Last season’s runners-up Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel delivered an emphatic response to a recent run of poor form to secure a vital 22-0 win over Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega to move back into the McNamara Cup top four.
Having dropped back-to-back games to Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees and Waiuku Brian James Contracting over the past fortnight Patumahoe was staring down the barrel of falling out of playoff contention mid-way through the second round but Reon Graham’s side responded with arguably their most impressive performance of the season.
They enjoyed the better territory in the opening exchanges and turned that into points via the boot of skipper Riley Hohepa, who made his long-awaited return from injury at first-five.
Patumahoe added a try before the break to take a commanding lead in front of many of their past players on Old Boys Day at the club.
Pukekohe had a couple of players sent to the sin bin and the home side capitalized with two more tries shortly after halftime and then shut up shop with their defense.
“I am really happy with the boys today especially with the defensive effort,” coach Reon Graham said. “Holding them to no points was a great effort.
“We worked on a couple of parts of our game which we got right but a lot of mental stuff. We have a good group of guys and we needed to turn up and play and that isn’t hard when it is against Puke at home.”
Defending champions Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors narrowly retained the Counties Power Cup as they saw off a spirited Waiuku outfit 27-24 in a close-fought affair at Bruce Pulman Park – a major reversal from the lopsided first round contest between the two sides.
After a disappointing first round Waiuku has hit good form of late and nearly caused a second major boil-over within a week. The return of several key players has strengthened their roster including World Cup winning first-five Stephen Donald.
Ardmore Marist coach Doug Sanft singled out the veteran pro for the impact he had on his club side.
“We fell apart just because of individual errors but Stephen Donald just kept on putting our back three under pressure with his kicking. He was good with his boot.
“I think they wanted it more than us.”
Sanft is demanding his side executes better next week when they meet Pukekohe.
Bombay were pushed hard by Onewhero in another close tussle up at Bombay Domain. The visitors enjoyed a strong first half and took a four-point lead into halftime.
But the nucleus of the Bombay side that is a season removed from winning four-straight McNamara Cups took control in the second half and they did enough to secure the win 32-22 and claim a crucial four-try bonus point in the process.
“We had to step up – we respect Onewhero a lot,” coach Jeff Marr said. “We started well and then Onewhero came back at us and put it to us. They got back into the game and we couldn’t quite get out of first gear again.
“There was a lot of good stuff but just a little bit of detail and accuracy – our ball handling left a little bit to be desired.
“Second half we got straight into it and we came home with a wet sail.”
Manurewa Kidd Contracting also kept pace with the leaders as they took maximum points and avoided the banana skin game against Papakura Ray White in the Counties Power Game of the Week at Mountfort Park.
The home side ran in six tries to secure a bonus point and retain their top four placing.
“The last few weeks we have had a few losses so we were trying to get back into that winner’s circle,” coach Jeremy Clark said. “Coming off the bye you never know what you are going to get.
“We worked hard during the week and did a bit of scouting and worked out what we needed to do.”
Manurewa has been super impressive in the second half of matches this season where they have blanked a number of the leading teams.
“To keep them scoreless in the second half is very pleasing,” Clark added. “You pride yourself on defense and if you want to go deep into a competition your defense needs to be really good.
“It seems like we are slow to start and then we really come back in that second half.”
Manurewa Wise Property thrashed Papakura 48-10 in Bob Chandler Memorial Premier 2 action. Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical enjoyed a 27-7 win over Pukekohe Long Roofing while Karaka beat Weymouth 27-15.
Te Kauwahta continued their dominance in Sid Marshall Shield Premier 3 play with a 67-18 win over Puni while Drury overcame Onewhero 48-10 in the other match.
Bombay enjoyed a 31-14 win over Waiuku in Massey Cup Under 21 action while top-of-the-table Manurewa Carter’s Tyre Service claimed a 59-15 win over Pukekohe.
Beachlands Maraetai picked up a 15-9 win over Weymouth in Under 85kg competition. Waiuku produced the performance of the round to down reigning champions Patumahoe Brady Construction Pak N Save 44-14 while Papakura and Karaka also collected wins.
Drury prevailed over Patumahoe 43-22 in women’s action while Papakura snuck home to beat Manukau Rovers 33-32. Ardmore Marist and Weymouth lost their matches.