CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 11 WRAP
Northern Bulldogs moved into outright third on the Massetti Cup ladder with a nail-biting Round 11 win, while Linwood Keas and Hornby Panthers solidified their top-two standing, and resurgent Halswell Hornets climbed off the bottom rung.
The Bulldogs overcame a tardy start to outlast desperate Riccarton Knights 22-18 at Murphy Park.
The fifth-placed Knights, hell-bent on bouncing back from the previous week’s crucial loss to the Hornets, raced to a 10-0 halftime lead. But the Bulldogs eradicated the errors from their game after the break to pile on four unanswered tries and build a 12-point advantage.
A slick solo try from veteran playmaker Izic Placid kick-started the Bulldogs’ revival, while gutsy winger Keeghan Woolley appeared to seal the result when he scored after charging down a Knights clearing kick.
But Riccarton refused to lie down, posting two tries to set up a grandstand finish.
The Keas subdued Eastern Eagles 24-8 in a match that was called off 15 minutes early due to a serious injury.
Rangi Thompson scored two of the defending champs’ five tries as they built on a 12-point halftime lead.
Papanui Tigers were subjected to the full extent of Hornby Panthers’ attacking might, going down 80-6 on their home ground.
The Panthers led 36-0 at halftime and ran in another eight tries in the second stanza. Fullback Jordan Coleman, centre Tauvale Tauvale and back-rower Caius Faatili – who also booted four goals – all finished with hat-tricks.
The Hornets leapfrogged the Tigers into seventh spot courtesy of a 28-26 win over Celebration Lions – their third victory in four games after going through the first half of the 2019 season winless.
Halswell led 16-0 at halftime, with Tirikatene Taiuru bagging a double off the bench. But the hosts were forced to withstand a furious Celebration comeback before eventually holding on.
Defending Canterbury Cup champions Northern Bulldogs chalked up their ninth straight win with a 50-0 rout of Riccarton Knights.
Halswell Hornets kept their Canterbury Cup finals hopes alive with a 36-30 win over Celebration Lions, while Shirley Hawks marked their Club Day with a 58-8 thrashing of Hornby Panthers.
Woolston Rams jumped ahead of Ashburton Barbarians in Division One courtesy of a 22-16 away win when the clubs met on Saturday.
Linwood Keas maintained their strong grip on second spot in the CRL Women’s Premiership, accounting for Hornby Panthers 36-18.
Eastern Eagle’s outlasted Celebration Lions 42-30 in the second match of the women’s double-header at Branston Park on Sunday.
CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 11
Northern Bulldogs 22 (Izic Placid, Vinnie Paul, Frank Koroi, Keeghan Woolley tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 3 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 18 (Ken Petelu, Seleni Tagicakibau, Rob Nepia, Gaius Reweti tries; Tele Elia goal) at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 24 (Rangi Thompson 2, Danny Latu, Matthew Sauni, Willie Yeow tries; Daniel Hartley 2 goals) Eastern Eagles 8 (Junior Muaimalae try; Junior Peneli 2 goals) at Linwood Park
Hornby Panthers 80 (Jordan Coleman 3, Tauvale Tauvale 3, Caius Faatili 3, Leo Petelo, Benjamin Heather, Brad Campbell, Jordan Campbell, Corey Lawrie, Rulon Nutira tries; Heather 6, Faatili 4 goals) at Papanui Domain
Halswell Hornets 28 (Nick Evans 2, Tirikatene Taiuru 2, Caleb Scott tries; Dylan Gittings 3, Jahran Katene goals) defeated Celebration Lions 26 (Jope Gaunavou, David Reed, Abraham Fonmoa, Steven Daniels, Kakepare Siulepa tries; Jake Vincent 3 goals) at Halswell Domain
LADDER: Linwood Keas 20 (+158), Hornby Panthers 18 (+290), Northern Bulldogs 14 (+122), Eastern Eagles 12 (+18), Riccarton Knights 8 (-26), Celebration Lions 6 (-79), Halswell Hornets (-224), Papanui Tigers 4 (-259)