Shock loss the derby wake-up call we needed

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Arrowtown coach Blair Wilce reckons last week’s shock White Horse Cup defeat will shake up his players for Saturday’s crucial Wakatipu derby clash. 

After being unbeaten in eight games this season, the defending Central Otago champions suffered an 8-5 loss to lowly Upper Clutha at Jack Reid Park. 

But Wilce believes the wake-up call – ahead of meeting local rivals Wakatipu Premiers at the Queens-town Recreation Ground – is timely. 

“Some of these young boys have been part of this team for a couple of years and been winning every week and don’t really know what it’s like to lose,” Wilce says. 

“If we can sort out a couple of things during this week, and play to our ability, we’ll back ourselves to beat Wakatipu.” 

Wakatipu coach Kelvin Middleton says Upper Clutha did his team no favours by beating Arrowtown to snatch the White Horse Cup. 

“Arrowtown will be smarting after that – it might also be a release for them because it’s very hard protecting silverware at home. 

“But if we play to our ability and don’t make mistakes, we’ll beat Arrowtown.” 

Wakatipu go into the match on the back of a rare home 20-31 loss to Maniototo, virtually sealed in the first half when the visitors scored four unanswered tries. 

The derby game could determine who’ll join competition leaders Maniototo in hosting a home semi-final on July 17. 

The local teams drew 8-all in their first-round encounter in Arrowtown in April.