No prizes for guessing who the happiest coach was after Saturday's round in Hawke's Bay's premier club rugby competition.

Yes, it was K9 Petfoods Clive head coach Blair Cross comfortably.

"Our goal was the top four. We achieved that with a third placing which means we avoid Napier Old Boys Marist in the semifinals. But we start again and Tech at Whitmore will be another big one," Cross said after his team's 31-7 Tui Maddison Trophy ninth-round victory against Carters Frame and Truss Taradale at Farndon Park.

Tighthead prop Kereama Peni, a son of former Hawke's Bay Tuis prop Vicki Peni, produced his best performance of the season for the hosts with two tries. Two 2016 Magpies who continue to enhance their chances of Mitre 10 Cup selection this season, lock Josh Eden-Whaitiri and hooker Jorian Tangaere, were other influential figures for the riversiders.


Frontrower Ellery Tareha, captain and No8 Andrew Gardner, halfback Karl Hewitt and midfielders Kaleb Whakataka and Jackson Waerea all had memorable patches for a Taradale side which missed out on a semifinal berth for the first time in six years and finished ninth.

NOBM 48 Pirate 7
Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports required one competition point out of this Park Island encounter to secure a semifinal berth but were the architects of their own failed mission.

Poor discipline and the inability to gain sufficient territory on a regular basis let the visitors down. They were on the receiving end of a 13-7 penalty count.

"The boys were too hungry to do well. We lacked the necessary composure and you have to have that against this NOBM side which is so clinical," Pirate head coach Pouri Rakete-Stones snr said.

By missing out on a point the Pirate side allowed Hastings Rugby and Sports to take the fourth semifinal berth and a trip to Park Island this week to take on the Green Machine who pumped out their 32nd consecutive win and retained the Hawke's Bay Challenge Shield with this victory.

"Pirates got penalised for poor discipline and we made them pay. We gave Chris the winning 50th he deserved," Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited NOBM head coach Craig Gowler said referring to captain and openside flanker Chris Johnston who again led his troops by example.

Lock Matt Gardner was again full of authority in all aspects of play and secured numerous turnovers. Prop Chris Benson impressed with his powerful scrummaging and Magpies halfback Ellery Wilson shone with his defensive work and control on attack in a rare appearance at second five-eighth.

Flanker Gerome Naera and world champion Baby Blacks prop Pouri Rakete-Stones jnr were tireless workers in the Pirate pack. Captain and centre Hayden Hann was again the pick of the Pirate backs.

Hastings 57 MAC 0
Ansin & Monteith Hastings Rugby and Sports captain and prop Jason Long celebrated his 100th appearance for his team with a try in this Elwood Park drubbing.

The hosts had to secure the maximum five competition points to secure a semifinal berth and their task was made easier when a below-strength MAC outfit fronted. MAC assistant coach Antony Morley said several of his players were absent with the flu and couple who fronted had pneumonia.

Flanker Ben Hamelink produced some outstanding support play for Hastings. Workaholic No 8 Warwick Slingsby was another to shine in the winning pack. Fullback Tom Agnew impressed with his counter-attacking, tactical kicking and goalkicking while centre Timo Vaiusu was a powerful figure.

Captain and winger Vai Kereti joined the halfback-first five-eighth combination of Brigham Morley and Tom Iosefo as the visitors' best.

Tech 42 Havelock North 7
Progressive Meats Havelock North statistician Conrad Waitoa heaped kudos on Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical after this Whitmore Park loss.

"They will be very competitive in the semifinals and they should make the final if they continue to play like they did. We had good patches but often could not complete the last pass or we would take one step too far."

As the score suggests the Texans produced a polished team performance. Lock Elijah Martin and hooker Tere Joel were an inspirational pair in the host pack and first five-eighth Tamati Samuels was again classy.

Prop Semisi Tonga'ofa and No8 Tyler Symon-Burke had huge workrates in the villagers' pack. Second five-eighth Kalin Paewai and his twin brother, winger Jesse Paewai, made the most of their limited attacking opportunities.

Both teams stood for a minute's silence before kickoff as Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the death of former Havelock North, Magpies, Maori All Black and Hurricanes player Jarrod Cunningham who died in 2007 after a battle with a motor neuron disease.

Central 28 Tamatea 21
Northfuels Central produced their best display of the season and finished a creditable seventh after this Bill Mathewson Park victory.

"There were two desperate teams playing some hard rugby and it was good to repay our supporters with the win," Central head coach Exham Wichman said.

Flankers Jake Richardson and Ryan Pauling were a dynamic duo in the Central pack. Experienced second five-eighth Lee Stewart was the pick of the visitors' backs.

Lock-flanker Ivan Bellamy and props Harley Kamura and Raumoa Timu provided plenty of grunt to the Tamatea engine room. Their team will know after the end of the division two competition next weekend whether or not they will have a promotion-relegation game on August 12.