The feature match of Southland's division one club rugby competition on Saturday was at Riversdale, with DLS winning 18-11.
DLS coach Shorty Riordan thought this was the best performance by his team in recent years, their defence and composure was outstanding. Some of the DLS senior players suggested it was the most bruising encounter they had played in.
First-five Aaron Kimura kicked an early goal for Riversdale, before Tony Kincaid scored in the corner to put the visitors in front. Scotty Weller's try at the other end helped the locals to a deserved 11-8 lead after they had earned the majority of field position and possession in the first half.
Willy Lake's penalty locked up the scores soon after the resumption, but Riversdale dominated the next 20 minutes while missing four shots at goal in the process.
The strong DLS defence epitomised by Nathan Milne – who put in some thumping tackles – forced the hosts into punting, which was handled professionally by their back three of Lake, Milne and Kincaid.
After 75 minutes, DLS worked their way into an attacking position and their leading try-scorer, Steve Brunell, added another to his tally. Tom Wylie, Glen Cunningham and Nick Kincaid were three to impress from a good DLS pack. Riversdale struggled to get quick clean ball from the rucks, and Kimura's ball skills were not mirrored by his team-mates at crucial times.
Coach Ant Logan said his team had their chances but choked. Openside flanker Kane McIntyre is improving each week and has a good grasp of the technicalities at the breakdown.
Waiau Star were hammered by 50 points by a Jimmy Cowan-inspired Mataura team at Tulloch Park.
Southlanders were left puzzled over why Cowan never got on the field against the Chiefs on Friday night to replace the out-of-sorts Aaron Smith, but the odd decision was Mataura's gain as the highly motivated Cowan ran their game from first-five.
Mataura led by 19 at the break and kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout the second half. Wing Quinten Mantell scored four tries, and centre Khan Wilson had another good game.
Young Brett Roberts Junior impressed while packing down in the front row with his father on other corner, Junior's brother Heath was absent with the flu.
Waiau Star coach Daggy McCullum said: "We were short on players, but the 19 that were there played like a pack of girls, everything turned to gold for Mataura and everything went wrong for us".
Edendale beat Te Anau 53-6 on club day at Pioneer Park. At times during the first half Te Anau were able to stymie Edendale's progress but the Magpies were able to break free and score four tries before halftime.
In an effort to prove their doubters wrong Edendale never let up with a convincing display in the second half. Te Anau were totally outplayed but they stuck to their task well with openside flanker Darren Jones doing his best on defence.
Veteran prop Duane Milane had a good all-round game that included an eye-catching try, but it was young prop Ziahan Marley and lock Brett Baird who pleased coach John Fodie the most with their 80-minute efforts.
Baird scored his first try for the senior team and another teenager, Bevan Welleans, also dotted down. Centre Vaughan Webber deserved his two tries.
Waikaka continued their resurgence by narrowly beating Waikiwi 22-21 at Rugby Park Stadium.
Waikaka had a clear advantage in the set piece but the townies were dangerous on counter-attack – midfielder Triton Bain scored a long-range try to level the scores 7-7 at halftime.
Waikaka could not shake the red and blacks off in the second half, with Matt Moynahan scoring a good individual try and Brandon Buckley scoring on the other wing to set up an exciting last 10 minutes. The result could have gone either way but there were no complaints from Waikiwi who put in a much improved effort.
Waikaka coach Craig Winsloe thought his teams' good work was nearly undone by some suspect tackling, lock Sam Crowther and try-scoring centre Tom Medlicott were two of the victors best.
Both teams appreciated playing on the perfect conditions at Rugby Park.
Division one DLS 18 (T Kincaid, S Brunell tries; W Lake 2 pen, con), Riversdale 11 (S Weller try; A Kimura 2 pen); Mataura 50 (Q Mantell 4, H Swain, K Wilson, J Cowan tries; Cowan 6 con, pen), Waiau Star 0; Edendale 53 (K Laurence 2, V Webber 2, Z Marley, D Milane, B Wellean, B Baird, S Gutsell tries, B Fodie 3 con), Te Anau 6 (2 pen); Waikaka 22 (R Gutsell, L Egal, T Medlicott tries, D Winsloe 2 con, pen), Waikiwi 21 (T Bain, M Moynhagn, B Buckley tries, A Ronald 3 con).
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