Hornby Panthers and Linwood Keas moved further ahead of the pack, while Eastern Eagles solidified their claims for a return to the finals as the second round of Massetti Cup matches got underway.
Linwood Keas were forced to dig deep to subdue Riccarton Knights 28-20 at Crosbie Park. The teams were locked up at 16-all at halftime, but the three-time defending premiers posted three tries to one in the second stanza.
Keas fullback Danny Latu bagged a double, while Knights centre Jope Tagicakibau finished with a hat-trick.
Riccarton celebrated its Club Day on Saturday, which doubled as a tribute day for long-serving, recently retired Club President Jimmy Barclay, who stepped down from the role due to terminal cancer. The Knights unveiled their new changing rooms, which are part of widely respected Barclay’s legacy to the club.
Hornby Panthers retained the Massetti Cup competition lead ahead of Linwood on for-and-against via a 28-20 victory of their own, outlasting Northern Bulldogs at Leslie Park.
Despite a high representation in the East v West game only five days earlier, the Panthers built an 18-12 halftime lead with Jordan Coleman scoring two tries. Michael Butson also notched a first-half brace for the Bulldogs.
The trend of try-doubles continued after the break. David Tongotongo scored his second try for Hornby, while Vinnie Paul dotted down twice for Northern. James Baxendale’s four-goal haul for the Panthers proved vital to keeping the Bulldogs’ at arm’s length.
Eastern Eagles jumped into outright third on the ladder with a 24-10 away victory over Celebration Lions at Cuthberts Green.
The Eagles led 8-4 after a hard-fought first half, which saw veteran half Tama Walker dot down and Peneli Peneli score his seventh try of the season. The visitors ran in three tries to one in the second half to post the biggest win of Round 8.
Halswell Hornets got off the mark for 2019, recording their first win of the season, 26-22, over Papanui Tigers.
The Hornets – enduring a tough campaign after reaching the semis last year – scored six tries to the Tigers’ four.
CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 8 RESULTS
Linwood 28 (Danny Latu 2, Willie Yeow, Daniel Hartley, Thoren Fidow-Kele, Mike Nicholls-Cane tries; Hartley 2 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 20 (Jope Tagicakibau 3, Delane Luke tries; Tele Elia 2 goals) at Crosbie Park
Hornby Panthers 28 (Jordan Coleman 2, David Tongotongo 2, Leo Petelo tries; James Baxendale 4 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 20 (Michael Butson 2, Vinnie Paul 2 tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 2 goals) at Leslie Park
Eastern Eagles 24 (Longe Faalilo, Tama Walker, Josh Afamasaga, Junior Peneli, Peneli Peneli tries; Junior Peneli 2 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 10 (David Read, Abraham Fonmoa tries; Jope Gaunavou goal) at Cuthberts Green
Halswell Hornets 26 (Nick Evans, Tirikatene Tairua, Ken Tofilau, Brad Austin, Dylan Gittings, Cameron Greig tries; Jope Finau goal) Papanui Tigers 22 (Hayden Thompson, Jimmy Rangiawha, Dhontayne Berryman-Lesatele, Roger Tafua tries; Thompson 3 goals) at Halswell Domain
MASSETTI CUP LADDER: Hornby Panthers 14 (+204), Linwood Keas 14 (+126), Eastern Eagles 10 (+28), Northern Bulldogs 8 (+66), Riccarton Knights 8 (-12), Celebration Lions 4 (-85), Papanui Tigers 4 (-139), Halswell Hornets 2 (-196)
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