With a few of the teams in New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition having no chance of making the Top 5, the pressure was now off and some great games resulted.
This was shown in the first game of Round 14 when Manuwera Marlins defeated the Otahuhu Leopards by 38-34. With Otahuhu ahead by 24-10, it looked as though they were set to win the game, but the Marlins fought back well to come up with the 2 points.
Manurewa 38 (G. Eliki, P. Borel, S. Tupou, D. Letele, T. Pamatangi, C. Kolase, R. Utai tries; T. Pamatangi 5 goals)
Otahuhu 34 (V. Mellars 2, M. Katoa, B. Nelson, P. Tafea, B. Vaeau tries; B. Nelson 5 goals).
It is very unusual for the North Harbour Tigers not to cross the line for a try, but this happened on Saturday afternoon at Stanmore Bay when competition leaders, Hibiscus Coast Raiders beat the Tigers by 36-4. Up by 24-4 at the break, another mammoth scoreline looked in the pipeline for the Raiders however the Tigers kept the score low but were unable to post any further points. Daniel Floyd, the fullback for the Raiders, once again netted an 100% record with the boot.
Hibiscus Coast 36 (S. Stower 2, D. Tepu, D. Rennie, W. Henare, S. Finefeuiaki tries; D. Floyd 6 goals)
North Harbour 4 (R. Retimana 2 goals).
The trip down the line for the Mt Albert Lions proved to be very fruitful when they came away with a good win over the Central Falcons by 40-14.
Mt Albert 40 (A. Bauer 3, S. Dewhurst 2, H. Va'sa 2, P. Latavao, B. Ivory tries; B. Lythe 2 goals)
Central 14 (W. Live, J. Royal tries; D. Wilson 3 goals).
The curtain raiser to the Warriors/Storm match was certain to be a cracker with two top 5 teams battling for positions, and the crowd were not disappointed.
After conceding the first two tries and a 2-12 lead, the second-placed Bulls scored 34 unanswered points before Eastern, which has slipped from fourth to fifth, saved some face with two late converted tries.
Canterbury 34 (T. Pelenise 2, J. O'Brien, A. Timo, J. Manning, C. Newton tries; O'Brien 5 goals)
Eastern 24 (G. Tupou 2, N. Ngametua, L. Tufeao tries; J. Noble 4 goals).
The two neighbouring sides down the bottom of the North Island had a fine battle at Porirua on Sunday afternoon with the Wellington side the victors over the Taranaki Wildcats by 60-28. The Wildcats, although not yet posting a win in the 2003 competition, certainly did not disgrace themselves and posted 5 tries up against Wellington's 11.
Wellington 60 (S. Helu 2, F. Laumua 2, N. Taumoli 2, V. Apu'ula, M. Karawana, J. Tamanika, J. Monu, J. Limmer tries; Monu 8 goals)
Taranaki 28 (D. Rameka, J. Ngamotu, B. Ngata, W. Parker, K. Martin, W. Wasey tries; S. Hoskin 2 goals).
An close encounter between Marist and Glenora at Harold Moody Park on Sunday saw the Marist side scrape home against the Bears by 40-36. With the lead to Marist at the break by 30-16, they looked quite comfortable however the Bears hit back at them in a very exciting second half.
Marist Richmond 40 (S. Makisi, H. Kapi, R. Henry, B. Collins, J. Tavita, T. Taua, J. Kellet, H. Turua tries; G. Rota 3 goals; J. Ropati goal)
Glenora 36 (T. Toailoa 2, A. Iole, G. Bailey, A. Clyde, L. Toli, K. Edmondson tries; A. Clyde 4 goals).
Round 14 games, Aug 2nd - Aug 3rd:
Manurewa 38 - Otahuhu 34 Hibiscus Coast 36 - North Harbour 4 Mt Albert 40 - Central 14 Canterbury 34 - Eastern 24 Wellington 60 - Taranaki 28 Marist Richmond 40 - Glenora 36Like