Patumahoe and Manurewa have advanced to the McNamara Cup final next weekend after winning knife-edge semi-finals on Saturday.
Manurewa knocked out the reigning McNamara Cup champions with a narrow 18-12 victory at Mountfort Park while Patumahoe were forced to dig deep to defeat neighbours Pukekohe 17-9 at Patumahoe Domain.
Manurewa had to withstand a ferocious final five minutes camped on their own line, defending for their season, as Karaka threw everything they had at them.
But buoyed with the frustration of being knocked out in the semi-finals in each of the past few seasons and with a boisterous and large home crowd in their corner, Jeremy Clark’s men managed to hold on for a famous win.
“I am lost for words – we didn’t worry about next week. We just had to worry about these 80 minutes,” Clark said.
“There were no what ifs – we had to leave it there and we did. I think our defence in the last five minutes was all deserving.
“The rugby gods finally shone on us because we have lost a lot of close ones.
“I’m ecstatic but I am happier for the playing group – some of those boys that have been there the last four or five years, losing in the last five minutes of semi-finals. All the hard work we have put in for that – to finally get over the line and get the monkey off the back is awesome.”
Patumahoe trailed early but gained a lead mid-way through the first half that they would never relinquish. They were pushed extremely hard by a gutsy Pukekohe side that fought valiantly until the final whistle but just couldn’t find a way through the resolute defence of the home side.
Brad Healy’s side maintained their unbeaten season record but had to work extremely hard to do so.
“Full credit to Pukekohe – they came out firing and really put us under pressure,” Healy explained. “I’m really proud of the boys and how they played.
“We knew we would have to play for the whole 80 minutes, and we did.
“The job’s not done yet though.”
The Massey Cup U21 final will see the top two sides meeting in the final after Karaka and Patumahoe made their way through two close semi-final matchups.
Karaka beat Pukekohe 21-17 in a tight affair at Karaka Sports Complex while Patumahoe managed to prevail over Manurewa 26-10 at Patumahoe.
Waiuku continue to hold their spot in the top four of the Sid Marshall Shield standings after they cruised to a 45-7 win over Tuakau at Tuakau.
Puni had to fight back to beat Patumahoe 27-8 at Patumahoe while Drury accounted for Manurewa 33-24 at Mountfort Park.
Patumahoe’s Bob Chandler Cup side beat Maramarua 31-7 on Friday night in a cross-over game.
Unfortunately, Bombay were forced to default their Bob Chandler game against Sid Marshall Shield side Te Kauwhata while Te Kohanga defaulted to Karaka’s Bob Chandler side.
The Patumahoe women picked up a morale-boosting 27-0 win over Pakuranga in the 10-a-side competition.
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