Big wins help Wyndham and Bluff stretch lead

JOHN LANGFORD
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2014

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Wyndham and Bluff extended their lead at the top of Southland's division one club rugby points table.

Wyndham racked up a 76-7 win at Mossburn, while Bluff accounted for Drummond Limehills Star 49-10.

DLS were well in the game midway through the first half trailing 12-10 but after 40 minutes the locals had stretched it out to 22-10. Bluff had the wind at their backs in the second half and coasted to victory.

Bluff scored nine tries with blindside Jake Key and first five Matt Luafutu to the fore.

Wyndham led by 43 at halftime, and met little resistance in the second half against a team lacking player depth.

Wyndham manager Lyndon Dynes was loathe to roll out the cliche but said the scoreline didn't reflect the match. It was a 15-man effort with the backs scoring the bulk of the tries. Lock Michael Luxmore and dual try-scoring No 8 Faster Given impressed, as did teenage debutant Cameron Diack at halfback.

Mossburn halfback Hayden Ross and the lock Ben May did his best playing at centre. The Stags did score a converted try after the break but that would have been of little consolation, especially after they heard the result down the road at Nightcaps.

Ohai-Nightcaps failed to consolidate their place in the top eight on the points table with a win over Pioneer. Instead it was the underdog visitors who backed up their last round win with an important 20-15 victory.

Pioneer coach Gavin Hickey labelled the result as "another step in the right direction" and a very pleasing result not only for the team but also himself and his assistant Shaun Eckhaurt, who hadn't been able to beat the miners in the previous five years as players and coaches at Pioneer.

The Ohai Nightcaps forwards kept the ball close, Pioneer defended that tactic and were able to pounce when the locals ran out of ideas.

Pioneer have up to 40 players at training on a Thursday night, and this excellent club spirit was emphasised on Saturday through prop Trent Withers who played a full game for the Senior C side and then the last 50 minutes of the main event and managed to produce a man of the match performance.

Try-scoring wing Kent McKenzie made some very good breaks and young flanker Daniel Westhuizen was the spearhead of a very good defensive effort.

Tokanui gained their second win of the season when Mataura came to town. The win was no surprise but the 34-14 scoreline raised a few eyebrows. Mataura coach Doug Clark said "the Tokanui set-piece was too good, our scrum went backwards and we were cleaned out of the lineouts".

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Tokanui openside Rabbage had a field day and first five Chris Dermody steered the well-disciplined ship around the park.

Mataura played with an improved purpose this week, with Jodie Heaps their standout player in the halves.

Riversdale also earned maximum points at home against Waikiwi 35-7.

Riversdale coach Garth Lindsay was pleased with his forwards performance, saying they were dominant in the scrums until "golden oldies" laws were required in the final quarter.

Prop Hayden Blatch and lock Logan McKee excelled in the tight, while Matt Collins had a strong match at second five. The experienced Ben Sanson provided quality leadership from fullback.

Lindsay said he was impressed with Waikiwi's grit on defence, even when they were well out of the game.

Te Anau bounced back to form on their home turf with a 39-22 win over Waikaka. The locals had done some serious soul searching after their beating at Wyndham and came out with an attitude that is expected from a title contender.

The return of hooker Brad Foote was of immense value to the cause. The tight five dominated which allowed dual tryscorer Kane Templer and his fellow loosies Grant Taylor and Ray Hemi to show their best.

Waikaka coach Peter McIntosh said his boys were slow out of the blocks and missed a few tackles.

Waikaka competed at the lineout but were under pressure at scrum time.

The most valuable for the visitors was first five Scott Davidson, and Hamish Napier and Joel Rees also played well.

Pioneer 20 (B Faulkner, K McKenzie tries. Kieran Lloyd 2 pen, 2 con), Ohai-Nightcaps 15 (W Broughton 2 tries, D Low pen, con). Riversdale 35 (M Collins 2, H Blatch, C McIntyre, R Blatch, B Sanson tries, S Weller con, pen), Waikiwi 7 (try, con). Bluff 49 (unavailable), DLS 10 (unavailable). Wyndham 76 (P Norman 3, F Given 2, C Thompson 2, M Marr, C Diack, A Howe, G Tree tries, J Smith try, 8 con), Mossburn 7 (Try, con). Te Anau 39 (K Templer 2, K Wairere, G Taylor, C Gray tries, N Serulele 4 con, 2 pen), Waikaka 22 (N Blonk 2, C Ralton tries, S Davidson 2 con, pen). Tokanui 34 (unavailable), Mataura 14 (C Birse, T Crown tries, 2 con). 

- The Southland Times

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