Another exciting weekend of Marlborough club rugby

Central player Reyne Volavola tries to break through the Harlequins defense during their game at a soaked Lansdowne Park ...
RICKY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Central player Reyne Volavola tries to break through the Harlequins defense during their game at a soaked Lansdowne Park on Thursday.

COLUMN: Easter is always a busy weekend and it was especially so for Marlborough club rugby players this year as they faced the prospect of two games - one on Thursday night and one on Monday afternoon.

Sadly the Harlequins had to default on Monday against Renwick which is gut wrenching for both clubs and the local union.

While it is a big ask for players to back up four days after a game, and it does put pressure on the depth of teams, the decision to play over Easter wasn't just made by the Tasman Rugby Union by itself.

In November stakeholders from all clubs voted at a club forum to play over Easter.

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Wet weather footy was the equation facing all the teams during the Easter Thursday matches as a fortnight of atrocious weather made its mark on conditions.

I braved the rain to watch the local town derby, and had to rub my eyes a couple of times to make sure I was actually seeing Makos centurion Robbie Malneek in the lighter blue shade of Central after he has played what seems like 1000 games for the Nelson club over the last two decades.

The old dog still looked good and Central ended up running away to win the match comfortably in the second stanza.

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Renwick got a massive result against Moutere - it was just what the doctor ordered for the Green Machine after their last game.

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Waitohi remained unbeaten but found East Coast a real challenge at Car Horn Valley where many other teams haven't survived on a cold and wet night.

Next weekend we swing into NPD matches where Marlborough and Nelson teams start locking horns, which will be interesting to see how the teams stack up.

In the history of the Tasman Trophy it's been Nelson teams who have normally ruled the roost, although Waitohi claimed the title honours a couple of season ago which proves it can be done from this side of the hill.

People often ask me why are Nelson teams are normally stronger than Marlborough teams - it's not an easy question to answer, but one thing is clear that the Marlborough teams have been a lot more motivated to succeed in the Tasman Trophy in recent seasons.

An interesting fact we researched during the week was that in the past three seasons there have been 10 players coming into the district, who have not been junior players in the area and who have ended playing for the Makos.

A lot of people would be surprised that five of those Makos played for Nelson clubs and the other five played for Marlborough clubs, which is a positive statistic.

Another positive thing we do locally in rugby is our Dodson Street Cheers to Volunteers promotion. We are keen on recognising the contribution volunteers make to our sport, so email us at info@makos.co.nz with a volunteer's name and a bit of info about what they do for your club.

Later in the season they could be receiving some Dodson Street Beer Garden vouchers.

- Martyn Vercoe is the Tasman Makos team manager

 - The Marlborough Express

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