Darfield on track despite loss

by Kent Caddick

Darfield lost its unbeaten record in this year’s Ellesmere division one rugby competition on Saturday but has secured a spot in the semifinals with one round to go.

Darfield went down to current Ellesmere champions Southbridge at Darfield Domain on Saturday afternoon but the two sides, along with competition leaders Waihora, which had to come from behind to beat Lincoln 18-16, have all secured a place in the semis.

Whether Darfield will be hosting a semifinal match will be determined when the final round of the Ellesmere competition is played, following this weekend’s Southbridge Shield clash between Ellesmere and North Canterbury in Kaiapoi.

Darfield started well in its clash with Southbridge for the McIlroy Sheat Brothers Cup, with centre Richard Catherwood crossing the tryline after just five minutes of the match.

Southbridge fullback Jarrod Sheat cut through for his side’s first try after 12 minutes and added a second 15 minutes later with Southbridge going to the halftime break with a 14-5 lead.

It extended that lead when flanker Jale Masi went over for a converted try 15 minutes into the second spell. Darfield struck back less than five minutes later when halfback Harry Pankhurst burst through the Southbridge defence.

However, Darfield couldn’t score again and Southbridge moved one point above Darfield into second spot on the points table with the 21-10 victory.

Both sides could leapfrog top placed Waihora in the final round of the competition as Waihora will be sitting the round out with the bye. 

Prebbleton, which had a bye on Saturday, look to have done enough to secure the fourth semifinal berth but Lincoln is still in with a chance.

Lincoln will need a bonus point win over Hornby, which lost to West Melton 5-29 on Saturday, in the final round and hope Southbridge beat Prebbleton.

Darfield face Rolleston in the final round and Rolleston will be looking to end their season on a high note after going down to the combined Burnham Dunsandel Irwell side 24-43 on the weekend.

Ratu Luvenitoga, who was playing his 150th match for Southbridge,
charges at the Darfield defence