Not even Saturday’s downpour could stop Kurow from raining on Old Boys’ parade.
The men in red have been somewhat of an enigma this season, being the only side to beat Old Boys.
At Whitestone Contracting Stadium, both teams battled through the rain and mud, and Kurow managed a 15-5 lead at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Kurow was back on the board with a converted try to Hayden Todd. From there, Old Boys put up a huge fight to get back into the game but Kurow’s forward pack muscled up and made sure of the win, taking the game 27-19 and the McKeown Petroleum Challenge Trophy from Old Boys.
Kurow coach Tim Anderson was proud his team “stuck to their guns”, and put on a strong performance across the park.
However, he admitted there was not much between the two sides.
“I didn’t think Old Boys played badly. We just went out, and executed our game plan, played to the conditions, and were lucky enough to get away with the win,” Anderson said.
“We just executed what we wanted to do.”
Kurow’s set piece was solid, enabling the side to steal a couple of lineouts, and the players were physical in the ruck. Openside flanker Cam Bennett came into his own, and was a standout, helped by the backline driving the team around the park.
Old Boys’ slow start ended up costing it the game, but coach Robbie Breen was pleased with his team’s fight in the final stanza.
“We came home with a wet sail. You don’t win the competition at this time of the year, so as long as we’re getting better that’s probably the main thing,” Breen said.
Kurow played like “a bat out of hell” and took it to Old Boys all the way.
“They were allowed to do a lot at ruck time, and it spoiled a lot of our ball. We didn’t adjust to that and bring enough heat to deal with that.”
Breen described Sione Faaoso as an “absolute bus” at centre. Flanker Toni Taufa returned to form after a couple of quiet weeks, and No8 Junior Fakatoufifita was strong. Breen expected him to be pushing for North Otago selection again soon.
On ground No5, Maheno stormed home to beat Athletic Marist 35-15. Maheno halfback Robbie Smith put on an absolute master class, running the side home.
In Weston, it was a torrid battle between Valley and Excelsior – the first match between the teams this season, after Excelsior defaulted their first scheduled clash.
Valley had a decent first-half performance, going into the break with a 14-5 lead. Blues had most of the ball for the first period of the second half, and looked dangerous at times but was unable to finish anything off.
Blues defended well and held Valley’s attack off, but Valley stepped it up a gear and once prop Meli Kolinisau crossed the line, the game was sealed.
Citizens Shield takes a break this weekend, as North Otago hosts King Country in a warm-up match for the Ranfurly Shield challenge later this month. Tomorrow’s match will kick off at 1pm.
Union remains at the top of the table after two weeks of the president’s grade competition.
Playing at home in Ngapara, Union beat Kurow 14-12 last weekend, following on from its 26-19 win against Valley the week before.
Only Excelsior now stands in its way to the perfect start to the eason.
In Weston, Valley beat Excelsior 17-7. It was an improved performance for Blues, which lost to Kurow 24-7 the week before.
The Waitaki Wahine made the trip down to Dunedin again last week, and lost to Pirates 40-7.
Now, the team has a tough few days.
After playing Alhambra-Union in Dunedin last night , the team will travel to Dunedin on Monday to play Big River Country. Waitaki Wahine will be looking to follow on from its outstanding performance against the Clutha side in its last outing.