Burnside well placed for trophy battle
Burnside moved to the top of the Christchurch club rugby competition on Saturday as teams that will take part in the trophy, plate and bowl firmed with one round of section play remaining.
Burnside, University and High School Old Boys are virtually assured of a spot in the Hawkins Trophy (top four), while Marist-Albion and Sydenham are tied for fourth.
And the DCL Shield changed hands again - for the fifth week in a row.
Burnside 32 Marist-Albion 20
Burnside raced to a four-try bonus point in the first half against Marist-Albion at South Hagley and led 27-15 at the break.
Mike Davies scored twice for Burnside while Rowan O'Gorman matched that feat for MA, but the hosts were unable to climb back into the match after Burnside proved too good in the first spell and deserved their 32-20 win. The loss leaves MA needing an away win against University next week, at Ilam, if they are to make the top four.
HSOB 20 New Brighton 15 New Brighton always seem to lift for a clash with Old Boys and Saturday was no different. Their battling forward pack held their own against Old Boys and they were much improved in their 20-15 loss.
With 10 minutes to go, New Brighton led 15-13 in a physical match that boiled over on numerous occasions before HSOB wing Robbie Thompson scored his second try, the match winner. Mark Jackman moved in to first-five and scored the other 10 points with his boot.
Sydenham 21 University 18 University stole the DCL Shield off Sydenham in round seven, so Sydenham happily grabbed it back on Saturday with a 21-18 win at Sydenham Park.
More importantly for Sydenham, the win, their first in section play, gives them a handy chance of making the top-four and keeps their trophy chances alive. They play New Brighton next weekend and a big win should be enough to sneak through.
For Uni, it was their first loss of the post-season, but three wins in a row means they were already guaranteed a final spot.
Codie Taylor was outstanding for Sydenham as was hard- working lock Mark Crofts.
Sydenham led 8-3 at the break, but scored 10 quick points in the second half. Uni scored through skipper Jimmy Lentjes, but after Tyler Bleyendaal and Jamie Verran exchanged penalties, Sydenham still led by 10 with time almost up.
Powerful wing Patrick Osbourne scored in injury time for Uni, earning the students a bonus point.
The top two spots in section two are now sorted and Linwood and Christchurch will meet New Brighton and one other side in the plate regardless of what happens this weekend.
Linwood beat Sumner 36-26 at Linfield Park on Saturday, while Christchurch pipped Lincoln University 16-13 at Christchurch Park.
Shirley beat Belfast 22-18 in the other game, at Rugby Park, but stay in the bottom four and compete for the bowl.