Bombay and Karaka win play-off matches to progress to McNamara Cup final
For the third time in four seasons Bombay and Karaka will play for the Counties Manukau premier rugby McNamara Cup at EcoLight Stadium.
Bombay will be hunting a fourth straight championship this Saturday, while Karaka will try once again for their maiden title after the top two sides in round robin play advanced to the decider.
Bombay have dropped only one game – to the fast-finishing Pukekohe side – in the second round and have looked like the team to beat all season. They accounted for Ardmore Marist in convincing fashion with a 32-10 win up the hill at Bombay.
It was a pretty comprehensive display from the defending champions and coach Jeff Marr was pleased with his side's performance.
"We put a lot of pressure on them in the first half and worked hard at our set piece to get on top of them," Marr said.
Bombay should have a full squad to choose from for the title decider despite a few guys being a bit sore after a tough semifinal.
"It was a pretty physical game so there are few little niggles but nothing serious."
Karaka and Patumahoe had already played out two tough, hard-fought games this season with Patumahoe coming out on top on both occasions. But the Jeff Maka-coached side let a home semifinal slip in the final rounds and Karaka leapfrogged them into second place.
There was little between the two sides with a final spot on the line but Karaka took their chances better than Patumahoe did and they advanced with 20-15 win.
Karaka jumped out to an early lead on the back of Scott Allison's boot but the visitors struck back with two superb tries to impressive centre Sam Furniss. Patumahoe defended stoutly in the second half and turned the home side away after a long attacking period but just as the pressure eased Seluini Molia's rampaging second half try from nowhere thrust Karaka into the lead.
Patumahoe couldn't find the match-winner at the end and Karaka held on for the win.
"Probably in the end maybe we took our opportunities and Patty maybe had a couple of others that they didn't," Karaka coach Craig Hill said.
Bombay and Karaka will also contest the Bob Chandler Memorial Premier 2 final in a show of how strong both clubs are at present.
Bombay held off Pukekohe 18-8 in one semifinal while in the other Karaka out-lasted Manurewa 10-7 to advance.
Weymouth put the icing on an incredible unbeaten season as they won the Sid Marshall Shield Premier 3 championship with a 38-17 win over Maramarua at Weymouth Domain.
After dropping out of the Premier 1 division for this season Weymouth has begun their rebuild in perfect fashion – winning every single game this season and holding their nerve in the final.
Patumahoe will play Karaka in the Massey Cup Under 21 final.
Top qualifiers Patumahoe had to work very hard to get over a spirited Ardmore Marist side, who lost a player to a serious leg injury early and then had another player red-carded midway through the first half. Patumahoe rallied and overcame the slow start to pull clear in the second spell and book their spot in the decider.
Karaka proved too strong for Pukekohe in the other semifinal – advancing 29-17.
Just to confirm their strength – Karaka's Under 85kg team also made it through to their final on the back of a 12-8 win over Ardmore Marist.
They will meet top qualifiers Patuamhoe, who battled to beat Drury 11-6 at Patumahoe.
The Daryl Suasua-coached Ardmore Marist side took a stunning 22-17 win over the more-fancied Manurewa women's team in their clash.