THE battle is on in earnest for semifinal spots in the Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup premier division rugby competition.
Second round matches get under way tomorrow with points earned in the Chris Kapene Cup first round series — won by Carterton — carried over.
The points table shows Carterton on top with 29 points, followed by Eketahuna 23, Greytown and Marist 20, Pioneer 16, Gladstone and East Coast 14 and Martinborough 5.
Carterton won’t get everything their own way tomorrow when they travel to Whareama to take on East Coast. The latter have developed nicely under the astute guidance of Don Veale and while they lack Carterton’s scoring potential in the backs they are quite capable of nullifying much of that advantage through their physicality in the forward exchanges.
Eketahuna will want to dominate Pioneer up front in their clash at the Jeans Street grounds while Pioneer will be keen to move the ball quickly away from the set pieces and trust their backs to do the damage.
A close finish is on the cards as it is at Gladstone where the home team should give defending Tui Cup champions Greytown plenty to think about. Gladstone have made a habit of lifting the ante in the second round and a win is certainly not beyond them.
The form book says Marist will comfortably account for Martinborough although it must be said that a Martinborough side at full strength wouldn’t be any pushovers.
Meanwhile, Kuranui College are the team to beat in the Wairarapa-Bush premier secondary schoolboys rugby competition
They ran in eight tries in their 54-0 defeat of Wairarapa College thirds on Wednesday. Brock Loader scored a hat-trick with Conquest Hadfield, Samson Dell, Dre Rimmer, Cole Freeman and Gracyn Evans all scoring one. Freeman added seven conversions for good measure.
Makoura College firsts and Wairarapa College seconds had a closely-contested match with Makoura winning 21-15 while the Rathkeale College development team defeated Chanel firsts 37-17.
Tomorrow’s rugby draw is:
Premiers: East Coast v Carterton, Whareama at 2.30pm (Scott Andrew; Pete Semmens and Doug Whitcombe); Marist v Martinborough, Memorial Park 2 at 2.30pm (Chris Jefferies; Graham Cook and Bruce Tomlin); Pioneer v Eketahuna, Jeans Street at 2.30pm (Shay O’Gorman; Graeme Reisima and Goff Moorcock); Gladstone v Greytown, Gladstone at 2.30pm (Alistair Payne; Mike Voice and John Dyckhoff).
Senior reserves: East Coast v Greytown, Whareama at 1pm (Pete Semmens); Marist v Featherston, Memorial Park 2 at 1pm (Graham Cook); Pioneer Old Boys v Puketoi, Jeans Street at 1pm (Graeme Reisima); Gladstone v Masterton Red Star, Gladstone at 1pm (Mike Voice); Carterton v Pioneer, Carterton at 1pm (Gary Hall); Martinborough v Tuhirangi , Martinborough at 2.30pm (Vaea Peterson).
Secondary schools: Wairarapa College first XV v Onslow first XV, Wairarapa College at 1pm (Mike Wakefield; Jaymon Huang and Logan Wakefield); Rathkeale Green juniors v Kuranui juniors, Rathkeale College at 10am (Jaymon Huang); Rathkeale White juniors v Wairarapa Blue juniors, Rathkeale College at 10am (William Nelson).
Junior Advisory Board: Marist under-11 v Gladstone under-11, Memorial Park No 3 at 10.30am (Logan Wakefield); Marist under-13 v Martinborough under-13, Memorial Park 2 at 10.30am (Pat Baucke); Carterton under-13 v Gladstone under-13, Carterton at 10.30am (John Dyckhoff); Greytown under-13 v Masterton Red Star Black under-13, Greytown at 10.30am (Gracyn Evans).
By Gary Caffell firstname.lastname@example.org