Tukapa stalwart Jack Cameron’s 200th game celebrations were spoiled by New Plymouth Old Boys as they hung on to win the premier club rugby match 14-12 at Sanders Park on Saturday.
The win kept Old Boys’ unbeaten run going as they grabbed their ninth straight win and opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the table.
Despite the day being largely fine, a strong wind and rain arrived just as the first ball was being kicked.
With the wind blowing at their backs, Old Boys managed to find good field position and put enough pressure on Tukapa for them to lose their discipline.
That saw Codey Rei kick three penalties inside the opening quarter of an hour.
That domination did not last, however.
Tukapa managed to get more possession and looked more threatening, although they did not manage to score.
A nine-point advantage did not feel enough for Old Boys and it certainly did not look that way when Isaia Tuifua and Leighton Price scored relatively early in the second half to give Tukapa the lead.
The home side then enjoyed a decent period of domination although handling errors, loose passes and ill-discipline, especially at the breakdown, meant they could not turn that advantage into points.
They then conceded after Codey Rei regathered a kick with the ball eventually finding hooker Willie McBride who had enough pace to scoot 20-odd metres and score.
Old Boys then reverted to the pick and go close to the ruck to deny Tukapa possession.
When Tukapa did get it they made numerous errors while they failed to get back the lead following two missed penalty attempts.
Overall the match lacked accuracy while some of the option taking was also questionable.
There were some good performances from some individuals but to a man everyone was probably guilty of making an error they simply shouldn’t have.
Elsewhere, Coastal moved up to second on the table win a comfortable 38-14 win over Clifton at Tikorangi.
Clifton coach Brad Cooper said they did not play for enough territory in the first half and paid the price for it.
Behind 24-9, Clifton appeared to have scored a try but it was disallowed when the touch judge ruled a player was out. They then received a costly yellow card with Coastal able to score two tries while Clifton were reduced to 14 men to effectively kill the game off.
Clifton’s senior players were the best for them with Chris Black, Zane Neal and Mark Shaw having strong games.
Coastal coach Aaron Fisher was delighted with the “all-round” performance from the players who he said set the win up with their performance into the wind.
He thought veteran halfback Brett Goodin’s decision making was outstanding, especially in the first half.
Fullback Troy Stevenson impressed after he was a late switch from centre to fullback, blindside flanker Daniel Rae worked really hard while lock Andrew Weaver was prominent in the tight and in open play.
Inglewood made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season after they beat Spotswood United 28-3 at Yarrow Stadium.
The four tries to nil win was built around playing in the right end of the field in tough conditions according to Inglewood co-coach Cole Brown.
He was also pleased with their defence as they gave Spotswood united little time or space to operate.
Inglewood’s best players were first five-eighth Lachlan Bunn and halfback Ben West.
Spotswood United co-coach Rhys Connell was bitterly disappointed with the performance. He said the players did not follow the game plan and made too many mistakes.
Southern bounced back from three straight losses to beat Stratford 37-17 in Hawera.
Playing with a strong wind in the first half, Stratford could only mange to take a 16-13 advantage into the break, no where near where they needed to be.
However, they stuck at it well in the second half and managed to frustrate the home side.
With just seven minutes left it was 16-16 before Southern scored three quick tries to end the match on a high note.
Stratford’s best players were prop Daniel Bishop, hooker Trent Rowlands and openside flanker Matthew Kissick.
Southern’s top three players were halfback Regan Corbett, flanker Trent Pickering and centre Dane Picot van Heuven.
At a glance
NPOB 14 Tukapa 12
Coastal 38 Clifton 14
Southern 37 Stratford 16
Inglewood 28 Spotswood United 3