CRL YOUTH WRAP & WEEKEND PREVIEW
YOUTH WRAP – MAY 22-24
The fourth round of Canterbury Rugby League youth night competition matches produced several key results and close finishes at Ngā Puna Wai, Avonhead Park and Leslie Park this week.
Linwood Keas carved out a 30-14 win over previously unbeaten Hornby Panthers in the 18s boys grade on Monday; the archrivals now share the competition lead with 3-1 records. In another reversal of opening-round results, Papanui Tigers claimed their first victory of 2023 with an emphatic 46-8 defeat of Halswell Hornets.
Earlier on Monday, Hornby Panthers Black went to 4-0 in the 16s boys grade with a 26-4 win over Hornby Panthers White in a Leslie Park derby. Linwood Keas also stayed unbeaten by edging Celebration Lions 28-26 – setting up a top-of-the-table showdown with Panthers Black next week – while Woolston Rams outlasted Papanui Tigers 24-10.
Riccarton Knights’ dominant season in the Wednesday night 14s grade continued with a 58-0 win over Eastern Eagles. Sydenham Swans moved to outright second on the table with by pipping Linwood Keas 16-14 and Hornby Panthers notched their second win via a 32-12 scoreline over Papanui Tigers.
The third week of 16s girls action saw Riccarton Knights, Linwood Keas, Shirley Hawks and Northern Bulldogs play at Ngā Puna Wai, while a 14s girls ‘game of three halves’ at Murphy Park featured teams from the Knights, Bulldogs and Hornby Panthers.
WEEKEND PREVIEW – MAY 27-28
Round 9 of the CRL Men’s Premiership this Saturday is headlined by the second grand final rematch of the season between fierce rivals Hornby Panthers and Linwood Keas at Leslie Park. The Keas suffered their first loss of the season to Halswell Hornets in Round 8, while the Panthers bounced back from their Round 7 defeat to Eastern Eagles with a 36-20 victory over Riccarton Knights under lights at Ngā Puna Wai last Friday.
The fourth-placed Eagles are searching for their third straight win when they head to Crosbie Park to take on the plucky Knights, who are playing better footy than their 1-7 record might suggest. The Hornets face Northern Bulldogs, who are on a seven-match losing run, at Halswell Domain and will move into second spot on for-and-against with a victory if the Panthers go down to the Keas. All games kick off at 2.45pm.
With the top-six/bottom-five split looming large in the ISC Canterbury Cup, there’s a stack of crucial encounters this Saturday.
Hornby Panthers leapfrogged Papanui Tigers into the all-important sixth position after the side clashed last weekend, but the Panthers have their work cut out at home in Round 9 against second-placed Eastern Eagles. Meanwhile, the Tigers host Ashburton Barbarians, who are eager to respond after dropping to fourth in the wake of last weekend’s top-of-the-table loss to Greymouth Greyhounds.
The unbeaten Greyhounds make the journey across the Alps to take on eighth-placed Riccarton Knights, Linwood Keas are aiming to consolidate their top-four standing when they host Burnham Chevaliers, and Halswell Hornets can also keep pace with the Premier Reserves front-runners if they account for ninth-placed Northern Bulldogs at home.
All ISC Canterbury Cup games kick off at 1pm. Shirley Hawks have the bye.
Linwood Keas and Sydenham Swans carved out big wins during last Sunday’s Ngā Puna Wai double-header and can further cement their top-two positions in Round 7.
The 5-0 Keas take on Eastern Eagles in a Linwood Park-hosted derby and the Swans head to Rolleston’s Brookside Park for a clash with Burnham Chevaliers. Both games get underway at 1pm on Sunday, while Woolston Rams sit out the round with a bye.