Timaru Boys High School won their fourth match of the secondary school's rugby championship on Saturday, beating Shirley Boys 10-6.
The game promised plenty with the sun shining and strong hakas from each team to start proceedings, but as a spectacle it was not pretty.
Fullback Nathan McCloy scored the only try after a set move which turned out to be the highlight of the match.
Roncalli College also had a home game, taking on Ashburton College as they looked to pick up their second win and get their season back on track. However they could not make anything of their opportunities, losing 24-0.
Both the TBHS and Shirley teams played the match close to the ruck with the ball rarely going wider than two out for most of the game, but Timaru Boys could not gain any momentum as they failed to protect the ball, knocked it on or became isolated by picking and going once too often and turning the ball over.
Shirley were also guilty of losing the ball at the breakdown and it was 20 minutes before either team could made it into the opposition's 22, and Shirley took first points after TBHS conceded a scrum penalty right in front of the posts.
After 23 minutes the Boys' High backs were penalised for being offside at a set piece and Shirley again kicked the penalty to go ahead 6-0.
It was almost against the run of play then when a set move from a scrum saw TBHS fullback McCloy cut back against the drift defence from about 40 metres out, hitting the line hard and straight and busting through two defenders.
He had to show some juggling skills as the ball tried to pop out behind him in the attempted tackle but held on to score a great try under the posts which when converted put TBHS in front 7-6 approaching the half-hour mark.
TBHS lost their No 8 Makatapu Tangitau on the stroke of halftime and he was replaced by Tim Colson, who relished his opportunity of extra game time, putting in one of the best performances of the day for TBHS despite being yellow carded for a team infringement late in the match.
More replacements came about 10 minutes into the second half and with the TBHS defence working well, led in the backs by a solid game from centre Zac Saunders, TBHS were able to shut down the Shirley attack.
Halfway through the second half TBHS were awarded a penalty after a series of pick and goes and James Hawkey duly added the three points from 40m out.
Reduced to 14 men for the final eight minutes TBHS defended stoutly and finally played with some structure and good decision making, putting the ball into space with tactical kicks and importantly playing in the Shirley half as they wound the clock down for a deserved, albeit at times ugly win.
Ashburton College began well against Roncalli scoring after only a few minutes, but for the rest of the half Roncalli showed stout defence with second-five Dan Patterson leading the way. He was well supported by new Fijian centre Willie Taylor playing in his first match for Roncalli.
Down 7-0 at halftime Roncalli were still in the game, but three unanswered tries in the second half to Ashburton put paid to the Roncalli hopes.
Roncalli take on St Bede's in the next round, while TBHS have a bit of a breather before their annual exchange with St Andrews in 10 days time.
- The Timaru Herald