Inglewood draw with last-gasp try
A last-minute try to Inglewood wing Ben Leng helped his side leave New Plymouth with a share of the points after the premier match against Spotswood United ended in an 11-11 draw yesterday afternoon.
That result, combined with several other interesting scorelines, means there are now just three points separating the top six sides.
Three teams - New Plymouth Old Boys, Coastal and Tukapa - are now on top of the table with 18 points, Inglewood and Clifton share fourth with 17 points, while Spotswood United drop from fourth to sixth with 15.
Yesterday's match, which completed the schedule that started on Friday, was almost a carbon copy of the low-scoring, high intensity first round game that Inglewood won.
It looked like the reverse result would play out under the sun at Yarrow Stadium until Inglewood first five-eighth Cody Hall got a pass away to Leng, who dived in at the corner to draw the side level.
After some consultation with the officials, they awarded the try and Hall lined up the conversion, which just missed.
The match had some distinctive periods.
Inglewood dominated the first half hour but struggled to score, before Spotswood United dominated the same period in the second half and came away with a try to impressive wing David Philander.
Although the defence was admirable, the teams struggled to unlock the opposition systems because they played so direct.
A change in style might change the result if they meet again in the playoffs.
At this stage, though, picking a top four is difficult.
Elsewhere, Coastal edged out Southern 26-23 on a cold Friday night at Rahotu.
Coastal seemed to have the game under reasonable control until halfback Brett Goodin was yellow carded after his side had been warned about constant infringing.
Like the week before, when they conceded two tries to Inglewood with a man in the bin, they let in two as Southern roared back in search of saving their season.
This time Coastal managed to hold on and cement their spot in the top four.
Coastal coach Joe Lawn said Rick McKenna had another good game at fullback, while wing Brooke Gray did well in his first start.
Lock Jeremy Newell was the best of the Coastal forwards.
Clifton kept their top four hopes well and truly alive with a late try in their 20-18 win over New Plymouth Old Boys at Tikorangi on Saturday.
Clifton trailed 15-12 at the break and looked destined to lose until hooker Abe Haira scored in the 39th minute from an attacking lineout.
It was a brave decision from Clifton to go for the corner after they were awarded a penalty because they could have just taken a shot at goal to level the game up.
Clifton coach Ian Snook said prop Zane Neill and first five-eighth Marty McKenzie had top games, although he was loathe to single out anyone because it was a real team effort.
Old Boys co-coach Tony Earl thought his side would have won had they managed to make more of their opportunities.
He was also annoyed at how many turnovers they managed when they were dominating territory and possession.
David Ormrod had another strong game for Old Boys who only twice managed to break down some excellent Clifton defence.
Tukapa won their match against Stratford in a canter, running in nine tries, including a hat-trick to Pomare Samupo, in the 61-12 victory.
Jack Cameron, Jesse McLay and Junior Paparoa all scored doubles as the backs did all the scoring.
Taranaki Daily News