DLS has strong season in Div 2

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Kyle Sinclair (Drummond Limehills Star Rugby Club) scores a try in a Division 1 game against Blues Rugby Club recently. DLS won 61-5. Photo: Dave Loudon

DRUMMOND Limehills Star (DLS) Rugby Club has had another good season.

As well as the senior team, the club has 12 junior teams and contributes to the two Central under-14 teams and two under-15 teams.

This year’s DLS senior team had 26 players and was coached by Hayden McCallum, Pudd Unahi and Jono Riordan. Club legend Dick McFarlane had his 18th year as the senior team manager. The captain was blindside flanker Stanley Smith.

The team was competing in Division Two and was on target to make this week’s final until the last 20 minutes of its last round-robin match on Saturday.

DLS was leading Waiau Star 22-10 after 60 minutes in Tuatapere, before injuries to key players changed the momentum and the game was drawn 22-all.

“When our troops went down we lost our way, and their punting plugged us back into the corner. The Tui crowd came into the game in the last 10 minutes too,” McCallum said.

DLS had a penalty shot at goal to win the match but missed.

McCallum was proud of the effort.

“The boys gave it everything, left it all out there and that penalty just missed going over.’’

Lock Jarrod Kean, No 8 Daniel Thwaites, midfielder Jimmy Johnstone and openside Matty McConachie all tackled hard and ran hard on Saturday.

Halfback Kyle Sinclair had another good game and first five-eighth Caleb Blair-Roberts impressed with his tactical kicking. Loose forward Sam Hodsell was explosive with the ball in-hand, while veteran Gareth Paul provided a steadying influence from the back.

McCallum said the season’s highlights were beating Bluff at Limehills 31-17 and beating Blues B 61-5 in Invercargill. “They were different types of games; Blues was pretty
comprehensive while we had a good scrum and had to work hard against Bluff.’’

McCallum said the style of rugby they played was good to watch. “There is a good core of young guys, they all get on really well and they’ll stick together.’’

The disappointments were losing to Bluff and Waiau in the first round. “We went through a bad patch there; we needed to be more consistent at training during those weeks.”

Another low was the forced retirement of Angus O’Donnell, his talents were missed, he said.

McCallum was a halfback in the DLS team which won the division one title in 2006; DLS was also named Southland club rugby’s most improved team that year.

The most improved trophy is named after McCallum’s grandfather Bill Foster, who was a Limehills Star Life Member and still attended most DLS games.

Gregor Laughton was the club’s top performer. He debuted for the senior team as a teenager in 1998, and had taken the field in every season since.

The 40-year-old had played every position but was mostly used as prop this year. Laughton is the Limehills Star president, a role his father Colin once filled.

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