Rugby: Battle for top spot in senior competition

CRUNCH: Waihora's Samuel Bright, left, and Tyler Koning both grab hold of Prebbleton's George Wigley during Prebbleton's 21-19 win at Tai Tapu Domain. Photo: Karen Casey.

Darfield and Waihora will battle for top spot in the Ellesmere senior rugby competition and the Murray Cooper Shield on Saturday

Darfield got their hands on the shield for the first time in more than 12 years and closed within a point of top spot on the ladder with a 21-17 win over Southbridge on Saturday. Prebbleton also did them a favour by tipping over previously unbeaten Waihora 21-19 at Tai Tapu.

Darfield co-coach Alex Robertson praised his team’s spirit to fight back from two tries down mid-way through the match against Southbridge and seal the game late. “I feel like we are starting to peak at the right time,” Robertson said. “We’ve had some issues with bone injuries this year which had harmed our rhythm as a team in the earlier rounds,” he said.

Waihora lost their first game since round one of the combined country competition which they ended up winning.

Will Hurst scored three tries for Waihora but it wasn’t enough as his team conceded a late penalty which Mitchell Laughton kicked. Waihora’s Harry Kirk missed a shot at goal from the sidelines in the last play of the game.

The win firmly entrenched Prebbleton in the top four.

Fifth-placed Springston kept their slim semi-final chances alive by scrambling past West Melton 24-19.

Lincoln had no trouble dealing with Rolleston 39-15 and Burnham Dunsandel Irwell were too strong for winless Hornby 52-19.

Southbridge can go a long way to securing a semi-final spot if they can beat Springston on Saturday and extend their four-point advantage on the competition ladder. Lincoln will host Prebbleton, Rolleston will welcome BDI, and West Melton will play Hornby in a battle of the cellar-dwellers.

Results: Darfield 21, Southbridge 17; Prebbleton 21, Waihora 19; Lincoln 39, Rolleston 15; Springston 24, West Melton 19; BDI 52, Hornby 19.

Points: Waihora 34, Darfield 33, Prebbleton 28, Southbridge 27, Springston 23, BDI 22, Lincoln 22, Rolleston 9, West Melton 4, Hornby 1

CLEAN BREAK: Prebbleton’s Mitchell Laughton finds a gap with Waihora’s Mark Maitland close behind. Photo: Karen Casey.

HARD YARDS: Prebbleton’s Maake Pousini pushes through Waihora’s Bailey Clark, left and Harry Kirk. Photo: Karen Casey

TRY TIME: Prebbleton’s Steven Lees-Godwin in the process of scoring a try with Waihora’s Bailey Clark, left and Kess Duyvesteyn unable to stop him. Photo: Karen Casey.

DETERMINED: Prebbleton’s Alex Jenkins has an eye for the gap. Photo: Karen Casey.

TENACITY: Waihora’s Matthew Stone pushes through Prebbleton’s Greg Mitchell, left and Reece Martin. Photo: Karen Casey.

SCRAMBLE: Prebbleton’s Alex Jenkins left and Waihora duo Mark Maitland and Kess Duyvesteyn all have the ball in their sights. Photo: Karen Casey