CRL SEMI-FINALS WRAP
Northern Bulldogs will face four-time defending champs Linwood Keas in the 2020 CRL Massetti Cup Grand Final after pulling off a heart-stopping semi-final win over Hornby Panthers at Murphy Park.
The Bulldogs snatched a 22-19 triumph with a try inside the last minutes, thwarting the Panthers’ bid for a fifth straight grand final appearance.
Hornby led 14-12 at halftime. The combatants were locked 18-all with 10 minutes remaining, when veteran skipper James Baxendale slotted a field goal to inch the Panthers back in front.
But barnstorming front-rower Lucuster Mati powered over the latter stages to send the Bulldogs into their first grand final since their historic 2007 premiership success.
Table-topping Linwood cruised into another decider via a 54-0 rout of fourth-placed Riccarton Knights at Ngā Puna Wai.
The Knights battled gamely, holding the Keas scoreless for the first 28 minutes. But the floodgates opened with injuries biting the underdogs, who finished the match with an empty bench.
Big winger Penitito Ilalio scored three of the Keas’ 10 tries.
Meanwhile, a hat-trick from forward Sua Ailoilo steered Papanui Tigers into next Saturday’s Gore Cup final courtesy of a 32-22 win over Halswell Hornets.
The Tigers will face Eastern Eagles, who advanced after Celebration Lions forfeited.
The CRL Canterbury Cup Grand Final will also be a Linwood-Northern affair after the season ended in semi-final heartbreak from promoted Division One teams Woolston Rams and Burnham Chevaliers.
The Keas downed the Rams 18-0 after a dominant first-half display, while the Bulldogs carved out a comprehensive 21-4 win over the Bulldogs.
The 2020 CRL Grand Final Day – featuring the Massetti Cup, Canterbury Cup and Women’s deciders – will be held Sunday, 13 September at Ngā Puna Wai, with kick-off times and details due early in the week.
CRL MASSETTI CUP SEMI-FINALS
Northern Bulldogs 22 (Nick Wain, Ethan Plaskett, Patella Tou, Lucuster Mati tries; Izic Placid 3 goals) defeated Hornby Panthers 19 (Nathaniel Papuni, Charlie Charlie, Sincere Harraway, James Baxendale tries; Baxendale goal; Baxendale field goal) at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 54 (Penitito Ilalio 3, Mapu Uasi, William Yeow, Ketesemane Pouli, Alex Todd, Danny Latu, Erwin Sauni, Leigh Jarvis tries; Toi Sepuloni 4, Uasi 3 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 0 at Ngā Puna Wai
CRL GORE CUP SEMI-FINALS
Papanui Tigers 32 defeated Halswell Hornets 22 at Halswell Domain
CRL CANTERBURY CUP SEMI-FINALS
Northern Bulldogs 21 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 4 at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 18 defeated Woolston Rams 10 at Ngā Puna Wai