The race for the last two semifinal spots in the Hamersley Cup remains on with two rounds left in the senior rugby competition.
Temuka beat Mackenzie 13-11 in a game Mackenzie should have had won by halftime but the Rams could just not hang on to ball when it mattered.
Geraldine put up a gutsy showing against the table-topping Harlequins before going down 21-16 while Waimate were made to work hard by Pleasant Point eventually winning 19-11.
Second-placed Celtic were all over wooden spooners Old Boys, scoring 10 tries, with second five Patolo Tupuola grabbing four, as his side won 58-3.
It means Mackenzie must beat Waimate at Manchester Park this Saturday to have any realistic chance of making the top four and even then the calculators will likely still be in use in the final round to find the final two spots.
At Fairlie Mackenzie started well but fumbled ball within 10m of the Magpies' line cost them on at least three occasions before halftime, which finished 3-all after Mackenzie wing Johnny Whittaker and his opposite Blair Struthers both landed and missed a penalty each.
After the break the forwards became hard to distinguish in what became a mud bath and it was not conducive for running rugby.
The goal kickers both exchanged a further penalty each and the game looked destined for a second draw between the sides until Temuka turned down a penalty and opted for a kick to the corner.
It paid off when halfback Jimmy Mookkaiah snuck over for a try and Struthers slotted the conversion with 10 minutes left.
Mackenzie were not quite done and a good bust down the left from over 50m out saw Whittaker sprint home for the try but he missed the crucial conversion, which he should have landed, to give Temuka the points.
Among Temuka's best were Mookkaiah, who also made a great run early in the second half and cleared some pretty ordinary ball away, and centre Ricky Neame who defended well.
One surprise in the backline was coach Hami Goldsmith at first five with the former loose forward making not a bad fist of it and defending really well.
Both front rows battled well while Temuka's loose forwards got through a heavy workload of tackling especially in the first half.
For Mackenzie No8 Johnny Andrews was outstanding and carried the ball very well.
Harlequins were made to work hard at Geraldine but three converted tries was enough to get them home. Prop Timaru Tafa and No7 Eric Smith scored in the first half while Amini Vakalala dotted down in the second, with Nathan O'Connell converting all three.
For Harlequins Smith was at his best and had a huge game on defence while hooker Alan Akurangi also impressed. Zane Sanders played well at halfback, filling in for the injured Scott Norton.
Geraldine improved after a slow start and did have their chances to grab the win. No6 Quentin Cooper was the best of the pack while Matt Hayes had a strong game in midfield.
No7 Richard Harley created one piece of magic when he had the ball after a "willie away" off the front of the lineout.
Harley then chipped the ball over the fullback at the 22 and regathered to score.
Waimate had improved from the previous week when they visited Pleasant Point and got home 19-11.
Both sides scored a try but off mistakes so there was little constructive about it.
For Waimate centre Matt Hayman impressed and got good support from Miles Medlicott and Simon Proudfoot inside him.
The pick of the forwards were loosies Richard Ford and Dion Glennie, with hooker Peter Little scoring their try.
Luke Brice and Hamish Westgarth played well in the pack for the hosts, with second five-eighth Greg Watson having a handy game, and Josh Craig-Bradley getting the try.
Celtic put in almost the complete team performance against the Blues, showing plenty of self confidence with the backs running straight and hard.
Tupuola was a stand-out with his four tries while Sekope Maea got two playing at fullback.
French wing Maxima Ramiroz impressed showing plenty of pace and good foot-work, and also scored a try.
For Old Boys forwards Tim Penatani and Mike Edmondson worked hard while Brad Leonard was the best of the Blues backs.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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