THE feature game in round five of Southland premier club rugby this Saturday is between Midlands and Woodlands at Centennial Park in Winton.
Midlands will play in memory of Ross McKerchar, who died last weekend aged 60. McKerchar was a life member of the club and father of recent Midlands senior players Ben and Scott. Ross was a past president and friend to everyone at the club.
The young Midlands side put in a good performance again last week against Marist; despite losing 49-26, Midlands showed it can be competitive in the top grade. Lock Joe Robins was outstanding all around the field while the rest of the forward pack displayed plenty of fight and ability in set piece exchanges.
Woodlands will be looking to bounce back after losing to Marist and Pirates-Old Boys (POB) in its last two games.
Woodlands was beaten at home 27-nil by POB. Both teams tried to play an attacking brand of rugby despite the greasy conditions. Woodlands dominated territory and possession in the opening exchanges but its momentum was slowed when first five-eighth Marty McKenzie got knocked out just 10 minutes into the game.
Pirates players then got their hands on the ball and put some phases together and looked the better team for the next 30 minutes. Wing Materua Tupou scored the game’s first try just before half-time.
After the resumption, Pirates played with good control and discipline and it wasn’t long before first five-eighth Greg Dyer went over under the posts. With 20 minutes remaining, Dyer added a penalty goal which extended the lead to 15 points. Woodlands tried a comeback but when its sustained period on attack went unrewarded, the Hawks’ confidence soared.
In the last 10 minutes, POB scored back to back tries to hooker Tua Tuapati and fullback Kepu Suli to earn the bonus point win.
Openside flanker Ben Keenan was best on show, and blindside Dustin Coveney was also outstanding. Halfback Josh Murrell again impressed in his debut season. Tuapati and flanker Anton Huisman made a massive impact off the bench.
In the other premier game, Blues beat Star 33-21 at Waverly Park, while the Eastern Northern Barbarians had a bye.
In the division one competition, the Northern Southland Trophy was on the line between Riversdale and Te Anau. Riversdale won the Bedford-Compton Shield 33-5 after leading 26-nil at half-time. Nathan Bokser was the standout player.
The Eastern Southland Trophy, the Wallis Shield, was also on offer between Edendale and Tokanui. Edendale won 34-33 with their man of the match Jeremy McLeod scoring two tries. Edendale has its club day and main game against Albion this week.
In division two, Bluff outmuscled and outsmarted DLS 22-19 at the port town.
Premier grade results: Pirates Old Boys 27 – Woodlands 0, Blues 33 – Star 21, Marist 49 – Midlands 26.
Mossburn 19 – Waikiwi 18, Riversdale 33 – Te Anau 5, Waikaka 20 – Collegiate 7, Mataura 39 – Albion 26, Edendale 34 – Tokanui 33, Wyndham 34 – Pioneer 26.
Riverton 33 – Ohai Nightcaps Otautau 7, Bluff 22 – DLS 19, Blues 36 – Star 17, Wakatipu 31 – Balfour/Lumsden 19.
Saturday’s draw. All games 3pm unless stated otherwise:
Premier Grade: Galbraith Shield; Midlands v Woodlands, Barbarians v Star, Blues v Marist, POB v Bye.
Division one: Te Anau v Waikiwi, Collegiate v Riversdale, Mossburn v Waikaka, Pioneer v Tokanui, Wyndham v Mataura, Edendale v Albion.
Division two: Pool A: Bush Pirates v Balfour, Waiau Star v Bluff, DLS v Riverton at Limehills. Pool B: Blues B v Marist B at 1.30pm, Wakatipu v Star B, 1.30pm, Woodlands B v Bye. Crossover Game: Ohai Nightcaps Otautau v POB B, at Nightcaps.
Women: Blues v Marist, 1.15pm, Saturday, Pioneer v Wakatipu, 1pm, Sunday, Albion v Bye.