Draw just enough for MBC

CLAY WILSON
Last updated 11:35 29/07/2013

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It may not have been the result or performance they were after, but the Marlborough Boys' College First XV still booked their place in the Press Cup semifinals following a 10-all draw with Christ's College in Christchurch yesterday.

The NZ King Salmon MBC side sit second equal in the Crusaders Region Secondary Schools competition top eight with Nelson College who went down 21-16 to Christchurch Boys' High in Christchurch. Nelson hold second on points differential, but MBC can leapfrog them and earn a home semifinal if they beat eighth-placed St Thomas' in Blenheim this weekend and Nelson are unable to topple competition leaders St Bede's in Nelson.

Several of the MBC side were struggling with sickness and that showed as Christ's jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Needing victory to have any chance of making the semifinals, a highly committed home side continued to hold the upper hand as MBC's forward pack and set-piece were not as dominant as usual.

However, centre Zac Harrison-Jones went over in the corner right on halftime and Mitch Smith's sideline conversion made it 10-7 at the break. The only scoring in the second half was a Smith penalty after 15 minutes, once again from wide out.

MBC assistant coach Marty Vercoe said although it was disappointing not to win, a draw was not a bad result given it was not one of their better performances this year.

"We never really got our game going and they played pretty well so we just ground out the two points . . . normally we'd be very disappointed, but on the day we weren't particularly good. We'll take the two points and move on."

Vercoe felt the two-week layoff prior to the match and the sickness affecting some of the squad probably contributed to a below-par showing.

First five-eighth TC Campbell was MBC's man of the match, while fullback Smith impressed. Second five-eighth Adam Smith and replacement lock Josh Sutherland were strong in the second spell.

MBC got through the match relatively unscathed injury-wise, although hooker Abe Rood came off in the second half after taking a knock to the shoulder.

Scorers: MBC 10 (Zac Harrison-Jones try, Mitch Smith con, pen) Christ's College 10. Halftime: 10-7 Christ's. Other Press Cup top eight results: Christchurch Boys' 21 Nelson College 16, St Bede's 29 Ashburton College 7, St Thomas' 15 Roncalli College 10.

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- The Marlborough Express

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