Lincoln University go top
Lincoln University are the new leaders of Christchurch club rugby's first division and should they win next week against Linwood, the Lincoln students will likely secure the Hawkins Cup.
Their superb 45-25 win over High School Old Boys today at Lincoln moved them from third to first as previous leaders Marist Albion were beaten in a nail-biter by Linwood.
Lincoln University led 14-6 after 35 minutes, but went to halftime down 16-14 after Old Boys scored a converted try and a penalty moments before the break.
The Lincoln students went further behind just after halftime, but found another gear in the second half scoring a further five tries - including one to dominant centre Robbie Fruean.
Linwood needed to beat the table-topping Marist-Albion to keep their top six hopes alive.
Two tries in the last 10 minutes gave Linwood a 29-23 lead, but with time up Marist Albion got back to within one with a late try.
However, the match-winning conversion attempt went wide, sending the Linwood players and supporters immediately into celebration mode.
There were three other tight matches; University beat Sydenham 17-15, Christchurch broke an 11-all deadlock with a 70th minute try to beat Shirley 18-11 and Sumner scored in the last two minutes to beat Burnside 18-12.
University, who before last week had won just twice this season, trailed Sydenham 12-0 at halftime and 15-0 shortly after.
But right winger Ben Stuart - celebrating his 50th senior game - scored two second half tries for the students before Hamish Catherwood dotted down late to seal the win.
Sumner and Burnside played out a reasonably dull affair until the final minutes.
With Burnside up by one, Sumner missed an easy penalty with five minutes to play.
That looked to have sealed what would have been only Burnside's third win of the season, but Sumner fullback Marty Swart stepped in.
Be broke two tackles on the right win, danced along the sideline then, amid the desperate Burnside cover defence, got away a perfect ball to Chilean international Pablo Muertez who found Solomona Paraki who happily swan-dived over the line to score the match-winner.
New Brighton moved to within one point of Lincoln University and Marist Albion with their 43-0 drubbing of Belfast.
New Brighton scored six tries in the rout and are one of four teams who are still in the running to win the Hawkins Cup with one round to go.
Lincoln University 45 High School Old Boys 25
University 17 Sydenham 15
Linwood 29 Marist Albion 28
New Brighton 43 Belfast 0
Sumner 18 Burnside 12
Christchurch 18 Shirley 11
Points (after 11 of 12 rounds): Lincoln University 36, Marist Albion 36, New Brighton 35, High School Old Boys 33, Sydenham 30, Linwood 29, Sumner 28, Christchurch 24, University 20, Burnside 16, Shirley 16, Belfast 1.