Karaka kept their slim home semi-final chances alive after winning a cliff-hanger 28-27 over Manurewa at Mountfort Park on Saturday.
Karaka winger Jonah Refiti scored in the final moment of the game to steal victory after it appeared the home side would hold on for a narrow win.
It means the location of one semi-final and one semi-finalist will come down to the final week of the round robin.
Second-ranked Manurewa and third-placed Karaka played out a ding dong game with the score going back and forth throughout the 80 minutes in a contest worthy of a semi-final.
“Manurewa brought everything we expected – just physicality through the forwards and it was a case of us getting off our line, chopping them down and keep them contained,” Karaka coach Craig Hill said.
“We hung in there and it was a good way to finish.”
Patumahoe secured top spot and a home semi-final after beating Ardmore Marist 43-7 under lights at Patumahoe on Thursday night.
Brad Healy’s side weren’t quite at their best but were able to do enough to maintain their unbeaten run through the season.
They will play the winner of Pukekohe v Bombay at Patumahoe Domain in a fortnight.
Pukekohe moved back into fourth spot after beating Papakura 15-7 at Massey Park on Saturday and will need only to draw against Bombay next weekend to advance to the semi-finals.
“We had to fight hard, and it definitely wasn’t our best performance but happy to get the four points,” coach Michael Porter said.
“Now we turn our attention to Bombay, which we know is do or die for both sides but we will be ready for it.”
Bombay continue to look a much-improved side as they thumped Weymouth 69-8 on Thursday night.
Sam Aiono’s side have championship winning experience littered through their squad and will have their destiny in their own hands when they head to Pukekohe next weekend.
Weymouth, as they have done all season, continued to fight until the final whistle and scored a popular try five minutes from fulltime.
Karaka maintained top spot in the Massey Cup U21 standings thanks to a 43-19 win over Pukekohe at Karaka Sports Complex. Patumahoe kept pace with them in second spot on the back of a 35-12 win away to Papakura.
Onewhero triumphed in the final of the U85kg Championship at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe as they defeated top qualifiers Waiuku 28-16.
It is a big reward for the Onewhero club, who were forced to operate as a one-team club this season.
The result was a tough one for Waiuku. Many of their squad were struggling with illness in the week leading into the game in a cruel bit of misfortune.
Patumahoe lost to University 36-15 in the women’s 10-a-side competition.
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