Senior club competition heating up as semis approach

Home field advantage in the McNamara Cup semi-finals goes on the line this week as Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors host Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel at Bruce Pulman Park.

It is a must-win game for Patumahoe if they are to have any chance of hosting a semi-final – they will also need to beat Manurewa Kidd Contracting in their final game of the round robin.

Ardmore Marist sits second on the standings at the moment and are coming off their bye last weekend but Patumahoe coach Reon Graham doesn’t expect that to have any impact on the way they will play.

“I’m not sure it matters,” Graham said. “They are a good quality side stacked with good quality players.

“It is cliché but we are just one game at a time – just trying to nail each game and get better each week.

“To be honest I haven’t even thought about home advantage for semis or anything like that.

“I am happy we are playing them at their home ground because it is a great ground to play on – probably one of the best in the country.

“It will be good to go up there and get a good test – we haven’t played them since week two and it was pretty poor conditions so it will be good to have a good day up there and see what we can do.”

Patumahoe came agonisingly close to beating competition leaders Karaka at Karaka Sports Complex last week and secured their semi-final berth in the process.

Graham is comfy with where his side is at right now but is hoping to see them build from there.

“The boys have got a real good strong attitude in terms of leaving it all out there for each other,” he said.

“The mental and attitude stuff is pleasing especially to see that they are driving that themselves and that should see us right.”

Karaka goes on the road to face Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega at Colin Lawrie Fields. A win there will go a long way to booking a home semi-final.

Pukekohe are now out of the semi-final running but will look to create some momentum to take into the Plate semi-finals.

In the Plate section of the draw Weymouth hosts Waiuku Land & Sea Civil in their final home match of 2021.

Bombay Super Freight hosts Onewhero Summit Homes in a key match for both sides. A win for Bombay keeps their chances of a home semi-final alive while Onewhero would go a long way to securing a semi-final berth if they could upset the reigning McNamara Cup champions.

Bombay Pokeno Bacon meets Manurewa Wise Property Management in a crucial Bob Chandler Cup Premier Reserves clash.

Bombay is hoping to edge Karaka for top spot while Manurewa are looking to secure a semi-final berth.

Ardmore Marist Barfoot & Thompson have it all to do – they need to beat top side Karaka to have a chance of making the semi-finals and they will need either Manurewa to lose or Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical to lose and not get a bonus point in their match against Pukekohe.

Old foes Maramarua host Te Kauwhata Proclad in the annual Gumboot game, which carries plenty of significance.

Te Kauwhata are locked in a battle with Drury at the top of the standings while Maramarua needs to win to keep their semi-final ambitions alive.

Drury puts their unbeaten record on the line at home to Puni while Te Kohanga will go a long way towards locking in a semi-final spot in their return to senior rugby if they can beat Papakura Thirsty Liquor.

Patumahoe Village Bar & Grill could do likewise when they host Manurewa.

Tuakau hosts Pukekohe in the final match of the weekend.

Karaka hosts Papakura Thirsty Liquor in Massey Cup U21 action and the visitors will be looking for a win to confirm a home semi-final.

Patumahoe CJM Construction travels to Colin Lawrie Fields to tackle fourth-placed Pukekohe and will also be needing a win to gain a home semi.

Top-of-the-table Manurewa Barfoot & Thompson hosts Waiuku in the other match of the round.

The top two sides in the U85kg competition square off in a classic Counties Power Game of the Week fixture with Patumahoe Pak N Save Pukekohe travelling to Karaka Sports Complex.

Patumahoe are unbeaten while Karaka have dropped just the one game so far this season.

“The boys are excited to play Karaka,” Patumahoe coach Brad Healy said. “We’ve been looking forward to playing Karaka all season so we can’t wait to get out there on Saturday and have a great battle.

“Its too early to know who we will play in the semi-finals but this will be a great test for us.”

Elsewhere in the grade third-placed Onewhero hosts Papakura Thirsty Liquor while Beachlands-Maraetai hosts Waiuku.