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Lincoln Topple Unbeaten Methven to take Luisetti Seeds Cup
A potentially career-ending injury to captain Mike Bendall inspired Lincoln to a 41-8 win in the Luisetti Seeds Combined Country Cup final against Methven.
Lincoln overpowered the previously-unbeaten Mid Canterbury side with a five-try effort at home on Saturday 18th June, after which stand-in skipper Matt Lowe dedicated the win to his injured team mate.
Bendall, the team’s regular captain, could not attend the final because he was in hospital recovering from back surgery.
“With (Mike) being told he possibly may never play rugby again, the boys weren’t lacking motivation,” Matt said.
“All we had to do is put in 80 minutes, and he’s stuck in a bed in hospital. We were doing it for him.”
Lincoln hit form at the right time, after wins against second-ranked Kaiapoi and top-qualifier Oxford in the playoffs, and made the perfect start to the match when prop Joe Moody scored in the opening minutes.
Centre Dayle Eathorne was on target with his opening penalty kick to extend the lead to eight points.
Intense defensive pressure created a try for openside flanker Mike Werahiko, before Eathorne finished the half with two further penalty goals.
Methven’s vociferous travelling cheer squad was as shell-shocked as their team to be trailing 21-0 at the break.
There was little to shout about early in the second half either, especially when Methven wing Matt Ryan was sin-binned for tripping.
The visitors responded immediately with a penalty goal, but the yellow card was the catalyst for a deluge of points from which they could not recover.
Werahiko scored his second try and soon after wing Ryan Odering finished off a length of the field effort.
Methven had just been restored to their full complement when Lincoln’s other wing, Daniel Murray, sprinted 70 metres score.
Eathorne rubbed salt in the wounds with a late penalty goal, before Methven grabbed a consolation try.
Lincoln’s win, its first in the combined cup since 2007, helped erase the disappointment of finals losses against Glenmark, in 2008 and 2009, and of missing the final last year.
Matt Lowe said his side executed the game plan perfectly.
“We just tried to keep it tight and the points came from sustained pressure from defence,” he said.
He was not surprised they posted such a large score-line against the competition’s best-performed team.
“Early on, we had a few injuries and we really weren’t playing to our potential. We had a frustrating start, but built at the right time and from the quarter-final onwards progressed as a team.”
In the earlier match at Lincoln, Oxford beat Darfield 24-12 in the third/fourth playoff.
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