Two scintillating late tries to Foxton halfback Illisoni Rauhihi denied College Old Boys their first win of the Horowhenua-Kāpiti club rugby season at Levin Domain at the weekend.
College Old Boys, who had a solitary bonus point from 10 rounds, had every right to be excited when they went ahead 24-15 late in the game and a sniff of the chocolates.
An upset was on the cards, until Foxton coach Wayne Napier emptied his bench with three remaining substitutions. Soon after Toroa Ropana score a runaway try to keep Foxton in touch.
Queue the speed of Rauhihi, who played a get out of jail free card in scoring two magnificent tries that blew the scoreboard to make it look like Foxton were comfortable winners at 39-24.
It was best described as like a game of Monopoly with both side fighting for real estate. From the kick-off Foxton took charge of the game with two quick tries, of which one was converted.
Old Boys replied with a penalty. Foxton defended well a slotted a penalty of their own, leading 15-3 at half time. The second half was a try fest, as Foxton slowed the pace of the game down allowing Old Boys back into the game.
The race was now on for play-off spots with just four matches remaining until the semi-finals on July 13.
Foxton were in front with 33 points, two points ahead of Waikanae, while Toa were on 27 points. Rahui and Shannon were level on 22 points with Paraparaumu hanging in their on 17 points. Old Boys had one point.
All teams bar Old Boys are still in the hunt, although both Waikanae and Rahui had the advantage of having a game in hand, as they had already sat out their bye in this round.
Meanwhile, Rahui kept their play-off aspirations alive with a 34-25 upset win against Toa at Rahui Domain, a gutsy performance considering they had a throng of front row players out with injury.
Rahui's tries were scored by in-form second five-eighth Teariki Peneha, who bagged a double, Alizay Roach, Hapi Nikora and Tohini Raureti, with Roach adding two conversions, and Teakina Manga a penalty and Paora Connor-Phillips a conversion.
They led by 20 points early, but Toa came back to make it 20-all, before the Rahui backs started to cut capers again.
Rahui coach Sam Doyle said it wasn't hard to work out the permutations leading into the semi-finals.
"What we need to do is just keep winning," he said.
Shannon too kept their play-off hopes alive with a 25-10 win against Paraparaumu at Paraparaumu Domain.
Shannon tries were scored by Dean Wiki, Zac Third, and Tainui Woodmass, with Sean Pape kicking two conversions and two penalties.
Paraparaumu's points came from a Hayden Beissel try and a penalty and conversion to Sonny McBride.
SCOREBOARD: HKRFU Club Rugby Results – 8th June 2019
Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition
At Levin Domain: Foxton: 39 (I. Rauhihi 2, K. Tamou, M. Knight, T. Rapana, C. Hemi tries; S. McCool 2 con, A. Murphy con, pen) v Levin College Old Boys: 24 (W. Paia'aua, J. Sanson, C. Salu tries; A. Taiapa 3 con, pen).
At Paraparaumu Domain: Shannon: 25 (D. Wiki, Z. Third, T. Woodmass tries; S. Pape 2 con, 2 pen) v Paraparaumu: 10 (H. Beissel try; S. McBride con, pen).
At Otaki Domain: Rahui: 34 (T. Peneha 2, A. Roach, H. Nikora, T. Raureti tries; A. Roach 2 con, T. Manga pen, P. Connor-Phillips con) v Toa: 25.
Bill Muir Cup - Senior reserve grade
At Levin Domain: Levin College Old Boys: 36 (T. Maki 2, S. Solomona, J. Sinclair, D. Toleafoa, J. Tupai-Ui tries; L. Salu 3 con) v Foxton: 7 (B. Robinson try; A. Kauri con).
At Paraparaumu Domain: Paraparaumu: 24 (A. Cains, S. Mareikura-Martin, M. Tambour tries; P. Goldsmith 3 con, pen) v Shannon: 7 (S. Wade try; B. Te Tomo con).
Rahui won by default v Toa.