Arrowtown beat the top-of-the-table Wakatipu Premiers 20-19 on Saturday in an exciting see-saw rugby derby.
The game – the last round robin fixture in the top-six Central Otago competition – was played in beautiful conditions at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park.
Arrowtown dominated at the start, their blockbusting number eight Eddie Sefo finally dotting down for a try after 15 minutes.
Wakatipu then took the ascendancy, taking a 13-7 lead after brilliant long-range tries by centre Danny King and winger Rob Lund – though Arrowtown pegged that back to 13-10 with a penalty just before halftime.
Arrowtown got on top in the second half, Sefo scoring two more tries while Wakatipu captain and lock Dan Iosefo was spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a yellow card offence.
Wakatipu, down 20-13, added two penalties but, despite some promising moves, failed to breach Arrowtown’s try-line.
Arrowtown coach Hayden Finch, who praises his forward pack and halfback Kelly Henderson, in particular, says he felt relieved at the finish.
“It’s always great to beat Wakatipu, they’ve beaten us at home the last two times and we don’t like that.”
Finch says he was a bit surprised Wakatipu kicked a penalty when 20-16 down rather than going for a match-winning try: “For some reason they seem to be happy getting that one competition point to get a home semi.
“When we play Wakatipu we always want to win.”
Ironically, the 20-19 score-line was identical to the Chiefs’ winning score over the Crusaders in the Super 15 semi-final in Hamilton last night.
In the semis this Saturday, Wakatipu, who remain on top of the table, host fourth-placed Cromwell in Queenstown while Arrowtown travel to Ranfurly to play Maniototo.