Weekend results have produced log jams at the top of both Whanganui premier and senior grade rugby tables.
Perhaps the most significant results were McCarthy Transport Ruapehu's 22-5 win over Tasman Tanning premier leaders Byford's ReadimixTaihape at Memorial Park and Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist's 42-20 upset victory over Waverley Harvesting Border and Spriggens Park. However, Border's 23-20 win over Celtic to claim the Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield also put a fly in the ointment in the senior division.
Ruapehu's win relegated Taihape to third on the table, gave it the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield and a tie in the lead with Black Bull Liquor Pirates who demolished Harvey Round Motors Ratana 65-5.
Marist now has a serious chance at making the top four with three matches remaining before the semi-finals in the premier grade.
Vying for top four spots now are Ruapehu and Pirates (41 points), Taihape (38), Border (36) and Marist (33).
The northern derby was halted for a time early in the match when Taihape flanker Lennox Shanks took a serious head knock and was concussed. After much attention Shanks was helped from the field. Other injuries of note during the game included Jackson Campbell who spent some time on the sideline while a knock/cut to the head took some time to get bandaged and replacement back Sid Henare who came off with a popped shoulder.
It was a hard game and the score was not really an indication of the flow of the game. Ruapehu really couldn't afford to feel comfortable until the last 5 minutes where they scored twice quickly taking the end result to 22-5.
Craig Clare missing his first three shots at goal did not help Ruapehu's cause early, but then Corey Carmichael chipped in with a try 20 minutes into the game after the ball was swung out wide.Mitchell Millar converted.
After half time Craig Clare got his mojo back kicking a penalty to bring the score to 10-5.
Then 15 minutes into the second half Taihape had the ball at 5m mark and using their forwards went over the line three times only to be held up on each occasion. Taihape continued to attack the line and after some huge defence by Ruapehu, scored, however, the Crichton Dunster try was unconverted making the score 10-5.
With 5 minutes to go Clare scored an unconverted try out wide to bring the score to 15-5 and this was followed by another try in the 78th minute by Troy Brown and converted by Mitchell Millar.
Taihape will have it tough with the final three games of round two away fixtures against Pirates, Marist and Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau who had a convincing 46-31 victory over Settlers Honey Ngamatapouri up the Waitotara Valley. Despite that win Kaierau may struggle to make the top four with just 27 points on the board.
Meanwhile, just five points separate the top four on the senior grade leaderboard with three matches to in the round. Speirs Food Marton lead with 10 points from Kelso Hunterville on 9 after beating cellar dwellers Taihape 26-14, with Celtic third on 6 points and Border on 5.