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Country Division 1 Comps Update
Dunsandel/Irwell’s hopes of making the Ellesmere Division One Championship playoffs in their first season have been dashed.
Fourth spot was theirs to lose, and the opportunity slipped away with a 53-19 loss against third-placed Burnham on Saturday.
The defeat opened the door for Southbridge, who took the opportunity with a 24-20 win against Waihora.
The semi final quartet is the same as last season, with each side facing the same opponent. Lincoln faces Southbridge at Lincoln and Darfield hosts Burnham. Darfield cruised to a 16-0 win against bottom-placed Prebbleton on Saturday, while Jason Pietzner celebrated his 200th match for Lincoln by scoring in his side’s 70-19 victory against West Melton.
First five-eighth Michael James and forward Jeremy Lewthwaite each scored hat tricks.
Southbridgemanager Chris McMillan admitted the club was sweating on the result of the Dunsandel-Irwell’s match.
“We scored three tries (against Waihora), but we really wanted to score four to absolutely make sure of it, in case Dunsandel did get a point,” he said.
It will feel like déjà vu for Southbridge, who were knocked out by Lincoln last year.
Another daunting statistic for the men from Dan Carter country is that Lincoln have not been beaten at home by an Ellesmere side in the past six years.
“We’re playing some pretty good rugby at the moment, so we’re not going to be frightened of the challenge this Saturday,” Chris says. “We haven’t put an 80-minute performance together yet, but when it comes, I pity the team we’re playing.” He says Lincoln are well-coached and disciplined, and the team who have “set the benchmark”.
“Every good thing has to come to end. I don’t think they’re as strong as they’ve been for a while, so there is a chink there.”
The loss of prop Joe Moody will also be a blow to the Lincoln forward pack.
“Their backs don’t worry us so if we can compete with the forwards, we’ll be fine.”
The battle of semi final spots in the Luisetti Seeds North Canterbury Division One Championship was over before Saturday, but the finalists still had plenty to play for.
In a top-of-the-table clash at Oxford, Glenmark prevailed 9-6 in a match decided by kicks.
Their reward was claiming the Colin Rowland Trophy for winning the second round, retention of the Deans Shield, and finishing in top spot. They will play Ashley at Omihi on Saturday.
Oxford’s first loss was a double blow as they now concede home advantage to Kaiapoi, who leapfrogged them with a 22-3 win against Ashley.
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