By PHILIP CHANDLER
After another thrilling ‘Battle of the Basin’, Arrowtown tomorrow at last score a home game while Wakatipu Premiers undertake the Central Otago rugby comp’s longest bus ride.
Playing on their home ground last weekend, Wakatipu triumphed 18-10 over Arrowtown but only settled the score three minutes from the end.
Looking forward, both teams will benefit from having blooded so many players.
Arrowtown lost five frontliners, including captain Malcolm Sutherland, to duck-shooting.
And Wakatipu were four forwards down, including injured captains Steve Banks and Bradley Cross, and had to field two new locks.
Arrowtown coach Dan Eyles who, like his counterpart Brett Anderson, was also away shooting ducks, but watched the game on YouTube, says his team put on a ‘‘pleasing performance’’.
‘‘We just have a few work-ons we’ve really got to start ironing out.
‘‘We’ve got to try and keep working and getting our systems in place for a full 80 minutes.’’
Despite losing two of their first three games, ‘‘I keep saying to the boys, ‘we’ve got a long way in the season to go’’’, Eyles says.
Having their first home game — against Alexandra this Saturday — will also be nice, even though they’re facing ‘‘another tough side’’.
Meanwhile, Wakatipu coach Tom Kelly — who stood on the sidelines on Saturday before leaving to shoot ducks — says his team loves playing Arrowtown.
‘‘It’s the biggest test of character to see if the boys are going to front up.’’
Again, new hooker Jake McEwan stepped up with two barnstorming runs as well as nailing the winning try.
Kelly’s thankful his team tomorrow get to tackle Maniototo in Ranfurly — following a three-hour bus trip — on ‘‘the right side of winter’’.
‘‘There’s nothing worse than going too late in the season because they’re a wet-weather team.’’
Tomorrow’s games both kick off 2.30pm.