that extended through the 2020 season.

In the other match Riwaka beat Wanderers 36-17.