By PHILIP CHANDLER
First blood’s gone to Wakatipu in the annual ‘Battle of the Basin’ with Arrowtown, and that’s even before the rugby season starts.
Eight junior coaches from each club — including Arrowtown’s Hamish Wilton, pictured left, and Wakatipu’s Harry Fleming — played a rippa rugby match at the Queenstown Recreation Ground recently during a Queenstown junior rugby open day.
Each team was bolstered by junior open grade players — Charlie Rule and Ollie Kirk (Wakatipu) and Jed Crawford and Harry Martin (Arrowtown).
After two fast-paced halves, including some cheeky contact from both sides, Wakatipu prevailed 13-7, and kept the ‘Coaches’ Challenge’ trophy they won last year.
Players of the day were Brodie Johnston (Arrowtown) and Corey Tiananga (Wakatipu).
The open day — attended by 140 junior players — was hosted by Wakatipu Rugby Club and supported by parent volunteers and sponsors.
Junior rugby kicks off May 8, preceded by a pre-season sevens tournament this Saturday.
Meantime, the Wakatipu Premiers drew 15-all with Wyndham in a pre-season game last Saturday — the third pre-season draw in a row between those two teams. Arrowtown lost 40-7 to Invercargill’s Star.