By Rhys Chamberlain courtesy of the Otago Daily Times.
With Wakatipu upsetting Arrowtown 14-11 in the mud at Jack Reid Park and Upper Clutha stunning Clyde-Earnscleugh 44-0 last weekend, the competition has become somewhat of a lottery.
New frontrunners Wakatipu along with Arrowtown and Clyde-Earnscleugh are all within five points of each other at the top of the standings with Maniototo and Alexandra left to fight it out for the other semi-final spot. With just two weeks left to play in the round robin, Wakatipu and Arrowtown each have Alexandra and Cromwell while Maniototo will play Upper Clutha and Clyde-Earnscleugh. Alexandra will have to win its final two matches and hope Maniototo loses both to get the fourth spot.
Finishing first in the round robin has been severely watered down because of the fact the final will be played in Alexandra this season regardless of who the finalists are. Supposedly it is to build the profile of rugby in the region. Personally I can’t see the merit and struggle to see how the profile will grow if sides like Wakatipu, Arrowtown or Maniototo were to square off in a place where the majority of people are really only interested in their own club side. It still holds some merit to finish in the top two to ensure hosting a semi-final but essentially, all the hard work done throughout the season to finish first is now void.
Last of all, Wakatipu can probably throw away the key to its trophy cabinet for the year as the White Horse Cup looks to be safely stowed away with just lowly Cromwell to get through this weekend. Still, stranger things have happened and the Cromwell boys won’t lie down. You can be sure that no stone will be left unturned in the bid to win the biggest prize in Central Otago rugby.
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