DAVE Hoskin Carriers Marist turned around a 24-point deficit in seven days to beat Harvey Round Motors Ratana 24-19 in the sole Tasman Tanning Premier consolation semifinal on Saturday.
Having been comfortably defeated 24-0 the week before in the Pa, it was a different story at Spriggens Park as Marist hung on to their lead after going into halftime 10-7 up.
Both teams scored three tries, with the goalkicking of Marist first-five Scott Dowman proving the difference. Dowman was also a tryscorer, along with Blake Eves and Lake Ah Chong.
Ratana’s tries came from winger Marama Penetito, hooker Kenau Kaa and No8 Charlie Mete.
Marist Celtic came close to emulating their senior team and shocking the unbeaten Kelso Hunterville on a thrilling afternoon of Senior championship semifinals.
Having lost 29-0 the week before, Celtic were not expected to give the defending champions too much trouble – but they were leading 16-9 at halftime at the Hunterville Domain.
Hunterville scored a try and kicked their fourth penalty to just get home 17-16 and keep alive their hopes of a seventh straight title. They will be joined in the final for the third year in a row by the Ruapehu seniors, who ended Ngamatapouri’s amazing return to the competition with a 31-27 victory at Rochfort Park in Ohakune.
With the Premier team also playing in Waverley, the Ruapehu club had to carefully marshall their player resources between the two games, and the result was a classic seesaw affair as the lead changed hands four times, with Ruapehu coming back from 10-0, 20-12, and 27-19 down.
Ruapehu scored the match winner after a sustained buildup with just over two minutes remaining, and while the game was played in good spirits, Ngamatapouri did get a red card in the dying moments.
Nine tries were scored in the match.
The game finished an excellent season for the brand new team from South Taranaki, who marshalled some excellent talent and overcame obstacles like using helicopter transport for players trapped by road closures from the June floods.
Ngamatapouri were the only side to put a slight blemish on Hunterville’s record, with a draw during the championship round, while out of the 13 other Senior teams, only the two grand finalists managed to defeat them, and narrowly at that.
The Senior consolation grade’s round robin was completed on Saturday, and although Sealswinslow Pirates were already streets ahead to claim the trophy, they were given their sternest test in the last game by Counties before winning 19-17 at the Wanganui Racecourse.
There were a couple of defaults as the Taihape and Border clubs protected their depth on the bench for their Premier semifinal games.
That will set up club finals day on the neutral ground of Cooks Gardens, as Marist will face Utiku Old Boys in the Premier consolation final, Hunterville and Ruapehu will have a rematch in the Senior championship, and Waverley Harvesting Border will meet defending champs Integrity Motors Pirates in the big Premier championship match.
Results, July 25
Tasman Tanning Premier championship semifinals
Integrity Motors Pirates 25 (Willie Kabakaba, Pena Ulukuta, Clive Stowers tries, Denning Tyrell pen, dg, 2 con) bt PGG Wrightson/Ballance Taihape 24 (Brett Nicholls, Johnson Hiroa, Jaye Flaws tries, Tom Wells pen, 3 con. HT: 14-0.
Waverley Harvesting Border 34 (Poasa Waqanibau 3, Renato Tikoilosomone, Kieran Hussey tries, Bobo Ulukuta pen, 3 con) bt McCarthy’s Transport Ruapehu 13 (Corey Carmichael, Kim McNaught tries, Zyon Hekenui pen). HT: 22-5.
Premier consolation semifinals
Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist 24 (Blake Eves, Scott Dowman and Lake Ah Chong tries, Dowman pen, 3 con) bt Harvey Round Motors Ratana 19 (Marama Penetito, Keanu Kaa , Charlie Mete tries, Te Tua Kemp 2 con). HT: 10-7.
Utiku OB beat Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau by default.
Senior championship semifinals
Kelso Hunterville bt Marist Celtic 17-16. HT: 16-9 Celtic.
Ruapehu bt Ngamatapouri 31-27. HT: 15-12 Ngamatapouri.
Senior consolation, Week 18
At Wanganui Racecourse: Sealswinslow Pirates bt Counties 19-17. HT: 14-7.
At Wanganui Racecourse: Ratana bt Marist Buffalo’s 19-15. HT: 15-14 Buffalo’s.
At Taihape: Utiku OB bt Taihape by default.
At Kaierau Country Club: Kaierau bt Border by default.
Final consolation points: Pirates 59, Counties 39, Taihape 33, Kaierau 33, Ratana 25, Border 24, Utiku OB 18, Buffalos 16.
Finals Day, August 1, Cooks Gardens
Premier consolation: Utiku OB v Marist, 11am; Senior championship: Hunterville v Ruapehu, 12.45pm; Premier championship: Pirates v Border, 2.30pm.
By Jared Smith – Wanganui Chronicle