Brought to you by Wanganui Rugby
Water is wet, sky is blue, and Byford's Readmix Taihape cannot help but play a one-point game in the 2020 Tasman Tanning Premier competition.
But after lady luck was with them for away wins over Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau and Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist, where straight-forward conversions were missed by the home teams, on Saturday the dice landed snake eyes, as Waverley Harvesting Border scored in the last minute for an 18-17 stunner at Memorial Park.
There are now no undefeated teams left on the congested Premier points table, as Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri were smashed by Kaierau, while Border rebounded from losing the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield last week to getting a little payback on the side who beat them in extra time of the 2019 grand final.
It looked like Taihape might ride out their 17-13 lead from halftime to the finish - their midfielder Tiari Mumby scoring for the second straight game, while veteran loose forward Tremaine Gilbert and winger Ryan Karatau also added five-pointers, with one conversion from first-five Dane Whale.
Border were not having a great match for conversions either, but kicker Nick Harding would add what proved to be a vital penalty along with a try.
Halfback Lindsay Horrocks continued his 100 per cent strike rate, having scored in three straight games, while also dotting down was Alekesio Vakarorogo, the promising new midfielder who is brethren to the Tikoisolomone brothers Ranato and Vereniki.
Very unlucky in their last two games, Marist gave their home supporters something to cheer about on Club Day with a comeback of their own to beat McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu 30-23 at Spriggens Park.
Down 13-7 at halftime and 20-7 soon after thanks to two tries by flanker Campbell Hart, plus a couple of penalties by Tuhirangi Akapita, Marist began to claw their way back.
They scored their second converted try, which Ruapehu answered with a Logan Blackburn penalty, before Marist got two very contrasting three-pointers of their own.
On the bench last week, Rangi Kui was proving his worth with the boot by adding a penalty, but it was prop Viki Tofa, of all people, slotting a drop goal to close the gap to 23-20 that brought Marist roaring home inside the last 10 minutes.
A third converted try saw them finally take the lead, with Kui putting an exclamation point on it with another penalty.
Tryscorers for the home side were lock Lake Ah Chong, veteran back Simon Dibben and Karl Battersby, with their first win of the competition leaving them two points outside the Top 4.
The curtain-raiser at Spriggens Park was the Marist derby game in the Senior competition, and Celtic remained firmly on top of the table by handing their clubmates Buffalos a first loss, 43-3.
The other unbeaten team to play three games is Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau, who travelled to McNab Domain to claim an important 36-7 win, scoring five tries to one in the first half.
After not getting a victory in 2019, aside from a default over the Pirates Seniors in Division 3, Border finally claimed an on-field win, and ironically against the same club with a 27-14 scoreline against Black Bull Liquor Pirates on the Racecourse field.
There was an unfortunate incident in the Utiku Old Boys vs Kelso Hunterville game at Memorial Park, as with 22 minutes remaining and the home side leading 17-7, a Hunterville player suffered a serious injury, with the game having to be ended so he could be moved.
The player was released from hospital and able to return home later in the evening.
Earlier in the afternoon at Memorial Park, Bennett's Taihape picked up a confidence-boosting 26-10 win over Speirs Food Marton to set themselves up for a shot at the Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield they lost in the opening game with Utiku, as new holders Harvey Round Motors Ratana come off the bye.
Results, July 18
Tasman Tanning Premier, Week 3
Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist 30 (Karl Battersby, Simon Dibben, Lake Ah Chong tries; Rangi Kui 2 pen, 3 con, Viki Tofa dg) bt McCarthy Transport Ruapehu 23 (Campbell Hart 2 tries; Tuhirangi Akapita 2 pen, con, Logan Blackburn pen, Tautahi Rawiri con). HT: 13-7 Ruapehu.
Waverley Harvesting Border 18 (Nick Harding, Lindsay Horrocks, Alekesio Vakororogo tries; Harding pen) bt Byford's Readimix Taihape 17 (Tiari Mumby, Tremaine Gilbert, Ryan Karatau tries; Dane Whale con). HT: 17-13 Taihape.
Grand Hotel Challenge Shield – Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau 69 (Karl Pascoe 3, Ace Malo 2, James Durston 2, Logan Henry, Cameron Davies, Ethan Robinson, Dillon Adrole tries; Robinson 5 con, Durston 2 con) bt Settlers' Honey Ngamatapouri 12 (Jim Seruwalu, Moses Tamata tries; Kulinishi Ligaithiuhiuama con). HT: 38-0.
Senior, Week 3
At Spriggens Park: Marist Celtic bt Marist Buffalo's 43-3. HT: 15-3.
At Racecourse: Border bt Black Bull Liquor Pirates 27-14. HT: 15-0.
At McNab Domain: Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau bt Counties 36-7. HT: 36-7.
At Memorial Park: Bennett's Taihape bt Speirs Food Marton 26-10. HT: 21-0.
At Memorial Park: Utiku OB bt Kelso Hunterville 17-7. HT: 17-7 (match ended after 58 minutes).
Bye: Harvey Round Motors Ratana (Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield holders).
Around the grounds
The Whanganui Collegiate vs Whanganui High School 1st XV game will be held at the WHS grounds on Wednesday.
The annual match will be a highlight of the sixth sports exchange between the schools, which includes hockey, netball and football. The 1st XV game kicks off at 2pm, while the Under 15 rugby match is at 11am.
St Johns Wanganui Metro picked up a crucial 19-7 away win over Danniverke Sports Club in the Manawatu Colts grade on Saturday, with the victory putting them third on the table with two matches to play until the semifinals.
In the Prue Christie Cup, the St Johns Wanganui Metro Women lost 36-25 to the Linton RC Women at Cooks Gardens.
Steelform Wanganui's Heartland Championship rivals in the South Island have created a mini-competition to replace the season which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Hanan Shield unions – South Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and North Otago – are being joined by Buller to face each other in both home and away games in September and October, without loan players.
North Otago are the 2019 Meads Cup winners while South Canterbury are the Lochore Cup holders.