By WALT DICKSON
Carterton scraped home in a try-less match against Gladstone in a Tui Cup semi-final this afternoon.
Midfielder Andy Humberstone kicked all of the home team’s points, two in each half.
But it was perhaps the Englishman’s defence that saved the day for the maroons. With his side under the pump for much of the final quarter Humberstone put his body on the line with brave defence and also desperately tidying after his team mates.
Gladstone will be ruing missed opportunities after winning the forward battle but ending with nothing to show for it.
The wet and muddy conditions were problematic for both teams, throw in also big match nerves. It made for a scrappy game of rugby, but with a place in the Grand Final on the line there was plenty of tension.
The man of the moment, Humberstone, had his moments in the big occasion making a meal of what looked a pretty easy penalty goal in the first half.
He did manage to land two however, as did Tim Griffith for the visitors, to leave the scores locked 6-all at the break.
Whatever it was that coach Joe Harwood said to his king-pin kicker at half time worked a treat with Humberstone nailing two 50-minutes penalties in tricky conditions.
On a roll with four wins in a row Gladstone meant business and even when they lost lock Cameron Dallas to the sin-bin midway through the second half they picked themselves up and took the game to the Moose Kapene Cup champions.
Hooker Richard Puddy, lock Andrew McLean and loosie Andrew Smith led the charge up front as Gladstone heaved a heap of pressure on Carterton. On a number of occasions they went close to scoring.
Meanwhile, in the other semi-final Greytown over-came last weekend’s loss to beat Marist 20-13.
In the second tier Hodder-Steffert Cup Eketahuna downed Martinborough 17-10 and East Coast were 27-20 winners over Pioneer.
Tui Cup Sem-Finals:
Carterton 12 (A Humberstone 4 pen) Gladstone 6 (T Griffith 2 pen) HT 6-6;
Greytown 20 Marist 13
Hodder-Steffert Cup – (Semi-Finals)
Eketahuna 17 Martinborough 10
Pioneer 20 East Coast 27
Senior Thirds Semi-Finals Top 6 –
Tuhirangi 15 Masterton Red Star 13
Pioneer 38 Marist 23
Senior- Thirds Semi-Finals Bottom 6 –
Puketoi 44 East Coast 7
Pioneer OB 39 Featherston 12
30th July 2016
* TUI CUP *
Carterton vs Greytown
* Hodder-Seffert Cup *
Eketahuna vs East Coast
Top 6 Final
Tuhirangi vs Pioneer
Bottom 6 Final
Puketoi vs Pioneer OB