Darfield through to semis
by Kent Caddick
Darfield’s dream run in the Combined Country rugby competition has continued albeit by the narrowest of margins.
After going through its section unbeaten Darfield faced up to qualifiers Oxford in the quarter-finals of the Luisetti Seeds Combined Canterbury Country competition on home soil on Saturday afternoon.
The damp conditions made handling extremely difficult but no quarter was given by either side throughout the 80 minutes.
Oxford led 6-3 at halftime, with all points coming from the boot.
Both sides stepped up a gear in the second half with Darfield outscoring Oxford two tries to one to secure the win 17-16.
After an early second half penalty to Oxford Tim Wright crossed for Darfield’s first try, which was converted by Scott Mitchell, giving the home side its first lead in the match, 10-9.
Almost immediately Oxford replied with a converted try of its own to retake the lead but with five minutes of the match remaining Blair McIlroy crashed over for a try, which was duly converted by Mitchell, to give Darfield a spot in the semis.
Meanwhile, Southbridge extracted revenge on Waihora for its loss in the competition final last year by overturning its Ellesmere neighbours 31-25 in an entertaining match to move through to the semi-finals.
Lincoln caused the upset of the quarter-finals with a 19-15 win over North Canterbury powerhouse Glenmark in a match played in Cheviot, while Rakaia secured its place in the semis with a 20-15 win over Prebbleton.
This weekend Darfield will be at home to Rakaia while Southbridge will host Lincoln in the other semi-final.