CRL 2023: ROUND 9 CLUB WRAP
Saturday’s CRL Men’s Premiership results have shaken up the Massetti Cup ladder, with Hornby Panthers, Riccarton Knights and Halswell Hornets all getting off to fast starts to bank two valuable competition points.
All three Round 9 fixtures followed remarkably similar patterns: the home sides powering to big halftime leads and holding on for victory despite getting outscored in the second stanza.
The Panthers avenged a 40-point loss in the first grand final rematch of 2023 last month at Linwood Park, carving out a 42-28 victory over the Keas at Leslie Park.
In a sizzling first-half performance, Hornby raced to a 32-6 advantage and never looked in real danger of being run down despite Linwood scoring four tries to two after the break. Winger Vaione Siaki and front-rower Devaun Thompson both grabbed doubles for the Panthers.
The Keas’ second straight loss sees the Panthers draw level on 14 points at the top of the Massetti Cup table, while the Hornets are just one win back after accounting for Northern Bulldogs 30-16 at Halswell Domain.
The Hornets were in control throughout the first half, scoring the first four tries of the match and leading 26-4 when the teams swapped ends. The last-placed Bulldogs fought back gamely, however, scoring two tries to one in the second half.
The trend continued at Crosbie Park as the Knights weathered an Eastern Eagles revival to win 38-32 after leading by 16 at halftime.
A five-try haul from winger Kolone Faalilo wasn’t enough for the Eagles, who ran in the last three tries. Winger Elima Faaiva and prop Delane Luke both picked up doubles for the fifth-placed Knights, who gave their finals chances a boost by closing to within four points of the fourth-placed Eagles.
With the top-six/bottom-five midseason split in the ISC Canterbury Cup looming ever closer, Round 9 produced several crucial and close results. Eastern Eagles and Ashburton Barbarians retained their top-four billing with two-point away wins, over sixth-placed Hornby Panthers and seventh-placed Papanui Tigers, respectively.
Greymouth Greyhounds stayed unbeaten atop the ladder with a 40-8 victory over Riccarton Knights, while Halswell Hornets and Linwood Keas both took another step towards avoiding the Division One drop with emphatic wins.
Last year’s CRL Women’s Premiership grand finalists both romped to big wins for the second Sunday in a row in Round 7.
Defending champs Linwood Keas overwhelmed Eastern Eagles 72-12 at Linwood Park, while Sydenham Swans came away from Rolleston’s Brookside Park with a 60-16 defeat of Burnham Chevaliers.
2023 CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHP – MASSETTI CUP ROUND 9
Hornby Panthers 42 (Vaione Siaki 2, Devaun Thompson 2, Charlie Charlie, Tyrone Arona, Muipu Nati, Dennis Davey tries; Caleb Murphy 5 goals) defeated Linwood Keas 28 (Uili Uili , Michael Fili, Ketesemane Pouli, Kyle Amer, Paul Sauni tries; Daniel Hartley 5 goals) at Leslie Park
Halswell Hornets 30 (Josh Rawiri 2, Josh Everett, Francis Go, Matt Black, Phil Nati tries; Jamie Nuttridge 3 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 16 (William Duncan, Nathaniel Tirikatene tries; Jackson Becks 3 goals) at Halswell Domain
Riccarton Knights 38 (Elima Faaiva 2, Delane Luke 2, Jamieson Ilalio, Joseph Hapi, Kyle Leka, Caius Reweti tries; Matariri Halbert-Pere 3 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 32 (Kolone Faalilo 5, Cyrus Timo-Latu, Uriah Esau tries; Henare Nukunuku 2 goals) at Crosbie Park
2023 CRL PREMIER RESERVES – ISC CANTEBURY CUP ROUND 9
Eastern Eagles 20 defeated Hornby Panthers 18 at Leslie Park
Greymouth Greyhounds 40 defeated Riccarton Knights 8 at Crosbie Park
Halswell Hornets 60 defeated Northern Bulldogs 10 at Halswell Hornets
Linwood Keas 56 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 4 at Linwood Keas
Ashburton Barbarians 16 defeated Papanui Tigers 14 at Papanui Domain
Shirley Hawks BYE
2023 CRL WOMEN’S PREMIERSHP ROUND 7
Sydenham Swans 60 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 16 at Brookside Park
Linwood Keas 72 defeated Eastern Eagles 12 at Linwood Park
Photo Credit: Abraham Atherton