Favoured sides Counties Manukau and Akarana will again meet in the final at the national women’s tournament tomorrow but only after the little-fancied Mid-Central Vikings gave the title-holding Stingrays an unholy scare in the semi-finals at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura today.
The Counties Manukau side went into its semi-final having dominated all three opponents in pool play beating the Auckland Vulcans (40-0) as well as the Vipers (46-10) yesterday before shutting out the Akarana Falcons 22-0.
The Vipers had beaten Canterbury 20-12 and the Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 24-10 in their preliminary matches but the nature of their loss to the Stingrays yesterday suggested the semi-final would be one-way traffic.
It was nothing but as the Vipers went to halftime just 6-10 down and then stunned their much-vaunted opposition with a second converted try to take a 12-10 lead with 10 minutes to play.
They couldn’t hold on, though, with a Sarah Filimoeatu try putting the Stingrays 14-12 ahead and then resisting the Vipers as they pushed for a match-winner.
So, it will be a predictable final between the old firm or Counties Manukau and Akarana.
Akarana breezed through its semi-final 48-4 against Canterbury today. The Falcons didn’t concede a point beating Wai-Coa-Bay 56-0 and Canterbury 46-0 yesterday but were held scoreless by the Stingrays in their final pool game this morning.
NZRL NATIONAL WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT
Akarana 56, Wai-Coa-Bay 0
Counties Manukau 40, Auckland 0
Mid-Central 20, Canterbury 12
Counties Manukau 46, Mid-Central 10
Auckland 16, Wai-Coa-Bay 0
Akarana 46, Canterbury 0
Counties Manukau 22, Akarana 0
Mid-Central 24, Wai-Coa-Bay 10
Auckland 10, Canterbury 6
Counties Manukau 14, Mid-Central 12
Akarana 48, Canterbury 4