The Marlborough Boys’ College under-15 team finished their 2020 Invitation Tournament on a high with a win in their final match at Lansdowne Park on Thursday.
The three-day tournament involved the host team, plus age group rivals Christchurch BHS, Otago BHS and St Thomas of Canterbury.
After losing 36-7 to a highly-rated CBHS side on Tuesday, then going down 31-15 to Otago BHS the following day, MBC put their game together yesterday to down St Thomas 41-17.
With their three rivals playing together as a team each week in age group competitions, while MBC were chosen from various sides, the home side struggled early on for cohesion, but improved as the tournament went on.
The team management pinpointed three outstanding players.
Midfield back Cooper Roberts scored in two of the three games and was a constant threat with the ball in hand and strong in the defensive line.
First five Hugh Robinson produced an outstanding tactical kicking display across the whole tournament. He organised all of the back attack and steered the team round the park with his leadership and game management skills.
Open side flanker Will Flynn had tackled himself to a standstill by the last day after practically playing three full games in a row against three of the strongest schools in the South Island.
No 8 Jack Burdon popped up in all the right places, making a number of key defensive tackles that saved certain tries. He was an excellent support player and made a number of tackle busts.
Lost to Christchurch BHS 36-7 (Half time 14-7) Tries: Archie Dillon. Conversion: Hugh Robinson.
Lost to Otago BHS 31-15 (Half time 19-5). Tries: Wayden Smith, Cooper Roberts, Carter Aiken.
Beat St Thomas’s of Canterbury 41-17. Tries: Cooper Roberts 2, Kaloa Moala Fotu 2, Wayden Smith, Hugh Robinson, Jack Bennett. Conversions: Hugh Robinson 3.
Tasman’s top tennis talent held their own at the South Island Teams event played at Wilding Park, Christchurch on August 29-30.
Teams from Canterbury, Canterbury Country, Otago and Tasman contested the event which ran on Saturday and Sunday.
Representing Marlborough in the Tasman team were Jade Otway, Hamish Morrow and Hamish McRae.
Jade Otway was the star of the weekend winning all six of her matches.
First up on Saturday, Tasman lost 4-8 to the host side, Canterbury: Otway beat Ruby Young 6-3 6-0 combined with Simon Phillips in the mixed to claim a 7-5, 7-6 victory. Morrow and McRae teamed up in the men’s double, but went down 5-7, 0-6.
Tasman also had a tough battle during their second game on Saturday, losing 8-4 to Otago. Otway went two-from-two again, beating Ayesha Horley 6-1, 6-0 and then teaming up with Morrow to take out the mixed 6-2, 6-0. McRae went down to Mitchell Sizemore in a third set tiebreaker 5-7, 0-6, 10-5.
On Sunday, Tasman won three of the four doubles to come back and beat Canterbury Country by one set after matches were tied at 6-6.
Otway was again in top form, downing Tessa Mccann 7-6, 6-0 then taking out her mixed with Zac Lyttle 6-4, 6-4.
Morrow claimed a vital win in the singles, beating Rhys Cromie 6-2, 6-3, and then combined with Simon Phillips in the top doubles to clinch the win over Country and finish the weekend on a high, the pair winning 7-6, 6-0.
The big question on everyone’s lips as the top four premier netball teams approach tonight’s semi finals is, “how do you stop Tokomaru?”.
The Picton-based club have set the pace since the outset of this COVID-abbreviated season and the ease with which they disposed of one of their main rivals last week at Stadium 2000 suggests the answer to the previous question has not yet been found.
With the four semi finalists confirmed last week, Tuesday’s games were just about pride and momentum leading into play-off time.
While Toko obviously have plenty of both, judging by their 57-35 win over Harlequins, SMOG, their rivals in next Tuesday’s semi, lost impetus, going down 57-55 to the vastly-improved Marlborough Girls’ College outfit.
The night’s third match saw a brave effort from Awatere come up short as they went down to Pelorus 54-41 after dominating the early stages.
Pelorus will meet Harlequins in the other semi final, the fact the sides are tied on points after two rounds indicating the expected closeness of this match-up.
The Quins will go away and regroup after last week’s effort and, as they invariably do, come back stronger next week.
They struggled to restrict Toko’s scoring, losing both the first and second quarters by seven goals as the Picton side put up 37 shots to Quins’ 21.
Despite regular goal attack Gemma Hika sitting this one out, Toko were well-served in the shooting circle by Dana Wilson and the formidable Haze Tepuia, with 91 percent shooting.
Defensively they continue to impress, Eden Te Huki, Chloe Devir and Michaela Boaz part of a line-up that went unchanged for the whole match.
Defender Katie Cunningham impressed as a second half sub for Quins, Stacey Hopkins shot accurately and Simone Pedersen showed her full range of skills with handy stints at both wing attack and goal attack.
The match of the evening was undoubtedly the first encounter, which went right down to the wire.
The students signed off their 2020 season with an exclamation mark, hanging tough to get the result despite a late SMOG comeback.
In this game of swings and roundabouts each side enjoyed periods of dominance, MGC holding a seven-goal lead at one stage in the third quarter.
However, that was reduced to two by the time the final stanza began and, with defence dominating proceedings, each goal became crucial as time ticked by. With possession evenly shared SMOG went on a run to edge ahead by one with six minutes remaining, but the students were not to be denied, shooter Taila Town landing a couple of crucial goals to get the job done.
Their defensive pairing of Taryn Breen and skipper Mya Wiapo was again outstanding, along with middie Anika Moetaua and the returning Fiaalii Solomona.
SMOG have a major hurdle in front of them if they are to tip over Toko, but have the big-match experience to do just that, in the shape of defenders Bonnie Morris and Karli Murphy, Katie Bradley and Anna Thomas, plus reliable shooters Kate Gaudin and Anna Gardiner.
Awatere began their final match of the season as if they had a train to catch, leading 17-7 early in the second quarter. However, Pelorus introduced key shooter Paige Lovell at that stage and the game changed. Lovell landed 13 goals as the Tussocks’ intensity waned, bringing her side right back into a game that seemed to be slipping away.
By halftime Awatere led 24-23, but that was as close as they got thereafter, a 17-4 third quarter firmly shutting the gate on their hopes of a final night upset, although they fought to the finish with a tight fourth quarter.
Lovell was obviously a key figure in this one, her return from injury providing composure and experience under the hoop. Also returning from injury was Awatere “spark plug” Nicole Witterick, the mobile middie lifting her team mates.
Laura Murphy, Kelsie Fitzpatrick and Oriana Houra also shone for Pelorus, while Harriet Ryan, Kim Andrews and Ashley Childs stood out for the Tussocks.
Marlborough Girls’ College NZ King Salmon 57 (Taila Town 27/36, Fiaalii Solomona 30/42) SMOG Good Home 55 (Kate Gaudin 21/26, Anna Gardiner 34/40). Quarter scores (winning team first): 14-18, 14-11, 18-15, 11-11.
The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV got the job done against Roncalli Combined on the college front field on Saturday, but would not be entirely proud of their workmanship.
The South Canterbury-based crew put on a gutsy display, making the home side battle gamely for a 26-5 bonus point victory, although MBC made hard work of it, especially in the first spell.
With several changes to their regular top line-up, the Falcons struggled for continuity and rhythm on attack during the early stages, with the visitors scoring first after 20 minutes.
Five minutes later, MBC No 8 Viliama Napa’a, one of the outstanding figures in the game, burst over from close range, Kyren Taumoefolau converting to give the home side a lead they never relinquished.
A second try to Napa’a, this time a spectacular solo effort from 40m out, widened the home side’s advantage after eight minutes of the second spell, then replacement winger Cooper Roberts, another standout, sliced through to score from a back move.
The introduction of skipper Monu Moli late in the piece lifted the home side and it was the big prop himself who scored MBC’s bonus point try, proving unstoppable from 5m out.
MBC’s loose forward trio of Napa’a, Toby McLeod and William MacKenzie were outstanding, the latter claiming a string of turnovers when the home side were under the pump. Midfielder Jake Pacey and replacement first five Hugh Robinson were others to impress.
Next week MBC play their final round robin game, also at home, against Mid Canterbury Combined.
MBC lie in 11th position on the ladder, aiming for a win next week to push them up to ninth or 10th and a home fixture in the ensuing play-offs.
Central Wolves had to call on all their skill and experience to claim Marlborough football’s Knockout Cup at A and P Park on Saturday.
They fought their way to a 2-1 victory in the final, taking three quarters of the match to get the better of gritty clubmates Central Buccaneers, who led 1-0 at half time.
With a steady breeze at the backs Buccaneers struck against the run of play after 10 minutes. The ball fell to the feet of striker Thom Hall who calmly sent it into the top corner of Wolves’ net from 25m out.
Registering an early lead seemed to lift confidence among the Buccaneers, who frustrated their rivals with a series of timely tackles and crucial interceptions, not allowing Wolves to settle.
Winger Shane Evans looked most likely to score for Wolves, three sweetly-hit shots being blocked by keeper Hugh Straker.
As the half wore on both sides created several opportunities to alter the scoreline but, when the halftime whistle blew, Buccaneers continued to hold a single goal advantage.
After the break Wolves, with the wind at their backs, pressed further forward and were rewarded with an equaliser after 15 minutes when Scott Wilkinson pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the box and drilled it home.
Five minutes later they went ahead. A high-bouncing ball in the Buccaneers’ box was inadvertently handled by a defender and Steve McCaa stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.
Although some half chances were created at either end, neither side looked likely to add to their score before the final whistle blew.
The much-improved Buccaneers side can be proud of their efforts. Hall ran hard all day up front and scored a stunning goal, he was well supported by Nate Lovell, Scott Hannan and Ryan Palmer were skilful in midfield while Marina Doncevic, Jake Rounthwaite-West, Jake Arnesen and the uncompromising Jamie Gilbert defended manfully.
The Wolves’ seasoned back four of Paddy Stephens, Andrew McCaa, Nick Rayner and Richie Marsden were also well-organised, restricting Buccaneers to a minimum of scoring opportunities. Keeper Amon McGregor made a couple of handy saves while directing his troops constantly from the back.
Matt Stretch, Wilkinson, Jono McCormick, Sam Boyce, Evans and Steve McCaa all played their part in midfield and up front, holding the ball up cleverly when required and producing probing passes on occasion.
The scoreline probably represented the flow of the match, Wolves having the lion’s share of possession, and taking their two chances well, but being unable to completely shake off a feisty opponent who battled to the very end.
Wolves’ spokesman Jono McCormick said his side “made a slow start, but persevered after going down 1-0 early”.
“We looked to our bench early and that made a difference, while Scotty Wilkinson’s hard running was a factor, keeping the boys’ heads up, along with our strong backline.
“It has been a good season. We incorporated players from two teams [to make the Wolves side] and once we learned to play together it all began to fall into place.”
Score: Central Wolves 2 (Scott Wilkinson, Steve McCaa – pen) Central Buccaneers 1 (Thom Hall). HT: 1-0 Buccaneers.
KO Shield – Rangers Masters 5 Trojans Spartans 2.
KO Bowl – Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 4 Rangers Development 1.
KO Plate – Picton Crow Tavern.
Meanwhile, also at A and P Park, the top two sides in the Nelson division one women’s league turned on a thrilling encounter.
BV Bullets hosted Richmond Foxes, runaway league leaders, and although the visitors prevailed 2-0, the home side made them work throughout for their victory.
BV produced some superb passages of passing and creative flair, which went unrewarded throughout the first half and were unfortunate to concede just before the break.
Foxes took a shot at goal which keeper Taz Gilbert initially saved, but she was injured in the process and, when the ball came loose, Foxes’ Jenny Harvey slipped it over the line.
Bullets had their chance early in the second stanza, a flying shot from Lauren Sloan whistling past the mouth of goal, followed soon after by a strike from Tiana Williams which flew just wide of the mark.
However, Foxes fired back and a beautifully-weighted shot from Annie Brown nestled in the net to make it 2-0.
Undeterred, Bullets continued to attack, Tess Hyland and Destiny Aires going close as both sides showed 100 percent commitment and physicality.
BV coach Ian Thomas said, “we played a better passing game, a better strategic game, but were unfortunately unrewarded.”
He singled out Erin Mustey at the back, Aires on the left wing and Eliza Bickerton for special mention.
Despite the loss BV remain the highest scoring team in the division – with 62 goals under their belt, and three games still to play.
At Athletic Park on Saturday Rangers AFC continued on their merry way in the Nelson division one men’s league.
The unbeaten leaders registered a 4-1 win over Nelson Suburbs, scoring twice in each half.
Carl Connor-McClean got both first half goals, the second from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box.
The visitors clawed one back against the run of play just before halftime and could have had a second but for a good save from keeper Dan Diamond.
With the wind at their backs in the second spell Rangers pressed forward and were rewarded with goals to Tana Connor-McClean and Martin Delgado, who scored with his first touch after coming off the bench.
Youngsters Josh and Liam Clamp made their first team debut late in the match.
Next up for Rangers is a trip to Nelson next weekend for a meeting with Tahuna, knowing a win can wrap up the league title with two games remaining.
Both Marlborough college hockey teams at last week’s South Island championship tournament in Nelson went undefeated, but only one was able to claim overall victory.
The Marlborough Boys’ College First XI took out top place in the boys grade, while the Marlborough Girls’ College crew, who put together a string of draws, ended up fifth, despite never losing a game.
MBC beat Timaru Boys’ High School 3-0 in Wednesday’s final.
They scored a goal in each of the first three quarters, top scorer Wade Sweeting opening their account, followed by goals to Sam Hamilton and Logan Lowther.
Coach Grant McMillan said MBC came out stronger in the decider and applied consistent pressure throughout the first quarter to lead 1-0.
“The second quarter saw our defence tested but the boys managed to hold strong and score again against the run of play to be up 2-0 at half time.
“The second half was hard-fought with the boys providing another goal through Logan to go 3-0 up and seal the victory with a full team performance being the hallmark of a solid final. Really exciting stuff for the boys!”
MBC were unbeaten over the three days, scoring 26 goals and conceding just one. Sweeting ended with 14 goals for the tournament, eight clear of the second-top scorer.
They beat Timaru 3-0 and Garin College 8-0 on Monday, Nayland 5-1 and Garin 7-0 (semifinal) on Tuesday before contesting the final.
The MBC team comprised: Patrick Neal (c), Wade Sweeting, Gus Varney, Jack Unwin, Logan Lowther, Sam Hamilton, Issac Brydon, Liam O’Connell, Luke Adams, Hugh Pearce, Lachlan Mackie, Declan Phibbs, Thomas Van Asch, Leighton le Sueur, Sean Moran.
Meanwhile the MGC side had an exciting finish to an undefeated week of hockey, beating Nayland College in a penalty shootout to bag fifth place.
Coach Amber Boyce said “the girls played their best game of the tournament on the final day, delivering a faster pace and cleaner style of hockey.
“Defence was clinical as the girls shut down the opposition’s key player. It was a really strong performance with all players stepping up.”
The game ended 0-0, with a penalty shootout ensuing.
Boyce said goalkeeper Mya Gane had prepared well after the shootout experience at last year’s tournament and dominated, saving three of Nayland’s five shots.
Charlotte Westend and Sophie Rowbottom scored for MGC to level the scores at 2-2, creating a sudden-death situation, before Gane made another save then Westend drew the keeper and slotted the winning goal.
Earlier MGC had drawn 0-0 with Christchurch GHS and Villa Maria, then 1-1 with Nayland, before downing Middleton Grange 4-0 in the play-offs leading into the thrilling final.
MGC could consider themselves unlucky not to finish higher, especially with Christchurch GHS, who they drew with, going on to reach the final, where they lost in a penalty shootout to Cashmere.
The MGC team: Mia Armstrong, Grace Calder, Hannah Chapman, Riley Foote, Mya Gane, Nikita Gapper, Georgia Green, Delyth James-Sitters, Lulu Judge, Georgia Marfell, Eleanhor O’Connell, Sophie Rowbottom, Aaliyah Watene, Holly Watts, Charlotte Westend, Sam Williams.