Marist utility Cleve Barrell had a busy outing for his side during their scrappy 21-10 win over East Coast at Tahunanui Fields. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport NZ.

Nelson stay top

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Nelson remain top of NPD Tasman Trophy table following a comfortable win over Moutere on Saturday.

Marist are nipping at their heels but still sit second after failing to take a bonus point in their 21-10 victory over East Coast.

A scoreless second half left coach Gavin Briggs frustrated and ruing lost opportunities, as Marist couldn’t convert their chance to leapfrog Nelson.Marist had the first chance for points but second five James Hawkey pushed a regulation penalty attempt just wide.

They eventually broke their bagel after turning down another shot at three and opting for the corner.

After an untidy throw to the line out, flanker Kasima Sami cleaned up for the green machine before the backs shifted it to Cleve Barrell, who found himself in space and powered his way over. Coast got themselves on the board through a penalty goal to Nicholas Herreros, but Marist continued to dominate both territory and possession.

Lock Caleb Havili had an immense game, picking off pilfers, producing bone-rattling tackles and was Marist’s top metre-eater. The green machine scored their second on the back of a superb break by winger Richard Tau’alupe who left several East Coast defenders in his wake.

Livewire scrum half Cayden Edwards had a stellar first half, his break from the base putting Marist in range as number eight Te Puoho Stephens dotted down for their third.

It would be Cayden’s final act of the game, coming off the field with a shoulder injury, Barrell moving into half back.

His opposite Nemia Ranuku then put East Coast on the board, burrowing his way under the fringe defence just before the break.

Marist kept Coast camped inside their own 22 for the majority of the second half but were unable to crack the line.

East Coast defended bravely to deny Marist a crucial try scoring bonus point and force the hosts into numerous errors.

The hosts had a final shot at their bonus point with an attacking lineout, but the ball was lost into touch as referee Dave Woodhouse called curtains on a dour half of rugby.

Gavin says, while he will take the win, he wasn’t too pleased with the lack of patience his side showed at times.

The Marist coach says the bye couldn’t have come at a better time next week.

Gavin says, it would have been nice to get the bonus point, but his team are “still in the dog fight.”

In other results, Waitohi travelled to Brightwater to take on a rebuilding Wanderers side, the hosts upsetting the ‘Tohis 26-24 in a thriller.

The weekend’s game of the round saw the leading Marlborough sub union team, Renwick, host Kahurangi at the Renwick Domain as the hosts defended the John Goodman Challenge Trophy for the very first time. Renwick held onto the trophy after a 40-26 win.

Fresh from the bye last weekend, Waimea Old Boys went down to Central 31-27 at Jubilee Park. The round’s final game saw competition leaders Nelson travel over the hill to take on Moutere.

Nelson remain at the top of the table after a 33-18 win.