A good win against Celtic by 25 – 14 took the Waimate Senior B team to the top of the table with one round left before the playoffs in a tight contest amongst the top 3.
Waimate 45, Pleasant Point 44, Harlequins 43, Celtic 37, Geraldine 37, Temuka 30, Old Boys 17, Mackenzie 11
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Senior vs Celtic
Celtic and Waimate’s game game had the intensity and drama of a semi-final with the defending champions Celtic edging home 19-16.
That means the top fours are within a bonus point win of each other with Mackenzie on 45, Celtic 43, Waimate 41 and Harlequins 40.
At Alpine Energy Stadium both Waimate and Celtic pack had their moment is an arm wrestle of a first half.
Waimate had the opportunity to go into half time 8-3 but a dropped ball with the line open was very costly and a few minutes later Celtic were in after an impressive drive from the pack from the 22 that saw number 8 Kali Latu score.
Early in the second half Waimate scored one of the tries of the season.
Celtic was penalised for back chat to the referee and halfback Theo Davidson took a quick tap from inside their 22.
Left wing Jade Halkett then made an impressive run bouncing off a couple of would be tacklers in a 50m-plus run.
From the ensuing ruck first five Miles Medlicott saw the Celtic defence was compressed and kicked across to two unmarked players.
Fullback Stephen Macauley had the presence of mind to let the ball bounce and scooped it up to fed his centre Jared Matthews, who cut inside to score.
Davidson conversion had them up 10-8 but only briefly Celtic right wing Jarred Mannex, who had a red card from the previous week reversed, streaked down the touch line to score.
Davidson and Hamish Strachan then exchanged penalties for Celtic to lead 16-13 with 20 minutes left.
Then there was a good piece of rugby from both sides.
Strachan was caught without any support out wide so decided to snap a drop kick but the only defender near him, lock Jamie Engelbrecht saw the danger and managed to charge it down.
Both sides then exchanged penalties again and with 10 minutes left Celtic lead 19-16, setting up a fantastic finish.
Celtic then grabbed a tighthead close to the line and despite a dozen or more charges at the line from close quarters could not get over.
Waimate then tried to breakout with a last gasp quick tap to no avail.
The tense battle proved the semi-finals in a fortnight will be the closest contests in many a season.
For Celtic captain Hamish Strachan played very well in his 100th senior game, while lock Andrew Darling and prop Garrett Casey toiled away never far from the action.For Waimate, their whole pack stood up and were never dominated.
Blindside Simon Bleeker was never far from the action while number 8 Loni Toumohuni was a dangerous ball carrier but his hands let him down on a couple of occasions.
The backs looked dangerous especially when they got the ball wide with Matthews having a strong game, while Medlicott spread on the ball wide well.
U18 beat TBHS 40 – 10, U16s had a bye and U14 lost to TBHS.