The Arrowtown rugby side is primed for Saturday’s Central Otago final after an extraordinary semi-final win over Wakatipu.
The side battled atrocious muddy conditions at its home ground, Jack Reid Park, and 25 minutes of extra time to defeat its nearest neighbour 16-13 last Saturday.
It now faces Maniototo, who inflicted Arrowtown’s only loss of the season when it took the White Horse Cup off them two weeks ago.
Arrowtown coach Drew Carmody says he’s relieved the top-six final will be in Cromwell, not Ranfurly – “it’s a super-tough trip going there”.
Carmody also believes his side can avenge its recent defeat.
He’ll be able to call on a fuller complement of players than a fortnight ago, and believes he can concoct a game plan that will work.
“We didn’t execute what we wanted to do at all, against them, last time, and we’ve got a bit to do on our scrums – we were struggling last time.
“Definitely I think we can win – we’ve beaten them once already down there, this year, and there’s no reason we can’t beat them again.”
Wakatipu Premiers coach Damian Petre says it was disappointing to lose last Saturday but he was proud of the effort his team put in for long periods.
“Probably the most disappointing thing is the progress we’ve made over the last couple of weeks, and then just to fall at the last hurdle.”
However he also credits Arrowtown: “They defended amazingly well.
“Even in that period of extra time, and extra extra time, we probably had the better of possession and territory – they did extremely well to hold on and when they got their opportunity, they took it.”
He says Arrowtown will probably be underdogs against Maniototo, but anything can happen in a final.
“I think the difference will probably be [Maniototo first-five] Charlie Hore – if they can overcome him and take him out of the game, well, Arrowtown have got a chance.”
Petre’s team plays Clyde-Earnscleugh, who lost their semi-final to Maniototo, in Saturday’s play-off for third, also in Cromwell.
“It’s a bit like kissing your sister, isn’t it – no one wants to participate in that, but we’ll go over, front up and finish the season off.”
Father-to-be Petre is taking next year off to attend to domestic duties.
Meanwhile the Wakatipu Wanderers lost their bottom-five semi-final last Saturday to Matakanui Combined, also in extra time, 13-8. The Wanderers play Upper Clutha B in Cromwell this Saturday in a play-off for third at 11am.