Cameron Hayton celebrated his 50th match with a hat-trick of tries as Farriers Wairarapa swept aside East Coast in Mitre10 Heartland Championship rugby at Trust House Memorial Park in Masterton this evening.
The 44-22 victory earns Wairarapa-Bush an away Meads Cup semi-final against top ranked Wanganui next weekend. South Canterbury will host Buller in the other semi.
Memorial Park has been a happy hunting ground for Hayton in recent weeks scoring a double in Wairarapa-Bush’s previous home game against Buller.
Tonight the right winger played the classic Johnny-on-the-spot role finishing off attacking phases.
His first opened the scoring in the 15th minute after centre Zac Guildford broke numerous tackles to off-load to Hayton running the inside channel.
East Coast levelled the scores five minutes later with a try by their first-five eighth Todd Doolan.
Within minutes Hayton was back over the line, again benefiting from a Guildford off-load after a good break from first-five eighth Sam Monaghan.
It seemed almost fitting that the home team’s third try, just two minutes later, should be scored by Guildford. The former All Black zeroed in on a Monaghan kick into open space and then toed it ahead winning the race to the ball which held up in goal.
East Coast went close to scoring a couple of times, only for their hands to let them down and the half finished with the home team up 22-8.
Desperate to break their losing streak in 2016 East Coast came out firing in the second half hitting the rucks hard and making their tackles count. Twelve minutes into they were rewarded when winger BJ Sidney scootered in for a try after a quick penalty tap stretched Wairarapa-Bush’s defences out-wide.
Wairarapa-Bush started to gain the ascendancy, then all of a sudden their eight-point margin was looking a little shaky when replacement hooker Abe Haira was red-carded with 18-minutes still to play.
Up stepped Monaghan, tacking matters into his own hands he sliced through the East Coast defence peeling off 40-metres to score under the posts.
Hayton added his third a short time later, Guildford the provider once again.
East Coast replacement back Verdon Bartlett gave the visitors reason to smile with a try late in the game. However, the home crowd had the final cheer when captain Eddie Cranston scored on the stroke of full-time to cap of a strong game..
Wairarapa Bush 44 (Cameron Hayton 3, Zac Guildford, Sam Monaghan, Eddie Cranston tries; Andy Humberstone 4 con)
East Coast 22 (Todd Doolan, BJ Sidney, Verdon Bartlett tries; Hone Haerewa con; Doolan con)