Pleasant Point too classy for Mackenzie By STU PIDDINGTON - The Timaru Herald Last updated 05:00 02/06/2009
Pleasant Point cruised past Mackenzie 67-5 in their catch-up senior rugby game at Pleasant Point Domain yesterday.
The result leaves Pleasant Point clearly in third place on 31 points but well behind pacesetters Celtic and Harlequins. Celtic is a point ahead of defending champions Harlequins on 40 despite having lost to them.
The real interest however is on whether Old Boys, Temuka or Geraldine will grab the fourth semi-final spot with five games remaining and each having to play each other. Old Boys sit on 20 points, one ahead of Temuka who they face this weekend.
The Magpies will have the advantage of home-town support and also have already defeated the Blues this season, albeit by a narrow margin.
Pleasant Point were always expected to beat Mackenzie but the scoreline did not do justice to the Rams pack, who played well in patches.
The hosts were, however, too classy in the backline and their No 7 Hamish Westgarth thrived in the open play.
One positive for South Canterbury was the return of former New Zealand Schools lock Andrew Scarlett to the district.
Back on his father's farm the big lock ensured some parity in the lineouts for Mackenzie and scored a brilliant try while hovering out on the wing.
Pleasant Point were into their stride early scoring after five minutes through No 8 Cale Toomey, though it took the touch judge's input after the referee first appeared to award a scrum to Mackenzie for a knock-on but then changed his mind.
Second five-eighth John Peters strolled his way to the line after stepping his man and fullback Tony Fatai landed his second conversion for a 14-0 lead.
Two minutes later Toomey grabbed a second as the flood gates started to open and then Westgarth burst off the back of a maul, with Fatai adding the extras for a 26-0 lead.
Three quarters of the way through the half and Mackenzie got over in a try that even the staunchest Pleasant Point supporter appreciated.
Mackenzie halfback Todd Gallagher retrieved a kick close to his own 22m and cleverly jinked his way past three tackles before spotting Scarlett unmarked out wide.
Gallagher's banana kick was scooped up by the big lock who loped 30m to score.
The second half started with Peters slipping his man and waltzing 20m metres to score the easiest try of the season.
Peters was the architect of the next try when his chip kick was snatched out of the Mackenzie defenders' hands by centre Josh Bradley and they were up 38-5.
Mackenzie then had a purple patch after lock Scott Rowland joined the Rams pack and they twice threatened to score.
Midway through the half one of the competitions form players, wing Simon Murray caught a pass with his hand behind him and controlled the ball, running 50m to outstrip the defence. Stand-in first five-eighth Aaron Geary then put away Bradley for a try before hooker Jeremy Cunningham got in to the act. Substitute fullback Mike McKenzie slotted the conversion to make the score 59-5 with 10 minutes to play.
Murray and Cunningham then grabbed another each before the rout was over.
For Pleasant Point Westgarth was a stand-out, along with Peters and Murray in a well performing backline. Mackenzie however were not without heart and Henry Callaghan played well at No 7 with Scarlett put in some big tackles. Gallagher worked hard while Damon Smith was tidy outside him but the best of the backs was Matt Stefferson on the right wing who tackled his heart out all day and had only the one blemish under the high ball.