Patumahoe defeat fellow finals contenders Karaka in McNamara Cup
Patumahoe took a big step towards a home semifinal in the Counties Manukau McNamara Cup premier club rugby competition with a vital 24-14 win over Karaka at Karaka Sports Ground on Saturday.
The win lifts second-placed Patumahoe seven points clear of the chasing teams in the battle for a top two spot and what would be an all-important home ground advantage come the sudden-death semifinals.
Coach Jeff Maka was delighted with his second win over neighbours Karaka this season.
"The reason I am happy is this win, away from home against Karaka, is going to help our confidence going forward.
"We had to come to here and front up especially our front eight and I thought we did that."
Pukekohe kept alive their semifinal chances with a 28-7 win over Waiuku although they weren't able to secure a four-try bonus point in the second half.
"We were very dominant in the first half and go what we needed done," assistant coach Mark Price said.
"Waiuku piled a lot of pressure on us in the second half and came back at us. The old cliché of a game of two halves was pretty evident."
Pukekohe has games against Te Kauwhata, Bombay and Onewhero to finish and if they were able to continue their four-game winning streak through the end of the second round they would be right in contention.
Onewhero grabbed a 20-15 win over Manurewa in a frustrating game that saw both sides officially eliminated from semifinal contention.
The home side failed to capitalise on opportunities that left coach Adam Cathcart frustrated after the match.
"We were creating opportunities from the start and weren't taking them. Manurewa scrambled well and then it was a real tussle after that," Cathcart said.
Ardmore had to work hard to get past but did enough to earn the maximum five points and join Karaka in a share of third place on the standings.
Coach Saua Leaupepetele was pleased to get what they needed from the match and to welcome back a couple of key players from injury.
"We had Viliame (Rarasea) and Joe Ikenasio come back from injury and get through half a game, which is really pleasing."
Bombay racked up 13 tries in an 85-13 demolition of Papakura to stay atop the standings and retain the Counties Power Cup.
With no major injuries to come from the encounter and the opportunity to test a few fringe players, it was a very happy coach Jeff Marr.
"We just tweaked the arrangement in our back-line a bit and we all came out of it really well."
In premier 2 action Patumahoe created the upset of the round in knocking over the previously-undefeated Karaka side 21-20. Manurewa, Ardmore Marist, Pukekohe and Bombay all enjoyed wins as well. It means Karaka, Manurewa and Bombay look set for semifinal places while Patumahoe and Ardmore Marist will push fourth-placed Pukekohe all the way.
Maramarua and Weymouth had convincing wins in premier 3 with Counties Manukau Rugby chairman Craig Carter having half a game with Maramarua.
Bombay, Karaka, Pukekohe and Patumahoe had wins in Under 21 action while Ardmore Marist, Karaka and Pukekohe picked up wins in the Under 85kg grade.