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Flash stepping: Wakatipu Prems blindside flanker Phil Kingsbury tries to evade Cromwell Goats defenders during their game at the Queenstown Rec Ground last weekend

By PHILIP CHANDLER

You can just about count on a close ‘Battle of the Basin’ rugby match in Queenstown tomorrow — even if duckshooting’s claiming several players.

Matches between the Wakatipu and Arrowtown Premiers have invariably been nail-biters
in recent seasons, and in fact last season they drew.

This season they’ve already had uncannily-similar losses to defending Central Otago champs, Cromwell.

In the first round, Cromwell beat Arrowtown 33-17 and in the second round, last Saturday, they beat Wakatipu 31-17.

‘‘I don’t think there’ll be much in it [this Saturday], there never is in these games,’’ Wakatipu coach Brett Anderson says.

‘‘The last few years we tend to beat them [in Arrowtown] and they’ve probably had the better of us on our home ground.’’

Last weekend his side was 24-5 down before clawing its way back to 24-17, before Cromwell scored the winning try, so Anderson’s keen his team switches on from kickoff.

‘‘For us it’s probably just making sure we do our bits and bobs right and fixing what we know are easy fixes and continuing to take a step in the right direction as opposed to getting too caught up on the opposition.’’

But not helping is having two players out with concussion and two injured halfbacks.

Anderson himself and at least one of his boys will also be away for the start of the  duckshooting season.

Arrowtown’s even more affected, with four or five players tackling ducks rather than humans.

Coach Dan Eyles says he won’t stop them as these players shoot every year, but he’s unhappy the comp’s not taken the weekend off as it’s done in recent years.

He’s pleased with his side’s 61-15 win against Cromwell Cavaliers last weekend.

Though, like Anderson, he’s lamenting a slow start.

As for this Saturday, he says ‘‘I guess Wakatipu have almost had the wood over us for the last few years’’.

‘‘We’ve just got to keep working on what we’re trying to do for the season and hope it’s
good enough to beat this Wakatipu side.’’

Eyles is loath to pick a winner.

‘‘I haven’t looked too much at Wakatipu — it’s one of those games, if they’re anything like
their coach they might be a bit big and slow, but I doubt they will be.’’

Saturday’s kickoff’s at 2.30pm at the Queenstown Rec Ground.

Wakatipu Wanderers, mean while, beat Invercargill Blues B 40-5 in an away game last weekend.

scoop@scene.co.nz