Mid Canterbury 13
East Coast 20
East Coast made the most of their opportunities to overcome Mid Canterbury 20-13 at the Ashburton Showgrounds today.
The visitors capitalised on two Mid Canterbury mistakes to outscore the hosts two tries to one, with the hosts frustrated by their own errors and the defensive tenacity of the East Coast.
Mid Canterbury started full of intent and posted an early Andrew Letham penalty but were caught napping by East Coast, who returned favour through John Semple.
The Hammers resumed their attacking onslaught, and were rewarded with a try to Tukulua Tolu that Letham converted for a 10-3 lead.
But just as Mid Canterbury threatened to open the game up, they let East Coast straight back in with a mistake from the kick-off handing the visitors field position. From the ensuing scum, Semple sliced through and converted his own try to level the scores 10-10.
Mid Canterbury produce further patches of attack only to blow their opportunities with simple mistakes and the cause wasn't helped when Letham limped from the filed just before halftime.
A mistake straight from the kick-off in the second half again handed the visitors a prime opportunity and East Coast profited again with Everett Reid going over for the try and Semple landing the conversion.
Down by seven, the Hammers looked to conjure up a response but every time they got on the front foot, East Coast were able to frustrate them and force a mistake.
Substitute first five-eighths Solomona Paraki landed a penalty to close the gap but Semple landed his second penalty of the afternoon for the East Coast to keep the margin at seven.
Mid Canterbury came close to producing as second try but the East Coast defence scrambled well to hold on for the win.
East Coast 20 (John Semple, Everett Reid tries; Semple 2 cons, 2 pens) Mid Canterbury (Tukulua Tolu try; Andrew Letham con, pen; Solomona Paraki pen). HT: 10-10.