Early fright spurs Wanderers
Wanderers announced themselves in emphatic style with a 10-try romp to join Waimea Old Boys as the only remaining unbeaten teams after two rounds of the Car Company Nelson Bays club rugby competition.
Wing Kerehama Barnett scored four tries as Taylors Contracting Wanderers overwhelmed Stoke 65-13 at Brightwater on Saturday while Star and Garter Waimea staged another late recovery to beat Kahurangi 17-14 at Motueka. Meanwhile at Neale Park, halfback Shaun Begg and wing Lote Saulekaleka each scored two tries as Wakatu Hotel Marist eventually over-ran Galbraith Group Nelson 36-24.
Wanderers 65 Stoke 13
There was a sense of stunned disbelief when an early try helped Stoke to a 13-3 lead just 10 minutes into their Brightwater contest.
Wing Chris Little executed perfectly with a chip and chase, first five-eighth Kahu Tamatea adding the extras, to help Stoke to their 13-3 buffer. Then Wanderers kicked in, their forwards providing the anticipated platform from which their backs eventually cut loose to bury Stoke in a 10-try blitz.
Barrett was the main beneficiary of their expansive approach, his four tries also the product of an increased workrate by the pacy young wing. Fullback Riley Johnston and exciting new flanker Tone Ng Shiu each scored twice, while threequarter Fletcher Matthews and prop Mike Lattin also added tries as Stoke struggled for counters against Wanderers' relentless approach.
Wanderers quickly overcame the shock of their early deficit to build a 34-13 lead by halftime and despite the mounting scoreline, Wanderers managed to maintain their structure as they stuck confidently to their attacking approach.
Wanderers' forwards showed a marked improvement in their intensity at the breakdowns from the previous week's narrow win over Marist, their dominance at the set piece also fuelling the team's up-tempo approach.
Hooker Tyler Kearns and Ng Shiu impressed in a solid forward effort, although Stoke hooker Dylan Phillips was a notable performer in a well-beaten Stoke team.
Marist 36 Nelson 24
Marist revealed a good measure of their attacking potential after outscoring Nelson by six tries to three at Neale Park.
The score was tied at 19-all at the break after Nelson had taken an early 10-0 lead. But three second-half tries gradually saw Marist distance themselves at 36-19 before a try to Nelson prop Christian Tupuola in the dying moments offered the home team some muted consolation.
The teams had appeared evenly matched up front for much of the contest, with Nelson's effective scrum helping them to establish some sort of meaningful set phase presence. It was a different story out wide, though, where powerful centre Devon Scott became the focal point for a confident Marist attack that gradually began to unlock a pressured Nelson defensive screen.
Scott frequently used his upper body strength to bump off defenders which combined with his incisive running, helped to create second-half tries for Saulekaleka and No 8 Liam Boshoff.
An impressive 70m sideline-hugging try by fullback Ben Tyler and an intercept by James Lash had helped push Nelson out to 10-0 after just 14 minutes. Marist were quickly back in contention through tries to halfback Begg, off a punishing break by flanker Dan Hytongue, and to hooker Nathan Baxter, with a third try to Saulekaleka, to three penalty successes by Lash, locking the scores up at the break.
Scott, Saulekaleka, wing Seta Sauira and fullback Latham Jones combined confidently on the counterattack to kickstart Marist's second-half surge, Saulekaleka also showing excellent aerial skills to set up Begg's second try. Begg's organisational skills were a key part of Marist's effort as Hytongue, Boshoff and lock Peter Brown impressed up front.
Blackadder, lock Dan Climo and Tupuola were industrious in Nelson's pack while Tyler again looked threatening from fullback.
WOB 17 Kahurangi 14
There was little to separate Waimea and Kahurangi at Rugby Park Motueka where Waimea repeated their previous week's fightback against Nelson to eventually edge past the home team over the final quarter.
Kahurangi scored all their points during the first half as they took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break. New wing Stein Schrieber and centre Hana Corbett-Burrows scored Kahurangi's tries, Mike Wells adding both conversions, with Ben Jeffrey scoring for Waimea as part of a commanding individual performance by the midfielder.
Although Kahurangi continued to create opportunities after the restart, poor option-taking and a lack of communication ruined any prospect of them adding to their scoreline. Instead it was Waimea who maintained their composure to provide all the second-half scoring, No 10 Sam Johnson adding a penalty before a late converted try to new flanker Pete Samu secured them a desperate win.
Both teams struggled to penetrate tight opposing defensive screens in a game lacking any fluency or continuity. Still, as they'd done the previous week, Waimea found the necessary impetus at the death to secure their second consecutive win.
Hurricanes utility Marty Banks made an appearance for his Waimea team, used at both No 10 and fullback and contributing a conversion, although Jeffrey's strong ball-carries and solid defence made him the focal point of Waimea's backline effort.
Lock and captain Ben Coman had another strong game as part of a cohesive Waimea forward effort.
Kahurangi No 8 Ziggy Tu'ua proved a handful for Waimea's defence with several damaging runs, while halfback Brenton Krammer also impressed.