Carterton has sounded a warning with their best performance of the season to claim the final Tui Cup semi-final spot, this afternoon.
Their eleven-try 67-12 romp over Marist at Trust House Memorial Park means they edge out Pioneer – who went down 20-17 to Gladstone – for fourth spot.
Although Carterton and Pioneer finished the round robin on equal points, Carterton take the spoils on account of winning the encounter between the two sides, earlier in the season.
For Carterton it will mean a trip out to Gladstone next Saturday for one semi-final, while Greytown will host Martinborough in the other.
While Gladdy are the top qualifiers, Carterton will fancy their chances based on this afternoon’s effort. The mettle of the Carterton pack has never been in question, it is their attacking prowess that has been found wanting, until today that is.
The maroon’s backs looked sharpe and hungry from the opening whistle. Second-five eighth Utah Walker was a stand-out. It was his beautifully floated pass that put a flying Chester Rothery in the clear for the opening try, inside the opening two minutes.
Carterton were scoring at more than a point-a-minute in the first quarter, first-five eighth Jono Hurley the benefactor, with a brace of tries. By the end of the first half, Rothery had bagged his second and with Francis Muller also dotting down it was 33-nil.
Across town, Pioneer were 12-8 ahead at the break. But Gladstone applied the pressure in the third quarter with tries to lock Andrew Smith and a second to full-back Tim Griffith. Pioneer’s cause wasn’t helped playing for 20-minutes with a man short when Ash Casey was sent to the bin, followed by Jonty Millar.
For all their struggles, Pioneer showed huge grit and it was only tremendous defence from the visitors that kept them out. Pioneer did eventually breach the Gladdy defences, through Reece Calkin, but it was not enough to halt Carterton from taking the spoils.
Back at the park, Utah Walker was deserving of his two tries. Other notable performances were full-back Corey McFadzean – always looked dangerous with the ball in hand. The work-rate of open-side flanker Ethan Pinfold didn’t go unnoticed, nor did that of No.8 Lachie McFadzean.
In other matches, Martinborough continue to look one of the form teams hammering Eketauna 54-7.
TUI CUP 14th Round – July 15th
Pioneer 17 v 20 Gladstone
Marist 12 v 67 Carterton
Eketahuna 07 vs 54 Martinborough
East Coast 10 vs 66 Greytown
Senior Reserves: July 15th
MRS 36 (1) v 19 Tuhirangi
Puketoi vs Martinborough
(to be played @ Pahiatua -Sunday)
Featherston 51 (1) v 07 Greytown
Carterton 32 v 19 Pioneer
Gladstone 30 (1) v 15 Eketahuna
Marist (won by default over) East Coast