Central underlined their division one rugby pedigree at Awarua Park on Saturday afternoon, romping past home side Moutere 54-0.
In gloomy conditions, with constant light rain throughout and the floodlights on, the Blues achieved a commendable level of co-ordination, enabling them to run in eight tries, seven of which were expertly converted by fullback Mitch Smith.
Moutere’s cause was not helped by the fact they were reduced to 14 men midway through the first half when No 8 Peceli Katonawale was sent off for a breakdown infringement.
The Blues, who were without Braden Stewart and Nigel Satherley this week, were on the board early through inspirational hooker Jesse MacDonald. Soon after, Moutere lost hooker Pene Toa to the sin bin for a high tackle and Central scored again, through a clever bit of work from first five Liam Duncan.
That pretty much summed up the afternoon for the Magpies, who battled away but too often turned over possession cheaply and were unable to string lengthy phases together.
By halftime Central had three more tries, the score was 33-0 and the match was effectively over.
However, they kept their foot on the throat during the second spell, a double to centre Timoci Tavatavanawai and a final touchdown by No 8 Matt McCormick against his former club rubbing salt into the wound.
Young loosie Edan Fitzpatrick was outstanding for the Blues, along with halfback Ethan Jones, Duncan, Smith and midfielder Jake Cresswell.
Tristian Taylor, who played in a variety of positions, was Moutere’s best, along with hard-working skipper Luke Scott.
Victory ensured the Blues remain unbeaten for the season, and retain the Weekly Challenge Cup which they claimed from Renwick last week.
Meanwhile, in Picton, the home side rebounded from their loss to Moutere a fortnight ago to tip over Renwick 32-20 at Endeavour Park.
The match was a see-sawing affair, the return of experienced Mako utility back Tim O’Malley and player/coach Jimmy Giles at No 8 making a difference in the latter stages when Waitohi assumed control.
The home side held a narrow 10-8 advantage at the break and picked up a further three second half tries to claim a bonus point, while Renwick relied on the trusty boot of fullback Michael Dillon, who landed five penalties to keep them in touch as the match see-sawed throughout.
Giles said the difference was that his side won a few of the key moments in the latter stages.
“It was tit-for-tat, in the end a few turnovers made the difference,” he suggested.
“The last couple of weeks have been below our best work … this time we played for each other, became brothers again.”
Waitohi’s player of the day was lock Dylan Burns, who bagged two of their tries.
Giles had praise for their young front rowers Saka Kavila and Luke Bergman who anchored a capable scrum in the absence of the experienced Manu Mataele and Losi Malimali.
Taine Cragg-Love, Mote Malimali, Karlos Tautari, fullback Gannon Karena and first five Dylan McManaway also made big impacts.
For Renwick No 8 Kurt Schollum had a strong game on both attack and defence, halfback Ruairidh Swan cleared the ball well and kicked intelligently while Dillon had another top outing at the back.
Division one scores:
Central 54 (Jesse MacDonald 3, Timoci Tavatavanawai 2, Matt McCormick, Jake Cresswell, Liam Duncan tries, Mitch Smith 7 con) Moutere 0. HT: 33-0.
Waitohi 32 (Dylan Burns 2, Gannon Karena, Taimi Fangatua tries,Tim O’Malley 3 con, 2 pen) Renwick 20 (Alex Barnsley try, Michael Dillon 5 pen). HT: 10-8 Waitohi
Meanwhile, the Marlborough division two competition began on Saturday. MBC Old Boys opened the competition with a 12-0 win over Moutere at Awarua Park, Awatere prevailed 32-5 over Renwick at the Renwick Domain and Central beat Pelorus 57-7 in Havelock.
In the Tasman women’s division one competition Moutere went down 77-20 to Riwaka, while Central were beaten 87-10 by reigning champions Waimea Old Boys.