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It was a quieter start to the second round of Tasman Tanning Premier matches on Saturday with only two games taking to the field in Waverley and Ohakune.
Having dealt with injuries to their always small squad, while a few recent acquisitions are still on mandatory stand down before they can debut for the club, Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri handed Byford Readmix Taihape another home win by defaulting before the trip to Memorial Park.
Getting an unintended two week break as there will be no games for Queen's Birthday Weekend, Taihape pocket the maximum five competition points and a further positive points differential of 28 on the table.
Over the other side of the catchment at Dallison Park, Waverley Harvesting Border racked up their ninth consecutive successful defence of the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield and their 13th home win on the trot with a comfortable 33-5 win over Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist.
Also rapidly ticking off milestones is Border's lightning winger Vereniki Tikoisolomone, who has now scored 13 tries in just six games, after adding another double to his tally.
The game pitted two players who were tied for third on the MVP points list and they both scored tries – No8 Semi Vodosese for Border and Marist hooker Jack Yarrall, with his team's only points.
Flanker Angus Middleton and utility back Tyrone Albert, rapidly becoming a heir apparent to Border's Steelform Whanganui playmakers, also dotted down.
The match was a big occasion for Marist's captain Brad Graham and Border's midfielder Anaru Haerewa, who both played their 100th game of Premier.
While they were denied a feature game at Memorial Park, there was still plenty for the local fans to cheer about as Bennett's Taihape pulled off the upset over Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic – lifting the Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield with a 27-17 win.
The victory on Celtic's second shield defence moved Taihape back within striking distance of the Top 4.
Across on the other Memorial Park ground, Utiku Old Boys pulled their season out of its spiral, as after four straight losses they accounted for Border 39-5.
Celtic's loss strengthened Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau's position in the Top 4, but they paid a price with a couple of serious injuries in their 40-5 win over Speirs Food Marton on Friday night under lights at the Country Club.
Across town at Spriggens Park on Saturday, the Ruapehu Seniors dealt a serious blow to Black Bull Liquor Pirates' hopes of getting back in playoff contention with a big 39-19 win.
The anticipated meeting between Harvey Round Motors Ratana and Kelso Hunterville is now three weeks away, and Ratana signalled they are ready after overrunning Marist Buffalo's 52-5 at the Pa.
And while it may have been a clash of 1st vs 12th on the table, McCrea Scanning Counties made Hunterville work for it on their home turf, before they pulled away 34-17.
Results, May 28-29
Tasman Tanning Premier, Week 6
Grand Hotel Challenge Shield – Waverley Harvesting Border 33 (Vereniki Tikoisolomone 2, Semi Vodosese, Tyrone Albert, Angus Middleton tries; Craig Clare 4 con) bt Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist 5 (Jack Yarrall try). HT: 12-0.
Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau 22 (Harry Unsworth 2, Opetini Dryden, Karl Pascoe tries, Ezra Malo con) bt McCarthy Transport Ruapehu 15 (Keaton Norling, Gavin Martin, Oli Keast tries). HT: 7-5 Kaierau.
Byford's Readimix Taihape bt Settlers Honey Ngamatapouri by default.
Senior Championship, Week 7
At Spriggens Park: Ruapehu bt Black Bull Liquor Pirates 39-19. HT: 22-12.
At Kaierau Country Club: Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau bt Speirs Food Marton 40-5. HT: 26-0.
At Ratana Pa: Harvey Round Motors Ratana bt Marist Buffalo's 52-5. HT: 26-0.
At Hunterville Domain: Kelso Hunterville bt McCrea Scanning Counties 34-17. HT: 24-12.
At Memorial Park - Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield: Bennett's Taihape bt Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic 27-17. HT: 19-12.
At Memorial Park: Utiku OB bt Border 39-5. HT: 12-0.
Around the grounds
METRO: It's been a long time coming, but St John's Whanganui Metro would have savoured their 34-10 win over rivals the Feilding Yellows at Spriggens Park on Saturday. The first victory in three years against the Yellows moved Metro well clear on the top of the seven-team table.
The current Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV avenged their alumni with an 18-5 win at home against Wesley College to lock themselves into fourth spot on the CNI points table on Saturday. Collegiate last played Wesley in 2019 at lost 31-28 after a try right on fulltime.
Whanganui High School 1st XV earned a gritty 12-6 win away to Dannevirke High to sit top of the MRU Premier 2 standings on Saturday. Cullinane College were scheduled to play Horowhenua College. In Premier 3a, Whanganui Collegiate 2nd XV had a heavy 83-17 away loss to Palmerston North Boys High U15 Colts.
Former Steelform Whanganui prop and 2016 Meads Cup winner Tietie Tuimauga has been named in the extended 31-man Manu Samoa squad who will play the Maori All Blacks and a RWC qualifier against Tonga. A Manawatu representative, Tuimauga is one of 13 New Zealand-based players in the squad.