It was one of those good news-bad news weekends.
There was good news for Valley, and four other teams, as the leading country club in the Citizens Shield proved the leading overall club can be beaten.
Embracing good, old-fashioned wet-weather rugby tactics, Valley got on top of Old Boys early at Weston before holding on for a 13-12 win.
It means nothing, technically, in the run-in to the semifinals, but you have to think becoming the first team to roll Old Boys this season has given Valley an extra shot of confidence.
There was also good news for Kurow, which bounced back from a frustrating loss the previous week to beat Athletic Marist 28-15, and Excelsior, which ground out a 13-8 win over Maheno.
Digesting the bad news were Athletic Marist, now odds-on to finish with the wooden spoon, and slumping Maheno, whose title defence is looking very shaky.
What’s that old saying about buses? It feels like you wait forever for one before two arrive at once?
In a mild statistical oddity, the Citizens Shield featured not one but two penalty tries at the weekend.
A change in the laws creates some confusion in scoreboards like those you see on this page, where the tries and conversions don’t seem to add up. A reminder a penalty try is now an automatic seven points.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Two young bucks in the front row can share the award this week.
Jake Greenslade was involved in everything for Valley in its memorable win over Old Boys.
And exciting Kurow prop Petelo Pouhila, a free man after his red card the previous week was rescinded, charged his way to a pair of tries for his resurgent team.
“The conditions wouldn’t have suited Old Boys’ style of play. It was just a real grind, and our boys defended really well and looked after the ball. We were under the pump a few times but just kept fighting. I don’t know if a home semifinal was our goal at the start of the season – just getting back into the top four was enough – but it’s a really good effort. We’ve won a lot of close games. The guys have that belief now.” – Mike Mavor (Valley)
Marc Fox was player of the day as competition leader Valley had a comfortable 48-5 win over Athletic Marist.
Well, this could either confirm the playoff picture or make it even cloudier.
Kurow hosts Old Boys, Excelsior hosts Athletic Marist, and Maheno hosts Valley.
If Kurow and Excelsior win, and Maheno and Athies lose, the top four is set. But if either Kurow or Excelsior loses, the semifinals will not be confirmed until after the final round.