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Waitohi stage spectacular recovery

Waitohi loose forward Taimi Fangatua races over the Renwick line to score his side’s final try, and his second, during their second half comeback. Photo: Peter Jones.

Waitohi first five eighth Corey Bovey says his decision to opt for a match-winning pot at goal late in his side’s division one rugby thriller against Renwick was made on the spur of the moment.

“The boys were rolling forward and I was thinking we should just keep that going – but then it got a bit static, going left to right, so I decided to have a crack at [a dropped goal] and thankfully it went over.

“I have landed a couple in my time but that was the best of the lot … you can’t beat that really, that’s why you play the game.”

Waitohi consolidated their hold on top spot in the sub-union standings with a 33-32 win at the Renwick Domain, coming home strongly after trailing by 16 points towards the end of the second spell.

Bovey was a key player in the match, guiding his side around the park expertly, plus landing 18 points from the boot.

He was quick to praise the character and ability of his opponents. “Renwick are way better than their position on the table, they played some good rugby out there and are a fit bunch.

“It was tough to come back from [16 points down], we had to dig deep. Week-in, week-out we have got about 16-17 players, and we have shown a lot of ticker … it’s amazing being a part of it, and this [win] probably tops the lot for the year.

“It’s the culture, everyone is held accountable and everyone just loves playing for Waitohi.”

The match was evenly poised at halftime, two tries to Renwick, from Josh Holdaway and Varani Komaisavai, and a Kurt Schollum penalty being balanced by 11 points to Bovey and a Taimi Fangaua touchdown.

Two superb long-range efforts straight after the break, created by elusive outside backs Falaula Fotu-Moala and Zac Harrison-Jones, plus a close-range effort by prop Quinn Harrison-Jones saw the Green Machine in front 32-16 and seemingly out of sight. However, they had not reckoned with Waitohi’s renowned spirit, led by Taine Cragg-Love, Fangatua, Dylan Burns, halfback Sosaia Tokai and prop Duane Aholelei.

Two tries, both converted, saw them trail by two before Bovey’s dropped goal sailed between the posts.

Renwick can be proud of their effort, a vast improvement on their early season performances. Holdaway, the Harrison-Jones brothers, Naisa Taufa and Cody Weir worked tirelessly up front while halfback Jan Hasenlechner, first five Dion Narayan and midfielder Kyle Marfell served an exciting backline well. No 8 Schollum put in some big hits and showed his skills in general play.

Saturday’s other division one match saw Central down Moutere 45-17 at Lansdowne Park.

The Blues dominated for the majority of the match, leading 24-7 at halftime and moving into second place on the standings, leapfrogging East Coast who sat out a bye.

Meanwhile the E’stel Tasman Trophy final, played at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park, was also a close and high-scoring encounter, Marist coming out on top 32-29. The match went into 20 minutes of extra time after being all tied up at 29-29 following 80 minutes of thrust and counter-thrust. Waimea goalkicker Campbell Parata landed a clutch penalty kick on fulltime to send the game into overtime, then a James Hawkey penalty finally sealed the deal for Marist with two minutes left on the clock.

Scores:

Waitohi 33 (Taimi Fangatua 2, Duane Aholelei tries, Corey Bovey 3 pen, 3 con, dropped goal) Renwick 32 (Kyle Marfell, Josh Holdaway, Varani Komaisavai, Zac Harrison-Jones, Quinn Harrison-Jones tries, Kurt Schollum con, pen, Michael Dillon con). HT: 16-15 Waitohi

Central 45 (Peter Vakaloa 2, Braden Stewart, Francis Roebeck, Nigel Satherley, Timoci Tavatavanawai tries, Mitch Smith 6 con, pen) Moutere 17 (Ben Finau 2, Owen Ika tries, Max Freydell con). HT: 24-7.

Tasman Trophy final – Marist 32 (Cleve Barrell 2, Teu Sami, Lote Saulekaleka tries, Sam Briggs 3 con, pen, James Hawkey pen) Waimea Old Boys 29 (Michael Stringer, Mitch Amberger tries, Campbell Parata 3 pen, 2 con).

Nelson 23 Kahurangi 19

Stoke 38 Wanderers 7.

Standings in the Marlborough sub-union competition: Waitohi 34, Central 29, East Coast 25, Renwick 13, Moutere 8.

Next week: Moutere v East Coast at Awarua Park; Central v Renwick at Lansdowne Park.

Women’s rugby

In keeping with a high-scoring weekend, the Moutere women’s team played out a 32-32 draw with Wanderers on Saturday.

Try scorers for Moutere were Alexa Fraser (2), Wairakau Greig (2), Pippa Andrews and Hannah Gillespie, who also landed their side’s only conversion.

In the other Tasman division one match, Waimea Old Boys downed Awatere 50-5.

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