Easter – and the weather – had a massive influence over the third round of Citizens Shield rugby.
Most notably, there was a rare postponement as the Old Boys v Valley clash set for the back ground at Centennial Park was abandoned on Friday morning due to the slight inconvenience of much of the ground being under water.
An even rarer Thursday night game went ahead despite the nasty weather at Maheno, where the home side ground out a 13-7 win over Excelsior under lights.
Blues, chasing a third straight win after a fine start to the season, led early but Maheno came back and clinched the win through try-scoring prop Grant Donnelly.
Up the valley, both Kurow and Athletic Marist were desperate to post a breakthrough win, and both were severely depleted because of Easter.
Kurow made the early running before Athletic Marist – with flanker Hayden James at centre and blasts from the past Tama Loper and Roly Senior on the bench – scored three quick tries after halftime and held on to win 24-19.
Valley might have been keen to play Old Boys on Centennial Pond, given the conditions would have been an almighty leveller, but you’d have to say the correct decision was made.
The two clubs will now play a catch-up game on Tuesday.
Should that have been the plan all along? Give everyone Easter off, and play a full round on Anzac Day?
Something to think about should the dates work out similarly in future seasons.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Not too many strong contenders this week thanks to the conditions and the postponement of a game.
The stand-out is Connor Newlands, the multi-talented Athletic Marist youngster who is developing into a very fine rugby player.
Newlands is a first five-eighth or fullback (I think) by trade, but showed his versatility by slotting in at halfback for Athies in their win over Kurow.
He was all over the park, making tackles one minute and engineering an attack the next. Lots more to come from this exciting prospect.
“I’m pretty pleased with that win, especially since we had 15 guys unavailable. It was a real makeshift team. They showed a lot of heart, which was really encouraging. They all stepped up. It’s fair to say we were frustrated over the first two weeks. But we’ve got some new faces and they just need to believe in the game plan and stick to it.” – Graham Pitches (Athletic Marist)
Kurow is at home to Old Boys, Valley hosts Maheno, and Athletic Marist clashes with Excelsior in town. The latter two games, especially, could be intriguing as we near the end of the first round.