On a beautiful sunny day at Lower Ngawhatu, Victory Phoenix hosted Wairau Taniwha in local rugby league action on Saturday.

With both teams tied on 9 competition points going into the game, the winner will take a big step in finishing the regular season in top spot and gaining automatic qualification to the grand final on the 14th July.

In a tight first half, Simon Duncan opened the scoring for the Taniwha, which he duly converted. With time also up in the first half, the Taniwha extended the lead to 10-0 with a sweeping movement that started from inside their own 20 metre line which was finished off by Fetu Ieremia.

The second half started with an error by the Taniwha from the kick off. From the first set of 6 following the goal line drop out, Victory scored down the left hand side to narrow the gap to one converted try.

The Taniwha dominated the next stage of play but knew that 10 points weren’t going to be enough to win the game. Tana Pouniu crashed over from dummy half against a tiring defence. The 12 point margin was short lived as Fabyan Noonan scored off a set play which created the space for him to out sprint the defence and score under the posts for Victory to bring the margin back to 6 points.

Simon Duncan maintained the 2 score lead by potting a field goal. With around 5 minutes to go Victory were on attack, however a loose pass was intercepted by Taniwha winger Phil Roberts who raced over 70 metres to score a converted try and clinch the game for the Taniwha.

Simon Duncan got his second dropped goal of the half to make the final score 24-10 to the Taniwha.

Thanks to everyone who came along and supported both teams and special thanks to Victory Phoenix for putting on a sausage sizzle. Just what was needed while watching the action on the field. Big thanks to the Jack, Tony & Ben who were our match officials for the game.

Next Saturday the Wairau Taniwha host the Motueka Tigers out at Oliver park, Blenheim. Kick off is at 2:30pm.