CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 7 WRAP
Two-time defending champions Linwood have finished the first round undefeated while 2016-17 runners-up Hornby are just one win back, but both heavyweights were forced to overcome double-digit deficits during Round 7 of the Canterbury Rugby League Massetti Cup.
Halswell Hornets, who were celebrating their Club Day, raced out to a 14-0 lead against the Panthers courtesy of tries to Brad Austin and Josh Rawiri, and three goals to veteran playmaker Sean Scott.
But Hornby rallied with four unanswered tries before halftime to grab a 20-14 lead and closed out their sixth straight victory with the only two tries of the second stanza.
Amanaki Saumaki finished with a double for the Panthers, while Gene and Sean Spooner both found their way across the try-line, and James Baxendale notched a try and four goals.
Papanui also seemed on track for a major boilover before being run down. The Tigers shot out to a 12-0 lead over the Keas and were 18-8 in front at the break, with hooker Cyrus Timo-Latu scoring two tries and three goals.
But the Keas stormed back with 32 unanswered points in the second half to carve out a convincing win and extend their record to 7-0.
Club favourite Matt Sauni bagged two tries, while second-rower Thoren Fidow-Kele marked his premiers debut with a four-pointer in the eight-tries-to-three success.
Aranui Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak with a hard-earned 20-6 win over Riccarton Knights at Crosbie Park.
Winger Diploma Muaimalae and second-rower Sea Muaimalae both finished with doubles as the Eagles converted their tenuous six-point halftime advantage into an important win. Winger Edward Elia scored the Knights’ sole try.
Northern Bulldogs cemented third spot with a 28-4 defeat of Celebration Lions at Murphy Park.
The home side built a 14-4 halftime lead and capped an outstanding defensive display by holding the Lions scoreless after the break.
The Bulldogs ended the first round with an impressive 5-2 record, sitting four points clear of the fourth-placed Hornets.
CRL MASSETTI CUP LADDER: Keas 14, Panthers 12, Bulldogs 10, Hornets 6, Eagles 4, Lions 4, Tigers 4, Knights 2.
CRL CANTERBURY CUP ROUND 8
????Linwood 50-6 Papanui
????Shirley 32-20 Halswell
????Northern 18-10 Celebration
????Riccarton d Aranui by default
LADDER: Keas 12, Bulldogs 10, Panthers 10, Hawks 10, Knights 8, Lions 6, Hornets 6, Eagles 2, Tigers 0.
CRL DIVISION ONE ROUND 8
????Burnham 76-10 Shirley
????Woolston 32-12 Marist Green
????Ashburton 42-4 Marist Gold
????Hornby d Addington by default
LADDER: Chevaliers 14, Barbarians 12, Rams 10, Saints Gold 10, Saints Green 6, Lions 6, Hawks 4, Panthers 2, Magpies withdrawn.
Photo Credit: Dai Roberts