The Wakatipu Premiers rugby side beat Clyde-Earnscleugh 27-10 yesterday (Saturday) in their first defence of the prestigious White Horse Cup.
Wakatipu, who’d taken the cup off Maniototo two weeks earlier, had expected a strong challenge from Clyde-Earnscleugh.
Before the match Clyde-Earnscleugh lay second in the Central Otago competition while Wakatipu was third.
Wakatipu opened up a 10-nil lead in the first half with right-winger Tony Farley scoring a penalty, a corner try and a conversion.
Clyde-Earnscleugh cut the halftime lead down to 10-5 with an unconverted try in the corner but didn’t help their cause by missing a penalty right out in front following what was ruled to be a dangerous tackle by a Wakatipu player.
Wakatipu extended their lead halfway through the second half with a converted try to substitute loose forward Henry Youngman.
Clyde-Earnscleugh came back with an unconverted corner try.
Youngman, who’d come on for the injured Sol Frew, soon after grabbed Wakatipu’s third try, to stretch the lead to 22-10.
Then right on full-time, Wakatipu centre Danny King scored a spectacular solo try from his own 22, selling two dummies on the way.
Wakatipu coach and former Highlander Kelvin Middleton made a surprise appearance, playing strongly for the first 50 minutes at number eight in place of an injured Jake Lawrence.
The team’s player of the day was open-side flanker Marcus Balchin, who was a constant threat on both attack and defence.
Wakatipu lock Ben MacDonald also stood out in the lineout, frequently stealing opposition ball.
Meanwhile, Arrowtown beat Upper Clutha 41-17 at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park.