Nelson suffer first loss despite claiming Moller Cup for first round honours
Wanderers have finally ended Nelson's unbeaten run in this season's Nelson Bays premier club rugby competition with a tight 28-23 win at Neale Park on Monday.
It made no difference to Nelson's Moller Cup entitlement, having already secured the trophy following Friday's win over Marist. However, their losing bonus point was enough to keep them a point clear of Waimea Old Boys in the final standings.
Nelson had looked likely for the first half hour of the Monday's contest after a try to midfielder Nick Foxley, backed up by a solid defensive effort, had them ahead 13-3 heading into the break.
But after idling through much of the half, Wanderers eventually ignited the spark as line breaks by flanker Steve Soper and No 10 Jesse Pitman each side of halftime produced tries to flanker Jacobus De Kock and winger Sebastian Cauqueous respectively for a 15-13 Wanderers lead.
Wanderers dominated both possession and territory for much of the second half as their forwards took control.
Having dominated Marist at scrum time in their previous outing, it was Nelson's turn to feel the heat against a cohesive Wanderers pack and when bullocking No 8 Gus Gibbens crossed midway through the half, Wanderers appeared well in control at 22-13.
Nelson fought back through a try to winger Kim Bateman and with Pitman and Willy Havili trading late penalties, Nelson were at least able to snatch a valuable bonus point.
WOB 38 STOKE 33
Flanker Dan Hytongue highlighted a productive day for Waimea Old Boys' loose forwards after they contributed all five tries in their team's five-point win over Stoke at Nayland College.
Hytongue finished with a hat-trick, scoring all three second half tries in an impressive individual display after tries to blindside flanker Jeremy Lordan and No 8 Chris Mason had helped Waimea to their 17-15 halftime lead.
It was another harrowing result for Stoke, their fourth narrow loss in five matches, fullback Sam Chamberlain scoring virtually on fulltime to help secure two bonus points.
Waimea had the edge in broken play and enjoyed dominance in the scrums although it wasn't until they tightened up in the second half that they began to achieve real momentum, Hytongue particularly benefitting from their effective pick-and-go tactics.
Ben Coman was strong at lock and a catalyst for Waimea's more cohesive second half forward effort.
It was another typically feisty performance by Stoke, prop Tyler Kearns leading a competitive forward effort in which flankers Nick Max and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta also impressed.
Halfback Sam Parkes and exciting centre Tomas Aoaki scored Stoke's first half tries, with Max scoring in the second ahead of Chamberlain's late touchdown.
MARIST 34 KAHURANGI 16
Marist's backs took advantage of their more plentiful attacking opportunities to contribute to a handy 18-point win over Kahurangi at Riwaka.
Starved of any genuine chances in their loss to Nelson, they used their possession and space well to score all five tries, winger Isaac Laga crossing for three of them after they'd led 26-11 at the break.
Fullback Lote Saulekaleka and halfback Cleve Barrell contributed the others, although Marist struggled to generate the same momentum during the second half when they were restricted to just one try and a solitary penalty success to midfielder James Hawkey.
Winger Ben Snowden had scored Kahurangi's first half try, with fullback Stein Schreiber scoring in the second. But Kahurangi couldn't match Marist's allround intensity, with Marist's scrum also showing a significant improvement.
Brothers Te Puoho and Turoa Stephens had strong games in the loose for Marist, while No 8 Manu Parkin and midfielder Kenny Eggers impressed in a losing effort for Kahurangi.
At a glance
Wanderers 28 (Jacobus De Kock, Sebastian Cauqueous, Gus Gibbens tries, Jesse Pitman 2 con, 3 pen) Nelson 23 (Nick Foxley, Kim Bateman tries, Willy Havili 2 con, 3 pen) HT: 10-13.
WOB 38 (Dan Hytongue 3, Jeremy Lordan, Chris Mason tries, Eli Kneepkens 5 con, pen) Stoke 33 (Sam Parkes, Tomas Aoaki, Nick Max, Sam Chamberlain tries, Matt Soper con, 2 pen, Bailey McQuade con, pen) HT: 17-15.
Marist 34 (Isaac Laga 3, Lote Saulekaleka, Cleve Barrell tries, James Hawkey 4 cons, pen) Kahurangi 16 (Ben Snowden, Stein Schreiber tries, Andy Beatson 2 pen) HT: 26-11.
Points: Nelson 20, WOB 19, Marist 14, Wanderers 14, Stoke 6, Kahurangi 4.