Courtesy Stu Piddington, Timaru Herald
At Waimate the hosts pulled off a nail-biting extra time 25-22 win over Temuka, with a Theo Davidson penalty in the last play of the game.
Had it ended in a draw after extra time Temuka would have advanced courtesy of scoring four tries to three during the game but instead their season is over.
Celtic suffered their first loss of the season at the wrong time going down 22-19 in the Hamersley Cup semi-final. Fortunately for the defending champions they get a second life on Saturday against Waimate, while Harlequins progress straight through to the grand final.
In the bottom four, top seeds Mackenzie managed to get past a plucky Geraldine 22-7 while Pleasant Point upset Old Boys 19-16, to meet in Saturday’s final.
Celtic will be smarting after leading through-out their semi-final at Alpine Energy Stadium until it mattered most.
Likewise Temuka will being wondering how a four try, 22-7 halftime lead evaporated after a brilliant start.
The Magpies flew straight into the game with a try to second five Ricki Neame after a great run from lock Jope Vulolo.
With 15 minutes gone a poor slap back from a Waimate lineout was pounced on by openside Semisi Paseka and Temuka were up 10-0.
Waimate then hit back when blindside Don Lolo scored on the back of some attacking plays and Davidson added the conversion.
Temuka left wing Tenari Saumani then went close after charging down a clearance but the ball just beat him into the in-goal area.
Three minutes later prop Anam Mana went over after Temuka flicked the ball about.
With 10 minutes left Saumani then turned saviour when he defended a penalty five metres from the line with a big tackle to turn the ball over and Waimate lost a golden opportunity to score.
Shortly afterwards Temuka centre Erenimo Tau scored from broken play after a strong run from Saumani busted Waimate open.
Ben King-Gee finally landed a conversion to stretch the lead to 22-7 at the break and Temuka looked the goods after a hectic first half.
After the break Waimate slowly clawed their way back when Davidson landed his first penalty in four attempts.
With 50 minutes gone Waimate centre Jared Matthews went over after lock Lolo had featured twice in the build-up to leave their side in striking distance.
Temuka then looked to climb back into the game again with a strong bust by No.8 Paula Fonokalafi but the support player spilled the ball.
Waimate then put pressure on again and a good run from first-five Kurt Rooney was rewarded with a handy penalty.
Davidson’s attempt hit the upright and bounced back to him but it came to nothing.
With 10 minutes left Waimate turned down a handy penalty in favour of a scrum but it did not pay a dividend.
With the clock winding down it looked like Temuka might hang on but replacement Eafou Tagiaia went over for Waimate and Davidson landed the conversion to tie the game.
Cheered on by a big crowd Waimate went back hot on attack but an attempted drop goal by Rooney was charged down.
Then in the last seconds of regular time Waimate’s big No.8 Loni Toumohuni looked like he was set to score but a superb tackle by Saumani stopped him just short.
Extra time was pretty ugly as both sides were desperate but an infringement right at the end by Temuka offered Davidson a match winning opportunity and he took it.
For Waimate prop Tokoma’ata Fakatava was superb, holding the scrum up and also making several strong runs.
Lolo also proved is worth as a ball carrier while Jamie Engelbrecht was good in the line-outs.
Waimate’s backs had a mixed day but centre Jared Matthews tested Temuka’s defence and fullback Dan Patterson was tidy under pressure.
Replacement left wing Hayden Matthews looked good in the second half with several strong runs.
For Temuka it was hard to fathom just what went wrong.
They needed field position in the second half but spent most of the time defending after a fantastic first 40 minutes.
Saumani on the wing and in the second half at halfback was a stand-out while second-five Neame also had a very good game.
In the pack lock Vulolo impressed, hooker Jacob O’Connor never gave up, while blindside Afioae Maiava had his moments.
Senior Bs Season Over
It proved to be a bridge too far for the Senior Bs as they attempted to defend their trophy from last season losing their sudden death playoff match 6 – 22 after travelling to Timaru to take on Celtic at Alpine Energy Stadium.
A pretty good season for a team that has certainly had a wide group of players for the season as well as regularly supporting the Senior side, so well done in trying to back up, and another great effort in making the top four.