Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors sit atop the McNamara Cup standings after a superb 29-7 win over Karaka to take the Counties Power Cup.
The four-try bonus point win lifts Doug Sanft’s side to a six win, one loss record.
With nothing in the contest in the first half it was the visitors that pulled away in the second spell with a dominant performance.
“We were better in the second half when we made some adjustments to what happened in the first half,” Sanft said.
“Credit to Karaka they put us under pressure in the first half and the first 20 minutes of the second.
“We started building some momentum and building some phases. We had been trying to force the pass and get on the edge too early – we didn’t earn the right to get there.
“Karaka put us under pressure and that is where the errors came.”
With the competition drawing to the end of the first round Sanft thinks it is the most even competition he has seen in recent memory.
“I feel every game is tight, which is good and good for the competition.”
Manurewa Kidd Contracting kept in touch with leaders Ardmore Marist thanks to a gutsy 17-14 win over Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel.
The visitors had to do it the hard way, spending a large portion of the game with 14 men on the back of two yellow cards and a red. At one point they were down to 13 but never conceded a try while short-handed.
Patumahoe went close to stealing the game at the end but a crucial defensive play from Manurewa secured the result.
“To come here to Patty and get the victory is going to pay dividends for our season,” said coach Jeremy Clark. “We always knew it was going to be tough and it didn’t disappoint.
“We knew it was going to be wet so we had to change our game plan accordingly.
“Big ups to Patty – they gave it to us relentlessly for a long time. Just to hold on and make that last play in the corner is a big thing for the boys.”
Manurewa winger Willie Tuala dotted down yet again to remain at the top of the AS Wilcox leaderboard with nine tries on the season.
Four-time reigning champions Bombay picked up their second win on the bounce with a 28-19 win over Waiuku Brian James Contracting.
After a slow start by their standards Bombay appear to have turned the corner of late.
“We are starting to,” coach Jeff Marr said. “The first round is always about looking after your own shop really. I thought we stepped up a bit this week because Waiuku were pretty desperate to win and it is always a tough game out there too in those sort of conditions.
“The boys played with a lot of passion and were really keen to get a good result.
“It is a step in the right direction but it is just a step.”
Onewhero Silver Ferns Marquees got back into winning ways with a narrow 22-14 victory over Papakura.
Having dropped the previous three games it was important for Onewhero to keep in touch with the leaders and they didn’t disappoint. They grabbed an early 10-0 lead in the first half and hung on for a crucial four competition points.
Manurewa Wise Property Management, Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group, Waiuku and Papakura picked up wins in Premier 2 action. Papakura racked up 80 points in their thrashing of Onewhero Hinemoa Produce.
Te Kauwhata, Puni and Weymouth enjoyed Premier 3 wins while Karaka reversed last season’s final result to beat Patumahoe Albycon Ltd in Massey Cup Under 21 action. Other winners in the grade were Bombay and Pukekohe.
Karaka’s Under 85kg team got revenge on last year’s champion Patumahoe Pak N Save outfit – winning 18-10 at Karaka Sports Complex in the Counties Power Game of the Week. Rhys Pratt was named AS Wilcox and Sons Player of the Day for his all-round play but especially for making some big tackles at key times. Pukekohe and Papakura also had wins.
McNamara Cup (Premier 1)
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel 14
(Mark Royal, James Brady tries; Riley Hohepa 2 cons)
Manurewa Kidd Contracting 17
(James Faiva, Willie Tuala tries; James Faiva 2 cons; James Faiva pens)
(Kalione Hala tries; Juan Benadie cons)
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors (Counties Power Cup Holders) 29
(Sione Tuipulotu, Bryan Mulitalo, Damon Leasuasu, Joseph Ikenasio tries; Latiume Fosita 3 cons; Latiume Fosita pens)
Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees 22
(Ilaisa Koaneti, Pilipe Pau 2 tries; Jordan Walden 2 cons; Jordan Walden pens)
Waiuku Brian James Contracting 19
(William Mata’afa-Brown, Apenisa Sailo, Ratu Levanasiga tries; Daniel Kitson 2 cons)
(Lester Sefo, Tulel Masoe, Matiaha Martin, Chay Mackwood tries; Ki Anufe 4 cons)
Bob Chandler Memorial (Premier 2)
Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical 23 Manurewa Wise Property Management 30; Karaka 19 Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group 41; Onewhero Hinemoa Produce 13 Papakura 80; Waiuku 44 Bombay 18
Sid Marshall Shield (Premier 3)
Maramarua 0 Te Kauwhata 22; Karaka 15 Puni 20; Dury 15 Weymouth 34
Massey Cup (U21)
Bombay 41 Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group 20; Manurewa 5 Pukekohe 16; Karaka 30 Patumahoe Albycon Ltd 17
Onewhero Bottle’O Tuakau 16 Pukekohe 25; Karaka 18 Patumahoe N Save 10; Papakura 26 Waiuku 5
Women’s: Manurewa 68 Glenfield 10; Ardmore Marist 5 Auckland Marist 51.