SBS Bank Hawkins

Metro Colts Premier

16 Jul 2011

ChristchurchFour teams are a tight race to claim spots in the Colts Premier finals.

Christchurch and Lincoln University have wrapped up the top two spots, with a gap now having opened up on the chasing pack. Those still in with a chance include High School Old Boys, who have racked up the bonus points, along with Marist-Albion, University and Burnside.

Lincoln won the all-students battle against University 40-8 on Saturday, dealing a blow to the latter’s chances. The defeat would have been welcomed by Burnside, who lost to Old Boys by 24 points. Marist-Albion avoided slipping up against bottom-placed New Brighton with a 33-22. Sydenham beat Linwood 33-22 in the only match to not affect the finals makeup.

Despite being stuck at the bottom of the table, 19 points adrift of their nearest rivals, New Brighton is remaining upbeat. Coach Jason Pawson says his squad has lacked the numbers to match the top teams. “The earthquake didn’t help things on the east side of town, and a few guys have been working night shift so they can’t train, and couple have been displaced from their houses,” he says.

New Brightonis a young team, with all but two of the squad available for colts again next season. Three are still at high school. The Premier Colts grade is very competitive, Jason says. “There are some very good teams who are well-drilled, and there’s some very good players. Our goal is just to make the guys better players.”

Some have already had a taste of division one rugby this season. Jason says the senior side’s success is added motivation for his young charges.

The jam-packed schedule has taken its toll, he says. “Our player base wasn’t huge at the start of the year and all it takes is a couple of injuries before you’re on the back foot straight away.” Some clubs have more than 100 colts-aged players to choose from, Jason says. “We haven’t even got an under-18 team or an under-20 team, so when it comes to getting guys to fill in, we really struggle. “In saying that, we don’t go out to lose every game. We go out to win and the players put their bodies on the line every week.”

In the Colts Under-20 grade, Christchurch Boys’ High School 2nd XV and University A continue to dominate. Competition leaders Boys’ High breezed past top-four contenders Christchurch 39-10 on Saturday.

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