Prebbleton underlines title hopes

by Kent Caddick

Prebbleton has reinforced its title credentials with a win over Ellesmere division one rugby high-fliers Waihora on the weekend.

Prebbleton handed the table-topping Waihora its first defeat of the season with a close fought 21–19 win at the Canterbury Country combined champ’s home ground in Tai Tapu.

The win moves Prebbleton into third place on the competition ladder and in line for a play-off spot.

The win also helped Darfield close the gap on Waihora at the top of the table to just one point. Darfield had helped itself to maintain contact with Waihora with a come from behind win to beat defeating champions Southbridge at Southbridge on Saturday afternoon.

Darfield was the first to score in the match when centre Dave Bennett broke through the Southbridge line to score after 10 minutes.

Southbridge stalwart Michael Sheat, left, presents the McIlroy Sheat Brothers 
Cup to Scott and Blair McIlroy

A try and a penalty to Southbridge had the home side in front at half-time, 10–7, and it extended its lead five minutes into the second spell with a Jarrod Sheat try, which was converted. In the 60th minute, Darfield broke through the Southbridge defence to put Sheldon Reed in for a try and with 10 minutes remaining Darfield had closed the gap to 14–17.

Darfield launched a series of raids on the Southbridge try line and had a try ruled out for being held up.

However, the visitors kept the pressure on and with five minutes remaining Blair McIlroy burst through a number of tackles to score what was the match-winning try.

McIlroy and brother Scott, making a rare appearance for the Darfield seniors this season, were both on hand to receive the McIlroy Sheat Brothers Cup from Southbridge stalwart Michael Sheat at the end of the match.

Despite the loss, Southbridge remains in the top four, one point behind third-placed Prebbleton.
In other matches, Burnham Dunsandel Irwell had a big win over hapless Hornby, 51–19, Lincoln thumped Rolleston 39–15 and Springston had a 24–19 win over West Melton.