Hamersley Cup competition at semifinal stage

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 04/07/2014

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The semifinalists have been found in the Hamersley Cup senior rugby championship but who plays who and where will be decided tomorrow.

If games go with form Mackenzie should end up on top and host Celtic in the double playoff between first and second.

Mackenzie, however, probably have the toughest final round-robin game against Temuka but at least they host it at Strathconan Park.

The Magpies have had a roller coaster season but have the ability to pull a big one out.

Celtic should have no problem with Old Boys but even a four-try bonus point won't get them above Mackenzie unlessRams lose.

Waimate and Harlequins are in a closer contest for who hosts the playoff between third and fourth. Waimate have to travel to Pleasant Point and should be far too good for their opponents.

While Mud Dogs led after the first round, the legs have certainly come off their campaign.

Waimate coach Barry Matthews will be chasing the four-try bonus point to ensure Harlequins have to travel south to Manchester Park as they go into the game with a one point buffer.

Should they miss the bonus point that advantage is likely to swing to an in-form Harlequins side who host wooden spooner Geraldine.

If Harlequins and Waimate tie on competition points - they have shared a win apiece in the round-robin - points for and against differential will decide who hosts the game.

Only five points separate them but Harlequins are more than likely to rake up a few more.

In any event Harlequins and Waimate will have the biggest hurdle then having to win three in a row to claim the title.

The winner of the play-off between first and second gets a week off and is straight through to the grand final while the loser faces the winner of the third-fourth sudden death semifinal.

Since double life format has been introduced no side that finished in the playoff for third and fourth have gone on to win the Hamersley Cup but that could change in what has been a topsy turvy season.

The competition has been the closest in years. While front runners Mackenzie have lost only two games, they have also drawn twice against Harlequins.

They lost the opening game of the competition 17-10 to Celtic and then went down 19-7 to Pleasant Point in round four.

Since then coach Justin Geary has had his troops firing and they have not lost, with a strong pack being balanced by a handy backline and depth on the bench.

Second placed Celtic have suffered four losses, the same as Harlequins, while Waimate have lost five, so home advantage could be enough of an advantage to see a side advance.

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- The Timaru Herald

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