By Mick Jensen
Woolston Rams were too strong for Ashburton Barbarians in the make or break rugby league encounter at Robilliard Park on Saturday.
In a high scoring game, the travelling team won 46-34 to earn a berth in Canterbury Rugby League Division One grand final on Saturday against Burnham Chevaliers.
Played in front of a sizeable crowd, including a good contingent from Christchurch, the game was fast and furious from the outset, with five tries scored in the opening 15 minutes.
The Rams went in with a first half lead of 24-12, but the Barbarians came back in the second half to score five tries. Barbarians try scorers were Puroku Teakotai, Marvin Brown, Lafaele Talosaga (two) and Xavier Bartlett (two).
The Barbarians finished second behind the Burnham Chevaliers in the table over the normal season and were also unbeaten at home prior to Saturday’s play-off game.
Ashburton Barbarians spokesperson Kate Moses said it was disappointing to lose, but Woolston had executed their game plan to their strengths on the day.
Everyone in our team really stepped up this year and there had been many outstanding performers.
A team would be entered in the upcoming Aoraki Cup and a training recruitment day would be held shortly, with details to be posted on Facebook, said Ms Moses.
Over the course of the normal season Barbarians player Xavier Bartlett was the league’s highest try scorer with 21 tries, while team mate Marvin Brown led the competition’s points tally with 218 points.