Martinborough still have a glimmer of hope of making it through to the semifinals of the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union's Tui Cup competition after their 11-6 upset win over Greytown at Martinborough on Saturday.
The only try scored in a hard-fought fixture came from Martinborough Adam's Johnson with Tipene Haira also landing two penalties for the home side. All Greytown could manage in reply were two penalties from the boot of Raymond Oakley.
The result led to significant changes on the points table with Martinborough leapfrogging from seventh to fifth and Greytown dropping from first equal to second.
With three remaining qualifying round matches before the semifinals Martinborough are still 10 points behind fourth-placed Gladstone and now have the challenge of needing to beat Marist, Carterton and Gladstone over the next three weekends to have any chance of making it into the top four. And even then they will be relying on a series of other results to go their way as well.
Greytown's loss would have been disconcerting to team management because it followed on a similar upset defeat at the hands of Carterton a couple of weeks back but it's hardly a case for the alarm bells to be sounding. They are already guaranteed a place in the semis and pretty much look to have home ground advantage sewn up there as well.
Benefiting most from Greytown's defeat was Eketahuna who took a clear lead on the points table through their 22-14 win over a brave East Coast. Sam Monaghan, Robbie Anderson and Paul Tikomanavalu scored the Eketahuna tries and Anderson also kicked two conversions and a penalty. Zeb Aporo and Nick Olson were the East Coast tryscorers and Olson also kicked two conversions.
Pioneer made their semifinal spot safe with a 26-16 win over Marist at the Jeans Street grounds in Masterton. Their double figure margin probably flattered Pioneer in that Marist gave as good as they received in most departments and would have shared the honours in terms of territory and possession. However, it was Pioneer who had the better finish to their attacking movements and that was decisive in the end result.
The highlights of the scoring action were the brilliant individual tries scored by Marist fullback Malatai Malatai and Pioneer flanker Rima Marurai. Malatai's came after he had sped through a gap, kicked ahead and regained the ball while Marurai adroitly swerved past a couple of defenders and fended off another before making the touchdown.
Pioneer utility back Joseph Thompson, who started off at first-five and finished up at fullback, became the first player in the premier division grade this season to post a century of points, his conversion and two penalties taking his tally to 102. Hoani Peacock kicked a late dropped goal for Pioneer and, along with Marurai, their try scorers were Nikora Ewe and Jesse Dolman. Marist's points came from the Malatai try and one conversion and three penalties by Pua Tafa.
Gladstone consolidated their fourth place on the table with a 23-18 defeat of Carterton at Gladstone. The home team scored tries through Andrew McLean, Henry Booth and Richard Puddy and Tim Griffith kicked one conversion and two penalties. Corey Casey and Eugene Gerrard were the Carterton tryscorers and Andrew Humberstone kicked two penalties and one conversion.
Competition points: Eketahuna 45, Greytown 42, Pioneer 33, Gladstone 30, Martinborough 20, East Coast 19, Marist 18 and Carterton 11.
In senior reserve matches Eketahuna beat Marist 24-14 and Carterton beat East Coast 13-5.