Round five of the Southern region rugby competition was played in some of the worst weather experienced in recent seasons. The wind and the rain caused havoc and produced some thrilling encounters.
Clutha Valley ended Crescent’s unbeaten run with an extremely hard›fought 8›0 victory at Clydevale. Valley had the wind in the first half and put Crescent under pressure for lengthy periods. It opened the scoring through prop Lachie Gunson. A Thomas Johnson penalty made the score 8›0 at the break.
The second half was a mammoth contest, both sides spurning opportunities to score. Both sets of defensive lines were resolute and neither side gave an inch. The second half stalemate gave Valley the win, and the three trophies that were available. Flanker Liam Turnbull was Valley’s best in the pack. Prop Joe Skipps had a massive game for Crescent.
Clutha beat Owaka 17›5 in Balclutha. The home side scored two first›half tries to one to lead 12›5 at the break. Owaka was unlucky to have a try disallowed and another allowed at the other end.
The second half was dominated in part by Clutha, which set up shop in Owaka’s half. Clutha held on to the ball, wore Owaka down and scored the only try of the second half. Owaka did have chances in the second spell, but Clutha’s defence was strong enough to repel the challenges.
Heriot retained the West Otago Shield with a strong 36›15 win over Lawrence at Lawrence. A tight first half saw the score level at10›all after 40 minutes of hard slog. Heriot had the wind at its back in the second half and scored four second›half tries to close the game off. Heriot’s set piece was strong and, in poor conditions, was crucial to giving it front foot ball. Heriot loose forward Nick Hayes helped himself to four tries, largely thanks to Heriot’s dominance at the scrum. Lawrence was structured for the most part but could not match Heriot’s ability to play with the wind at its back.
Toko secured animportant 39›10 win over Clinton at Milton. Toko dominated the opening exchanges but ran into a strong defensive wall which only allowed one try past it in the opening 20 minutes. Clinton took the lead through a converted try to halfback Jed Gollan and a penalty before Toko hit back towards the end of the half to lead 14›10 at the break.
Toko played into the wind in the second half and found its mojo. Its forwards held on to the ball and made metres up the middle of the park. Toko scored four unanswered second›half tries to take the win and stay firmly in the top four.