WOODLANDS and Star have progressed to the Galbraith Shield final to be played at Invercargill’s Rugby Park at 2.30pm this Saturday.
Woodlands was the warm favourite for this final before the season even started. Adding to the confidence around the Woodlands camp is the very recent memory of beating Star 54-7 a fortnight ago.
Going into the last round Pirates Old Boys, Marist and Star all had a chance to join Woodlands in the final.
Woodlands finished off Marist last Saturday when Marty McKenzie kicked a penalty goal from halfway in the last minute of the game to win 29-28.
Woodlands opened the scoring before Marist took charge and scored three tries to take a 21-7 lead at half-time. Woodlands scored a try with six minutes remaining to get within two points, and with time up Woodlands was awarded a penalty and the kick hit the post and bounced over the cross bar to steal the win.
Star played one of its best games of the season to beat Pirates Old Boys 29-5 at Surrey Park. Star scored after five minutes and almost had a fourth try before half-time. Lock Jack Capil caused havoc in the wide channels, fullback Junior Lafoga played his best game of the year and first five-eighth Ben Pope directed things pretty well. Hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate made some big tackles.
Pirates’ first five-eighth Greg Dyer went off with a leg injury before half-time. Dyer’s punting would have been a huge assist for Pirates with the breeze behind the team in the second half.
The Eastern Northern Barbarians beat Blues 29-19 in a dead-rubber match at the Gore Showgrounds. Both of these teams have been in a rebuilding phase this season and have performed as good as any on their day.
After the games had finished Star, Marist and Pirates Old Boys had all finished on 27 flag points. The finalist was the team which earned the most flag points in the games played against each other.
The competitiveness of the division one grade was also highlighted on Saturday when Waikaka beat Te Anau 24-17. This result meant Edendale would’ve only needed to earn a bonus point in its last round-robin match against Midlands to make the final. Unfortunately for the Magpies they were beaten 36-20.
Edendale put in a valiant effort after having a player sent off early in the first half. Edendale scored three tries but Midlands started strong and never let up, and will deservedly host the Ack Soper Shield final in Winton against Te Anau at 2.30pm.
Pioneer will host the division two Gerald Dermody Shield final against Tokanui. Pioneer beat Waikiwi 43-24 on Saturday, while across town, Tokanui beat Albion 43-14.
In the CJ Soper Trophy, the winner of the Waiau Star and Drummond Limehills Star game at Tuatapere was to advance to the final. The game was drawn 22-22 but since Waiau Star had beaten DLS earlier this season it will play the final in Bluff.
Collegiate has won all eight of its games in the bottom section of division two. Collegiate narrowly beat Woodlands B 25-21 on Saturday, and is now focused on the final on against Marist B at Lindisfarne St.
The Presidents’ Cup final is between Wyndham and Waikaia, while the Women’s Final is between Blues and Marist at Rugby Park at 12.30pm.
Premier Grade: Galbraith Shield: Marist 28 Woodlands 29, Pirates Old Boys 5 Star 29, Eastern Northern Barbarians 29 Blues 19.
Division One: Ack Soper Shield: Edendale 20 Midlands 36, Wyndham 26 Riversdale 17, Waikaka 24 Te Anau 17.
Gerald Dermody Shield: Pioneer 43 Waikiwi 24, Wakatipu 17 Mossburn 45, Tokanui 43 Albion 14.
Division Two: CJ Soper Trophy: Pioneer B 29 Blues B 27, Waiau Star 22 DLS 22, Bluff 30 Star B 10.
Life Members’ Trophy: Midlands B 10 Marist B 26, Woodlands B 21 Collegiate 25, POB B 37 Bush Pirates 10.
Saturday’s finals at 2.30pm:
Premier Grade: Galbraith Shield: Woodlands v Star
Division One: Ack Soper Shield: Midlands v Te Anau
Gerald Dermody Shield: Pioneer v Tokanui
Division Two: CJ Soper Trophy: Bluff v Waiau Star
Life Members’ Trophy: Collegiate v Marist B
Presidents’ Cup: Wyndham v Waikaia
Women’s Final: Blues v Marist, Rugby Park, 12.30pm.