CRL 2023: ROUND 11 CLUB WRAP
CRL Men’s Premiership co-leaders Linwood Keas and Hornby Panthers extended the gap at the top of the ladder with authoritative wins over top-four rivals on Saturday, while Riccarton Knights carved out an important victory in a wet Round 11 of the Massetti Cup.
A first-half shutout at Linwood Park propelled the Keas to a 26-12 defeat of Eastern Eagles.
Te Kaio Cranwell, Uili Uili and Elijah Tuhura crossed in the opening 40 minutes to give the hosts a 14-0 lead. Both sides dotted down twice in the second half as the Keas kept their fourth-placed neighbours at arm’s length.
The Panthers outlasted Halswell Hornets 26-10 in a typically feisty clash at Leslie Park, with the derby punctuated by seven sin-binnings.
When the westside adversaries settled down to play football, it was the Panthers who took the ascendency – overcoming an early deficit to head into halftime 12-4 in front and scoring the last two tries of the matches. Seamus Stack’s prolific tryscoring season continued with a hat-trick for Hornby, while veteran Phil Nati was among the scorers for Halswell.
Those results give the 9-2 Keas and Panthers a six-point buffer at the top of the Massetti Cup ladder with four rounds left, virtually guaranteeing the heavyweights will square off in the major semi-final.
The Knights all but assured they would avoid the promotion/relegation match in August with their third win of 2023 – a 24-6 win over Northern Bulldogs, who were celebrating their Club Day at Murphy Park.
Centre Richard Bidois and back-row stalwart Reuben Te Amo both notched doubles for the Knights, who kept a faint hope of featuring in the top-four playoffs alive. Riccarton trail Eastern by four points with four weekends left to close the gap further.
The first round following the CRL Premier Reserve competition’s top-six/bottom-five split produced a crucial result in a top-of-the-table ISC Canterbury Cup showdown at Papanui Domain.
Unbeaten in 2023 heading into another trip across the Southern Alps, Greymouth Greyhounds went down 22-4 to second-placed Ashburton Barbarians. Just one point now separates the clubs in what looms as a knife’s edge race for the promotion/relegation match berth against the bottom-placed Massetti Cup team.
Hornby Panthers and Linwood Keas also picked up crucial victories that left Halswell Hornets and Eastern Eagles in the most danger of having to play in the promotion/relegation match against the top-placed Division One side.
The first round of the reinstated Division One saw Papanui Tigers retain a four-point lead at the top of the table after defeating a new-established Hornby thirds team, while Riccarton Knights racked up the biggest score of the weekend with a 58-14 victory against Northern Bulldogs.
Shirley Hawks also picked a drought-breaking maiden win for 2023, 38-24 on the road against Burnham Chevaliers.
Linwood Keas bounced back from the first loss of the CRL Women’s Premiership title defence – 30-4 to Sydenham Swans last weekend – by subduing Burnham Chevaliers in the first match of Sunday’s Ngā Puna Wai double-header.
In the later game, third-placed Woolston Rams won a 28-26 thriller against fourth-placed Eastern Eagles.
2023 CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP – MASSETTI CUP ROUND 11
Linwood Keas 26 (Te Kaio Cranwell, Uili Uili, Elijah Tuhura, Leon Jarden, Ketesamane Pouli tries; Daniel Hartley 3 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 12 (Harold Kolose, Oscar Lui tries; Henare Nukunuku 2 goals) at Linwood Park
Hornby Panthers 26 (Seamus Stack 3, Tevin Arona, Muipu Nati tries; Caleb Murphy 3 goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 10 (Phil Nati, Antonio Lemalu tries; Brody Greig goal) at Leslie Park
Riccarton Knights 24 (Richard Bidois 2, Reuben Te Amo 2 tries; Matariri Halbert-Pere 4 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 6 (Nathaniel Tirikatene try; Jackson Becks goal) at Murphy Park
2023 CRL PREMIER RESERVES – ISC CANTERBURY CUP
Hornby Panthers 20 defeated Halswell Hornets 6 at Leslie Park
Ashburton Barbarians 22 defeated Greymouth Greyhounds 4 at Papanui Domain
Linwood Keas 28 defeated Eastern Eagles 8 at Linwood Park
2023 CRL DIVISION ONE
Shirley Hawks 38 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 24 at Coronation Park
Riccarton Knights 58 defeated Northern Bulldogs 14 at Murphy Park
Papanui Tigers 42 defeated Hornby Div 1 10 at Branston Park
Papanui Div 1 BYE
2023 CRL WOMEN’S PREMIERSHIP ROUND 9
Linwood Keas 46 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 0 at Ngā Puna Wai
Woolston Rams 28 defeated Eastern Eagles 26 at Ngā Puna Wai
Photo Credit: Abraham Atherton Photography