Feilding, COB clinch semifinal berths
Feilding Yellows and College Old Boys have clinched semi-final places after their week 13 wins in McDonalds Manawatu Senior One Club rugby.
Yellows beat Kia Toa 37-15 while COB beat Te Kawau 26-14 to ensure they will finish within the top four regardless of what happens over the last three weeks of the season.
COB require just one competition point over the next three weeks to lock in a home semi-final.
Meanwhile, Old Boys-Marist’s 15-10 loss to Varsity and Feilding Old Boys-Oroua’s 64-14 win over Freyberg has kept the race for the remaining two semi-final places wide open.
OBM hold third place, two points clear of fourth-placed FOB-Oroua, who have a five-point advantage over fifth-placed Varsity.
Kia Toa’s semi-final hopes look all-but-gone with the side 10 points out of fourth with just three weeks remaining.
Their loss to Feilding highlighted Kia Toa’s defensive issues, especially out wide.
From the kickoff, Yellows had Kia Toa on the ropes.
But it took until the 15th minute for Yellows to capitalise as Drew Wild split the defence in half and Brad Carr crossed off the next phase.
Carr scored another try for Yellows after connecting with a Josiah Maraku-cross field kick and Hayne Leota bagged their other try of the first half.
A pair of tries in the first half to Moleli Mauola and Bethel Fauolo kept Kia Toa in the match, but they still trailed 18-10 at the break.
Kia Toa’s stars were the usual suspects – Fraser Stone and Moeaki Samita.
But Yellows ran away with the game in the second half with Griffin Culver, Zane Dallinger and Hayden Stratford all dotting down.
College Old Boys survived a scare to beat Te Kawau 26-14.
The table-toppers went into the break with the scores level at 14 a-piece.
Surprisingly, it was up front where COB were caught lacking as the big Te Kawau pack took control of the match.
With Adam Boult knocking over kicks at regular intervals and Sam Stewart leading from the front, bagging yet another try, Te Kawau raced out to an 8-0 lead.
Andre Taylor got COB on the board with a quick tap to score.
At 14-7 behind, a try to Brice Henderson two minutes before the break spared COB of their blushes.
In the second half, COB turned to their powerful bench. A pair of tries to Awatere Kiwara and Andrew McDougall proved enough for them to escape Rongotea with a flattering 14-point win.
Varsity pulled a try out of the bag with five minutes to play to keep their season alive.
Tom Hughes set up locking partner Ian Burmeister to break the stalemate in a messy match from both sides.
OBM had a 10-3 lead at the break with Chris Long their standout.
But two second half tries saw Varsity escape with the win.
Their best were Mickey Woolliams, Ben McColgan, Atonio Walker-Leawere and Hughes.
FOB-Oroua steadied the ship with a 64-14 win over Freyberg.
After a couple of weeks with the wheels appearing to fall off their title defence, the win puts them back in the driver’s seat for a semi-final spot.
Freyberg battled hard in the first half and were making a match of it with the scores locked up at 14-14 mid-way through the first half.
But too often they were caught out by the Stags’ dangerous midfield.
As the cracks started to show, FOB-Oroua wasted no time exposing them as cruised home to a comfortable win.
Varsity 15 (Jayden Falcon, Ian Burmeister tries; Nick Birchfield pen, con) OB-Marist 10 (Josh Greer, Matene Ruawai tries) HT 3-10
College OB 26 (Brice Henderson, Andrew McDougall, Andre Taylor, Awatere Kiwara tries; Taylor 2, Stewart Cruden cons) Te Kawau 14 (Sam Stewart try; Adam Boult 3 pen) HT 14-14
Feilding 37 (Brad Carr 2, Hayden Stratford, Zane Dallinger, Griffin Culver, Hayne Leota tries; Carr 2 con, pen) Kia Toa 15 (Moleli Mauola, Bethel Fauolo, Matt Te Huna tries) HT 18-10
FOB-Oroua 64 (Nardus Eramus 3, Shaq Waara 2, Blair Osborne 2, Tyler Moeau, Jamie Perigo, Paul Rakatau-Wiperi; Tom Stewart 4, Layton Manuel 2 con) Freyberg 14 (Raki Fangatua, Andrew Wood tries; Wiremu Morgan 2 con) HT 26-14