Karaka produced the upset of the season to keep their semifinal aspirations alive – beating top-of-the-table Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors 32-26 at Bruce Pulman Park.
They also took over as Counties Power Cup holders – the first time the trophy has changed hands since very early in the season.
Having been desperately unlucky the previous week Karaka channelled a clutch performance when it was needed most.
They jumped out to a 25-12 lead by halftime and were smart enough to close the game out and secure a crucial five points.
“I am delighted with that result,” coach Scott Penney said.
“We knew that they liked to take the game wide so we decided to try and play a bit tighter, particularly with the players that we have available to us at the moment.
“That worked really well and I am just really proud of the boys.”
Not only did Karaka get the win they needed to stay in the hunt but they picked up a four-try bonus point, which could prove decisive when the last games are completed.
Defending champions Bombay did their part to hold onto the fourth spot that Karaka have in their sights. Jeff Marr’s side had to work hard to get past Waiuku Brian James Contracting 35-22 at Bombay Domain.
“There was a lot of stuff we were happy with,” Marr said. “It was not a complete performance though and we let ourselves down a bit. We let Waiuku back into the game after we had a handy lead over them.
“It was good to get the five points against them. The way Waiuku have been playing the last few weeks it was a game we had to play pretty well to get over top of them.
“We did that but still a few work-ons for us.”
Ki Anufe kicked four conversions to stay at the top of the AS Wilcox Leaderboard.
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel continued their six-game winning run to push past Manurewa Kidd Contracting 29-24 at Mountfort Park to take a big step towards an all-important home semifinal.
The two sides are likely to meet each other in a semifinal so the next two weeks will determine who gets to play host.
“It was the old story of a game of two halves,” Patumahoe coach Reon Graham said. “They came out firing and we let them do what we aimed not to do and that was allow their backs to run and they scored three nice tries.
“We bounced back and scored two tries to our forwards, which kept us in it at halftime.
“Then we came out in the second half and tidied things up and managed to get a couple of nice tries of our own.”
Papakura Ray White continued their improved performance by beating Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees 20-17 at Massey Park.
While their position on the ladder doesn’t show a heap of improvement every coach in the competition knows Papakura have made giant strides in 2018 and will be a serious threat next season.
Manurewa Wise Property Management moved to the top of the Premier 2 standings with a 27-24 win over Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical. Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group gave their semifinal aspirations a big boost with a 67-7 win over Karaka. Waiuku edged Bombay 20-17 while Papakura Ray White thrashed Onewhero Hinemoa Produce 46-12.
Maramarua took a key 17-12 win over Te Kauwhata in Premier 3 action. Karaka edged Puni 41-38 in a high scoring affair while Weymouth continued their unbeaten run with a 22-10 win over Drury.
Pukekohe stayed top of the Massey Cup Under 21 standings thanks to a 55-0 hammering of Papakura Ray White. Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group pipped Karaka 34-31.
Papakura Ray White claimed a narrow 26-23 win over Pukekohe in Under 85kg play to protect second place on the ladder. Leaders Patumahoe Pak N Save eased to a 29-5 win over Waiuku while Bombay were too good for Onewhero 29-20.
McNamara Cup (Premier 1)
Manurewa Kidd Contracting 24
(Petelo Ikenasio, David Osofua, Paolelei Luteru, Pisi Leilua tries; Timothy Taefu 2 cons)
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel 29
(Kalim North, Shea Furniss, Jonny Wilkinson, Mark Royal, James Brady tries; Broc Hooper 2 cons)
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors 26
(Liam Fitzsimons, Joshua Gray, Joseph Ikenasio, Viliame Rarasea tries; Solomona Paraki 3 cons)
(Timote Asi 2, Raymond Fuilala, Walter Fifita tries; Kalione Hala 3 cons; Kalione Hala 2 pens)
Papakura Ray White 20
(Siaosi Andy, Shirley Halasima, Kris Saunders tries; Faalae Peni cons; Faalae Peni pens)
Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees 17
(Steven Jones, Sam Shuker, Jackson Orr tries; Rhain Strang cons)
(Sepuloni Taufa 2, Liam Daniela, Mitchell Thackham, Patrick Masoe tries; Ki Anufe 4, Jordan Goldsmith cons)
Waiuku Brian James Contracting 22
(Apec Togofau, Nathan Millar, Christian Walker tries; Daniel Kitson cons)
Bob Chandler Memorial (Premier 2)
Manurewa Wise Property Management 27 Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical 24; Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group 67 Karaka 7; Papakura Ray White 46 Onewhero Hinemoa Produce 12; Bombay 17 Waiuku 20
Sid Marshall Shield (Premier 3)
Maramarua 17 Te Kauwhata 12; Karaka 41 Puni 38; Drury 10 Weymouth 22
Massey Cup (U21)
Pukekohe 55 Papakura Ray White 0; Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group 34 Karaka 31; Bombay Onewhero Bottle’O Tuakau
Pukekohe 23 Papakura Ray White 26; Waiuku 5 Patumahoe Pak N Save 29; Bombay 29 Onewhero 20
Women’s: ECB 31 Ardmore Marist 31; Manurewa 42 Ponsonby 15; College Rifles 60 Papakura 17; Waiuku 12 Grammer Tech 37
First Grade: Manurewa won by default v Grammar TEC
1st XV (Premier): Manurewa HS 83 Papakura HS 0; Rosehill College 36 Alfriston Colllege 22; Pukekohe HS 60 Waiuku College 0