Waimea skipper Michael Stringer looms as a key figure for his side as they host Waitohi in the Tasman Trophy semi-final this Saturday. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

Marist’s shock loss sees Waimea finish top

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After looking assured to top the table after the regular round Marist was stunned at the weekend, suffering its first loss of the season.

Having won eight of its previous nine encounters and being held to a draw, the Green Machine went down 33-17 to Renwick to hand Waimea Old Boys the minor premiership for 2019.

Marist looked largely untouchable for much of the season until a war with Waimea saw them lose several key players to injury in round seven.

Meanwhile, Waimea needed a last gasp intercept try from its skipper to get past East Coast in a thrilling encounter at Jubilee.

With the scores locked at 33-all and time almost up, a defiant East Coast looked set to steal a dramatic victory after a stunning second half comeback.

Down 26-7 at half-time, East Coast ran in four second half tries to eventually square the scores.

However, Michael Stringer ensured Waimea head into next weekend’s semi-finals still unbeaten after his 50m effort in the 79th minute.

“I just knew I had to get there,” he says.

Saturday will now see semi-final showdowns between Waimea and Waitohi while Marist will host Wanderers.

The hosts head into the weekend as firm favourites and are tipped to meet again in the final following its thrilling meeting during round robin.

This will of course mean a new champion in 2019 after defending champions Nelson had its disappointing campaign come to an end at the weekend.

Nelson finished sixth behind Kahurangi after managing just five wins and a draw.

Stringer says his troops will be raring to go against the top placed Blenheim side on Saturday.

Scorers:

Waimea 40 (Albert, Matangi, Whiting, Palmer, Stringer 2 tries, Palmer 5 cons)

East Coast 33 (Hamilton, Onelevu, Roberton, Moarita, Ranuku, tries, Hamilton 4 cons)

Results:

Waimea 40 def East Coast 33

Renwick 33 def Marist 17

Kahurangi 50 def Waitohi 17

Wanderers 37 def Moutere 24

Central 60 def Stoke 15

Semi Finals:

3pm Saturday June 1

Waimea Old Boys vs Waitohi at Jubilee Park

Marist vs Wanderers at Tahunanui Fields