Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors needed a second half rally to beat Onewhero Summit Homes 16-15 in a thrilling game at Onewhero Domain on Saturday as McNamara Cup action returned after the Covid-19 break.
The home side made a superb start to the match and took an impressive 12-0 lead into halftime before last year’s beaten finalists clicked into gear in the second spell.
Having won the McNamara Cup in 2018 and losing in the final last year Ardmore Marist were expected to be the team to beat this season. But the reset of the competition has made the playing field much more even – a phenomenon witnessed across all games in the first weekend after the re-start of the competition.
Karaka made it two wins from two as they beat an impressive Waiuku Brian James Contracting 20-17 at Rugby Park in Waiuku.
The visitors jumped out of the blocks early and looked like they would romp away but Waiuku fought their way back and made it into a real contest.
“A game of two halves as they always say,” Karaka coach Craig Hill said. “We had a very good start – we got out to 20-0 after about 35 minutes but from then on it was all Waiuku to be fair.
“They put us under pressure and we made a lot of errors so we were happy to come away with the points really.
“We didn’t help ourselves; we dropped a lot of ball and errors that were forced on us.
“It was just great to get out there and play some footy.”
Hill acknowledges the landscape has changed in the wake of Covid-19 with certainly players not taking part this season and others returning from overseas.
It means the balance of power is not what it looked like in March.
“It is a re-start and when you look at it teams have had three trainings and are yet to get into their rhythm,” Hill said.
“It looks like it is going to be pretty even.”
Manurewa Kidd Contracting held off a fast finishing Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel 22-14 at Mountfort Park in the Counties Power Game of the Week.
Manurewa piled on three first half tries to take a commanding lead but the visitors fought back in the second spell to make a game of it.
“When we always play Patty it is a tough one and we expected going the full 80 minutes and it didn’t disappoint,” Manurewa coach Jeremy Clark said.
“We got off to a good start and were able to string some phases together and score some points but Patty was never out of the game. It always felt they could come back at anytime and sure enough they scored a couple of tries after halftime.
“I’m happy with the performance especially after being out so long so to come up with that first up is pleasing.”
Augustine Mafoe was named AS Wilcox and Sons Player of the Day with a number of line breaks and solid all-round game.
Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega had to rally late to earn a 29-27 victory over Papakura at Colin Lawrie Fields.
Papakura had the run of the game in the first 40 minutes as they took a 19-13 lead into the break before the home side managed to get their noses in front in the second half.
“I’m not quite sure how to be fair,” Pukekohe coach Sean Polwart said. “It was a bit of a ding dong battle back and forward. They had some good players out wide and they were able to move us around quite a bit.
“Our boys were able to hang in there and show a bit of grit, which was nice.
“We were pretty lucky to get a win really.”
Polwart was quick to acknowledge how competitive Papakura was and he expects them to be a force in 2020.
“You have got to tip your hat to Papakura. They have been working hard on the club over the last couple of years that I have been involved and I have seen the shift. They have been able to recruit some players there and they’ve been able to develop some guys as well.
“Sione is doing a great job with the group that he’s got. They are an improving side and will get some wins this year.”
Manurewa Wise Property Management and Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical played out a thrilling 19-all draw in Bob Chandler Memorial Premier 2 action at Mountfort Park. The home side had to rally in the final quarter to snatch the tie.
In other games Bombay thrashed Weymouth 59-7 while Pukekohe PPG Distributors ran out 44-5 winners over Papakura.
Te Kauwhata got their Premier 3 campaign off to an impressive start as they beat newcomers Patumahoe Village Bar and Kitchen 17-5 at Patumahoe. Drury picked up an 18-14 win over Puni while Ardmore Marist recorded a 30-10 victory over Tuakau in the latter’s first senior game in a number of years.
Bombay edged Pukekohe 18-13 in a closely fought Massey Cup U21 game at Bombay Domain. Patumahoe Albycon Ltd claimed a narrow 8-5 win over Papakura while defending champions Manurewa beat Waiuku 55-20.
Beachlands Maraetai recorded a superb 16-15 win over Pukekohe in a stunning start to the U85kg competition. Waiuku secured a 23-15 win over Onewhero while Patumahoe Pak n Save thrashed Te Kauwhata 67-0.
Ardmore Marist women picked up an opening round 34-5 win over Albany Barbarians. Manurewa pipped Ponsonby 41-38 while Papakura thumped Puni 53-0. Patumahoe Seale Group went down 51-5 to Grammar TEC.
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