CRL YOUTH WRAP & WEEKEND PREVIEW
YOUTH WRAP – AUGUST 7-9
The dominant teams in the CRL 16s and 14s Boys grades will contest next week’s youth night competition grand finals after all four carved out convincing semi-final victories at Ngā Puna Wai.
In Monday’s 16s semis, unbeaten Linwood Keas defeated fourth-placed Celebration Lions 40-16, while Panthers Black overcame Panthers White 36-12 in an all-Hornby showdown. Papanui Tigers also outlasted Woolston Rams 28-20 in what was essentially a fifth-place playoff.
The Keas and Panthers Black will face off at Ngā Puna Wai at 6.45pm Monday in the decider.
Wednesday night’s 14s semis produced similarly emphatic results: Riccarton Knights retained their perfect 2023 record with a 46-0 win over Hornby Panthers and second-placed Sydenham Swans accounted for Linwood Keas 30-4.
The 14s grand final between the Knights and Swans is scheduled for 6.45pm Wednesday at Ngā Puna Wai.
WEEKEND PREVIEW – AUGUST 12-13
There’s just two senior Canterbury Rugby League matches on this weekend’s schedule – but there’s Happy Hire CRL Grand Final Day berths at stake in both.
Neighbouring archrivals Hornby Panthers and Halswell Hornets square off in the CRL Men’s Premiership preliminary final at 2.45pm Leslie Park.
The Panthers finished four points clear in the Massetti Cup standings but were edged out 21-20 by Linwood Keas in last week’s major semi. Meanwhile, the third-placed Hornets held on for a 20-16 win over Eastern Eagles in the sudden-death minor semi.
Hornby had the wood on Halswell in the three regular-season derbies, winning a season-opening barnburner 26-20 at Halswell Domain, a similarly nail-biting 28-22 thriller on the road in Round 6 and carving out a 26-10 result at Leslie Park in Round 11.
The clubs faced off in the past two prelims – with the Panthers snaring hard-fought wins on both occasions, 22-14 at home in 2021 and 16-6 at Halswell Domain last season. The Panthers are chasing their seventh grand final appearance in eight years, while the Hornets are vying to reach the Pat Smith Trophy decider for the first time since 2014.
The CRL Women’s Premiership is also down to the penultimate weekend, with the winner of Sunday’s semi-final between Sydenham Swans and Woolston Rams at Ngā Puna Wai earning the right to take on defending champs Linwood Keas on Happy Hire CRL Grand Final Day on August 20.
The teams pieced together a fascinating 2023 regular-season series.
After playing out a 28-all draw in the initial clash in May, the second-placed Swans romped to a 58-4 victory in late-June. But the third-placed Rams regained a significant psychological edge last Sunday with a 36-16 win in the clubs’ final-round encounter.
The semi-final kicks off at 1pm.
Photo Credit: CMG Sports