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Round 7 of New Zealand's Bartercard Cup brought up some interesting results, none more so than Otahuhu Leopard's narrow victory over the Canterbury Bulls.
First game of the weekend had the Glenora Bears up against the Eastern Tornadoes. A late release from the Warriors saw the speedster Justin Murphy front up for the Eastern Tornadoes in what was a sloppy match.Murphy created chances for the visitors down the right side, but they were squandered with dropped ball. A strong wind down the ground played a big part, the Tornadoes stretching out to a 28-14 lead at the break after good kick-and-chase game.
The teams went try for try in the third quarter but as Glenora's long kicking game took its toll with the wind, the bigger Tornadoes forwards tired and were unable to continue slowing the game to their pace. Gavin Bailey brought the Bears into it with a chip and regather and with 14 minutes to go they took the lead through quick play-the-balls that kept the Tornadoes scrambling.
Glenora Bears 44 (H. Lauaki 3, L. Tamatoa 2, G. Bailey 2, S. Halatoa, K. Edmonson tries; A. Clyde 3 goals; T. Edwards goal)
Eastern Tornadoes 38 (J. Murphy 2, G. Tupou, T. Leuluai, K. Mene, H. Rangi, W. Su'a tries; J. Noble 5 goals).
Next up the Manuwera Marlins hosted the Hibiscus Coast Raiders. The Hibiscus Coast Raiders destroyed Manurewa. They were up 20-0 after 20 minutes and 32-4 at halftime, with final score at Leabank Park 44-14. Once again Daniel Floyd had a big say in the game, scoring a try and netting 6 goals.
Hibiscus Coast Raiders 44 (S. Finefuiaki 2, J. Tavaga 2, D. Floyd, D. Jones, S. Ata, R. Wigg tries; Floyd 6 goals)
Manurewa Marlins 14 (T. Ufi, S. Tupou, D. Latele tries; T. Matthews goal).
In the curtain raiser at Ericsson Stadium on Saturday night, champions Mt Albert level with North Harbour 12-12 at the break, snaring the lead but letting the opposition threaten until the last minutes before it ended at 22-18. Centre Hale Va'asa overshadowed Warriors preference Sala Fa'alogo with breaks in midfield.
Five-eighth Steve Buckingham was the difference, though, between the flashy Lions and the grinding Harbour, his accurate kicking game proving demoralising for the Tigers. Too much of Harbour's attack was one-out off Warrior Mark Robinson's long pass. He was not supported well by his team mates at all.
Mt Albert Lions 22 (H. Va'asa 2, S. Fa'alogo 2 tries; S. Buckingham 3 goals)
North Harbour Tigers 18 (K. Johnson, K. Asiata, R. Kinkaid tries; R. Retimana 3 goals).
Otahuhu continue to improve as their experienced players return from overseas. Boycie Nelson contributed two tries and a goal as the Leopards scored seven tries to Canterbury's eight, but landed more goals in a 42-40 close-shave. It should not have been that tight, with the Leopards up 40-18 at one stage, but complacency and maybe some travel hangover from Nelson and prop George Tuakura contributed as the southerners made a big comeback. Once again the Bulls struggle away from home. The first win for Otahuhu in the Bartercard Competition will have their confidence boosted.
Otahuhu Leopards 42 (B. Nelson 2, J. Yandall 2, T. Laiseni, T. No'ovao, E. Mann tries; Laiseni 6 goals, Nelson goal)
Canterbury Bulls 40 (E. Hei Hei 2, L. Sione, J. O'Brien, V. Whare, A. Timo, T. Wallace, C. Newton tries; O'Brien 4 goals).
An upset win to Wellington at home should have the Marist Richmond Brothers management sending out the warning bells. Marist were sitting 2nd equal on the table, and were expected to win the game in Wellington with ease. A close score in the end, but not the result expected.
Wellington 42 (N. Taumoli 3, V. Apu'ula, J. Tamanika, A. Wereta, M. So'otaga, F. Piva tries; Taumoli 5 goals)
Marist Richmond 40 (B. Collins 2, H. Turua, G. Rota, T. Taua'a, M. France, K. Guttenbeil, K. Cawdron tries; Rota 4 goals).
Central Falcons beat Taranaki 46-20 at the strugglers end of the table. A close halftime scored soon opened up as the Falcons players let loose in 2nd half. Taranaki still remain winless in the competition.
Central Falcons 46 (W. Live 3, N. Coburn 2, W. Wharepapa, J. Royal, D. Kahuroa, N. Ngaru tries; B. Hekenui 5 goals)
Taranaki Wildcats 20 (B. Ratahi, J. Hoskin, K. Martin, S. Hoskin tries; S. Hoskin 2 goals)