Friday 27/08/04, 7:35 pm
Ref Steve Walsh
Half time 22-0
Full time 42-7
In a spectacular display of good sport-entity-ship, the weather fined up for the afternoon and start of the match. The fact that it rained heavily late in the match didn’t really make much difference - the damage (to Otago) had already been done.
Ok, if it wasn’t raining it was still plenty damp, and quite cold. But the pitch did seem to be holding up quite well, I only remember Mr. Walsh performing the “scrum waltz” move once - to find a bit less-messy mark.
Certainly one of the post-match comments was complementary of the ground conditions.
The first 20 minutes of play suggested that an AB backline plan had been implemented by both teams. Well sort of, though neither was particularly “flat”, they were both playing like crap!
But finally after saying it all year (the S12 seems like last year already) the Cone Stadium mantra of “those passes have got to start sticking” came good – well for the R&Bs anyway.
Which was just as well as those greedy young Red and Black stripped men were hogging most of the ball. The least they could do was to score points with it!
So soon we had the first of their tries, to centre Casey Laulala - followed by a rolling Corey Flynn and a stepping Ben Blair.
Special thanks must be made to Otago for their assists: “Have a turn-over Mr Leo’o.” “Don’t mind if I do, but I think I will pass it to the Mehrtenator!” Who off-loads to Laulala. But can he make the line?
Casey’s dive from 3m out should have stopped short of the line, but the generosity of Seru Rabeni saw his weight being added to the slide and a try was scored!
“If I stand behind the ruck with my back to the opposition long enough I’m bound to get tackled!” said Danny Lee. And so it turned out.
A hack ahead from Hurst, his recover and pass to Greg Somerville (well know play-maker) saw a rampaging Corey Flynn (who nobody recognised because he now has hair) score.
I wasn’t going to mention the poor Otago kick that lead to Blair’s “run it back around and through them” try… but why not!
The second half and Otago’s aim-less kicking contest continued. The R&Bs having sensibly resisted joining in – run the ball back from the 22. Ralph ghosts past the first defender and once in space jinks round another two. Flynn dummies a pass, and is paid in cash as he puts Casey Laulala away for his 2nd try.
Can you say 4-try bonus point? I think you can!-)
Scott Hamilton manages to score a try and it’s looking really good, or really ugly depending on your NPC orientation!
With 20 minutes to go Otago finally realise that they are on a down-trou! To the collective relief of the entire crowd they launch a concerted effort that results in a great Captain’s try to Anton Oliver.
But by now Canterbury are in the groove, and Ben Blair is having a blinder, which requires Mehrts to pull out a curved pass, around the back of a defender – bloody well taken by Ralph, who passes to Scott Hamilton for his 2nd try.
The final 5 minutes is played in rain, and there are no more changes to the score-board – but then it was already 42-7.
The score sheet reads like basketball, 3 Canterbury players make double figures including Ben Blair’s top individual score of 18.
Away from the scoreboard great efforts where made by Ben Hurst, I would like to see him start again. Brad Thorn played very well, although I was commenting to Jules that he seems to prefer a smothering tackle that doesn’t always come off. Jules suggested that with shoulders that far apart, it must be hard for him to grab the smaller guys – another reason to go back to league!
Both the forwards and backs played very well, with the real difference from the previous 2 rounds being that Canterbury turned their chances into points, instead of the opposition doing it to them.
Anton didn’t make any excuses. He was quoted with “We just got worse and worse”.
But I do think that the weather might have been a factor – It was above freezing and I think the heat got to them! ☻☻☻☻