Farriers Wairarapa-Bush made it three straight wins when they beat Thames Valley 28-18 in Masterton this afternoon.
The more creative of the two sides Wairarapa-Bush ran in three tries to two, leading 16-10 at the break.
In an even encounter little separated the two sides, except for perhaps Wairarapa-Bush fullback Sam Monaghan. His eye for a gap opened the visitors up on several occasions. Twice it was his break that lead to tries for the home team. He was equally effective when kicking the ball with his option taking and execution faultless.
Both sides were guilty of poor handling, with Thames Valley the worst offenders which was in part one the reasons they finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard
It was from a Monaghan break that Wairarapa-Bush scored the opening points, a try by prop Stan Wright after three minutes.
Thames Valley replied ten minutes later through a Jonnie TeRuhi-Chambers penalty goal and by the 20th minute had taken the lead with a converted try. Wairarapa-Bush had done well to withstand a period of good pressure by the visitors, but Glen Walters missed a regulation tackle in the midfield and second-five eighth Bryce Cowley ran in near the upright.
On the stroke of the half hour Wairarapa-Bush was back in front with a converted try, and again it was Monaghan who sparked it. Peeling of some good metres down the wing he off-loaded to centre Zac Guildford who put in a good kick leaving the Thames Valley defender no choice but to take the ball into touch in the corner. From the line-out, play went across field where Wairarapa-Bush was awarded a penalty right out in front. Instead of electing to kick for goal they opted for a scrum from which No.8 Sam Gammie picked the ball up and popped it back inside to halfback John Ika to run in under the posts.
There was a long stoppage in play just before half time following a head-knock to Thames Valley try scorer Bryce Cowley who was stretched from the field.
Early in the second half Tim Priest kicked a penalty goal to extend the margin to eight. It wasn’t long before Thames Valley squared things up when half-back Ben Bonnar took a quick tap from a penalty 15-metres out and dive over.
Wairarapa-Bush responded almost immediately. A superb touch finder from Monaghan put the ball in the corner and Thames Valley under a heap of pressure. Wairarapa-Bush gained possession and from a simple back-line move Walters ran into the gap to score.
Despite the eight point margin the game was in the balance right up until when Andy Humberstone knocked over a penalty out in front in the 73rd minute.
Thames Valley had a chance to salvage a bonus point on the stroke of full time, but a penalty attempt by Moss Doran bounced off the post.
Wairarapa Bush 28 (Stanley Wright, John Ika, Glen Walters tries; Tim Priest 3 con, pen; Andy Humberston pen)
Thames Valley 18 (Bryce Cowley, Ben Bonnar tries; Moss Doran 2 con; Jonnie Te Ruki-Chambers pen)