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Pirates snatch lead as two others stumble

CLOSE RANGE: Ratana's Pehira Huwyler scores against his old team Ruapehu from a pushover scrum at the Ratana Pa on Saturday.PHOTO/MERRILYN GEORGE 250415WCSUP01
CLOSE RANGE: Ratana’s Pehira Huwyler scores against his old team Ruapehu from a pushover scrum at the Ratana Pa on Saturday.PHOTO/MERRILYN GEORGE

The four-horse race on top of the Tasman Tanning Premier points table has another leader and is likely to change again this coming weekend after both Memorial Park teams surrendered their unbeaten tag on Saturday.

Integrity Motors Pirates, who have their second bye in three weeks upcoming, moved back ahead of PGG Wrightson/Ballance Taihape, who stumbled at home against Waverley Harvesting Border 15-12.

Earlier in the week, Border coach Ross Williams had played down his team’s chances of retaining the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield on the long away trip due to some key players being unavailable.

But, after scoring the only try of the first half, Border held a narrow 10-7 lead by the fourth quarter and both team’s would trade another five-pointer each for the visitors to hang on and remain the only unblemished side in the competition.

Halfback Lindsay Horrocks scored a try and was the game MVP.

Border will have the chance to go top of the table when they face Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau in Waverley this weekend, while Taihape can also regain the spot in the always tense Memorial Park derby match with Utiku Old Boys.

At Ratana Pa, McCarthy’s Transport Ruapehu finally got a tick in the win column but only with a late comeback to beat Harvey Round Motors Ratana 38-26.

Ratana’s forwards were all over Ruapehu in the first half, leading 21-7 after some typical barge over tries, including a 5m scrum pushover where former Ruapehu No8 Pehira Huwyler scored.

However, Ruapehu hooker Roman Tutauha, one of the remaining players from his team’s dominant era and still in top nick, forced his way through the Ratana backline to give his squad a lift.

With some of the Ruapehu senior team coming off the bench, having already had a good 55-5 win in their match, the visitors lifted from 26-23 down to score a couple of late tries as Ratana ran out of stamina.

Securing five points, Ruapehu move back within sight of the top four due to their bonus points and the disjointed nature of the competition, although they also have the bye this week.

In the senior grade, former leaders Sealswinslow Pirates have dropped back down the ladder after their second loss in two weeks, when Marist Celtic broke the 16-all deadlock with a try to win the Spriggens Park derby.

Across on the race track field, Ngamatapouri found more trouble than they expected from Marist Buffalos.

Playing without one of their influential leaders in Reid Belton, who popped his collarbone the previous week, Ngamatapouri were tied 5-all at halftime before pulling away in the second stanza for a 39-5 win.

As well as Ruapehu, Kelso Hunterville retained their unbeaten tag with a 34-7 disposal of Counties in another successful Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield defence at Kaiwhaiki.

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Tasman Tanning Premier, Week 6

Senior Championship, Week 6

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