A couple of tries, a penalty and resolute defence in wet conditions helped Ellesmere earn a 15-0 win over the Cantabrians to start their Tane Norton Cup campaign on a winning note on Saturday at Springston.
They will now play Canterbury Maori in Kirwee on Saturday, after they beat North Canterbury 21-14 in the other competition game.
Tries to Centre Cameron Hay, and wing James Wilkins proved vital while Ashton Mulloy added a penalty as Ellemere eased past the Cantabrians which was a side made up of Christchurch-based club players.
It was a confidence boost for the new-look team which is preparing for their annual Southbridge Shield game against North Canterbury in a fortnight.
Team manager Michael Sheat, said the wet and muddy conditions made the game “a bit of a dog fight at times” but there were plenty of positives to take away from the game.
“I thought our line out was much improved on the first-up performance and we got some dominance at scrum time too,” he said.
“When you’re faced with conditions like that, it can be easier to play without the ball at times.
“I thought we adjusted well and got our kicking game going and really tried to control territory as much as we could.”
Sheat said the performance was much improved on the loss to Mid Canterbury the previous week and that showed most in the defensive energy.
“Clearly we leaked a few points against Mid Canterbury so for the guys to come together and really tighten things up, especially when they were under pressure at times, was very pleasing.”
Sheat said he expected Canterbury Maori team to be a big forward pack who would look to dominate physically.
“We’ll certainly look at some film during the week to see how they went but I know they have a number of players on the fringes of Canterbury B so they’ll be a tough proposition for us this Saturday.”