Hunterville and Ratana through to the Senior final
By Jared Smith
While there was an upset in the Tasman Tanning Premier playoffs, both the No1 and No2 seeded Senior semifinalists successfully negotiated their home games on Saturday.
But it was a close run thing in the Pa.
In the replay of the 2020 final, defending champions Harvey Round Motors Ratana faced a much more determined Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic than the side they disposed of 30-3 at Spriggens Park in late April.
Having been so close yet so far from a Senior title in the last decade, Celtic came back from 12-0 down at halftime to close to 12-5, and then again to 15-12, until Ratana kicked their second penalty to head back to Cooks Gardens for the second consecutive year as a Senior-only club.
Their first half try-scorers were Eddie Tataurangi and Tex Seduadua, with Reihimana Meihana adding a conversion and penalty, while Brooklyn Herewini popped over their last kick.
Celtic’s try-scorers were Toby Millar and Kaakaa Kairimu, with the veteran Steelie Koro adding one conversion.
On the other side of the WRFU catchment, there was no contest as Kelso Hunterville swept into their tenth Senior final in 12 seasons, over-running Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau 42-3 at the Domain.
Hunterville scored two tries through centre Ihimaena Patea and prop Jamie Brett, before Kaierau closed the gap to 10-3 through a Tyrese Lama penalty.
But that was as close as the 4th place visitors would get as Scott Illston and second-five Blair Osborne, the former Kaierau junior, added unconverted tries for20-3 at the break.
Brett would add two more tries for his hat-trick, while winger Matthew Horton also dotted down twice, while veteran Scott Parkes came off the bench to finally add a successful conversion for the last score.
Senior Championship semifinals, July 10
At Ratana Pa: Harvey Round Motors Ratana 18 (Eddie Tataurangi, Tex Seduadua tries; Reihimana Meihana pen, con, Brooklyn Herewini pen)
bt Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist Celtic 12 (Toby Millar, Kaakaa Kairimu tries; Steelie Koro con). HT: 12-0 Ratana.
At Hunterville Domain: Kelso Hunterville 42 (Jamie Brett 3, Matthew Horton 2, Scott Illston, Blair Osborne, Ihimaena Patea tries; Scott Parkes con)
bt Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau 3 (Tyrese Lama pen). HT: 20-3.
METRO: St John’s Whanganui Metro ended the MRU Colts playoff hopes of a brave Freyberg Old Boys in a high-scoring 59-31 shootout at home on Saturday. Metro’s 11th straight win means they will host Feilding Old Boys-Oroua in the semifinals, despite FOBO losing 27-20 to third-placed Old Boys Marist, who will now take on defending champions the Feilding Yellows in the other playoff.
COLLEGIATE: It was a third-place finish for the Whanganui 1st XV at the 95th annual Quadrangular Tournament down at Christ’s College during the week. After losing 41-14 to defending champions Nelson College on Tuesday, Collegiate went into the minor final with Wellington College on Thursday, winning 24-15. Nelson went to beat hosts Christ’s in the major final, 27-25.
SCHOOLS: In the MRU Premier 1 Secondary School Girls grade, Cullinane College lost 32-5 to Palmerston North Girls High on Wednesday. In the most recent Premier 2 Boys round on July 3, City College 1st XV and WHS 1st XV drew 27-27 to still second 1st-2nd on the table. In Premier 3a, Whanganui Collegiate 2nd XV beat Palmerston North Boys High 4th XV 53-5.
MAORI U18: Whanganui players Konradd Newland, Logan Kingi and Riana Tamati have been selected for the National U18 Maori Whatukura Development camps, being held in Rotorua from July 18-21. Tamati will also be a key player in the Whanganui Under 18 Girls side who will play Taranaki and King Country in Inglewood this Wednesday and Thursday.