The buoyant Wakatipu Premiers rugby side challenges Maniototo for the coveted White Horse Cup this weekend with support from its Arrowtown neighbour.
If Wakatipu wins in Ranfurly this Saturday, its first challenger the following weekend will be Arrowtown.
“Good luck to Wakatipu, I hope they go down there and beat them, and we get a shot at the cup,” Arrowtown coach Drew Carmody says.
Carmody admits Wakatipu’s improved significantly from early this season though says he’d still be surprised if it beats Maniototo, which remains unbeaten this season.
His own team, however, gave Maniototo a fright at Arrowtown’s Jack Reid Park last Saturday, in an opening-round game of the Central Otago top-six competition.
Arrowtown led 10-9 with 15 minutes from full-time, before conceding two penalties, and also scored the game’s only try.
“I was very happy with the performance, the boys couldn’t have done much more - we definitely made more of the running,” Carmody says.
However he adds the spectacle wasn’t helped by the referee dishing out about 30 penalties.
Carmody says Arrowtown faces another tough home battle this Saturday against Alexandra, which beat it in the first round.
Wakatipu, meanwhile, scored an exciting 30-28 home win against Upper Clutha A last Saturday, also following a first-round loss.
“It’s always good to beat the neighbours from Shelbyville,” captain Henry Youngman says.
Citing animated TV comedy The Simpsons, he explains his team refers to itself as Springfield, “and then there’s that shitty little town down the road called Shelbyville”.
Youngman says his team was unfazed about being 15-0 down after an half an hour before narrowing that gap to one point at halftime.
Up 30-23, Wakatipu conceded a last-minute corner try, but Youngman accurately predicted that Upper Clutha’s goal-kicker would miss the conversion.
“A couple of their guys were playing like second-hand lawnmowers and their kicker was one of them.”
Youngman, who credits his reserves for injecting venom in the second spell, says his players were elated with the result – “it was our first comeback win of the season”.
“After Saturday, there’s a bit of renewed confidence among the boys.
“We’ve yet to deliver the complete performance, but when we do we can beat almost anyone.”
That includes Maniototo this Saturday.
Youngman suggests his team will employ width and speed to try to beat them.
It has been a long time between drinks for Wakatipu.
The last time it took the White Horse Cup off Maniototo was three years ago - they then held it for two years before losing it to Arrowtown last May.
The Wakatipu Wanderers, who lost to Upper Clutha B 20-6 in the bottom-four competition last Saturday, have a bye this weekend.