Mid Canterbury Combined will line up for their final home game, and their final home haka, of the season this weekend against Timaru Boys’ High School. Photo Heather Mackenzie 150619-HM-0044Their winless streak may have continued, but the coaches of the Mid Canterbury Combined 1st XV were still happy with their side’s latest performance.
Mid Canterbury Combined headed to Christchurch on Saturday and took on St Andrew’s, the top side in the Crusaders rugby region’s secondary schools’ competition – the UC Championship – and came home with a 62-6 loss to their names.
But one of the side’s three coaches, Brent Middleton, said his players knew they were always going to be up against it and they actually put up a pretty good fight against a side which they gave away a lot to when it came to size and strength.
“We were pretty happy with that really. As much as people might say how are you happy with that, they are one of the bigger sides we have come across and are no slugs,” Middleton said.
Mid Canterbury Combined trailed at halftime by 22-3, and actually gave St Andrew’s a bit of a fright, forcing them to bring some of their bigger players off the bench which meant the Mid Canterbury Combined scrum all of a sudden found itself going backwards in the second half.
“It came down to a classic case of good big kids beat good little kids,” Middleton said.
Unfortunately Combined’s good run with few injuries also came to an end, with hooker Christian Thompson suffering a season-ending ankle injury, replacement hooker Hamish Kerr breaking his collarbone, and Sam Ree getting knocked out.
That wasn’t ideal heading into their final home game of the competition, which is one that – looking at the standings – they stand a realistic chance of winning, against a Timaru Boys’ High School side that has won just two games this season.
The Ashburton College ball is being held on Friday night, so Mid Canterbury Combined tried to get the game moved.
But they’ve been unsuccessful so the game will kick off at midday on Saturday at the Ashburton College field.
Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 26 June 2019