Barbarians just pipped at the post

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Ashburton Barbarians double try scorer Cruise Tare wrapped up by Linwood Keas during grand final play. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
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Ashburton Barbarians missed out on securing a win in their grand final battle against defending champions Linwood Keas in the Canterbury Rugby League premier reserves at the weekend.

They lost 10-20 in the 2023 Happy Hire Canterbury Rugby League Grand Final Day at Ngā Puna Wai, in Christchurch.

It was a thrilling ISC Canterbury Cup decider which came down to the final quarter of play.

The Keas led 10-4 at halftime through tries to outside-backs Uili Uili and Lachlan Havill.

Goal scorer Misi Lei makes a move. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE

The Barbarians stayed in the game however, and second-rower Cruise Tare’s second try levelled the scores up with 25 minutes to go.

But it was not to be.

The Keas clicked into gear to dominate the final quarter of the match.

Uili put the Keas back in front with a second try before five-eighth Sammy Saufatu stepped and powered his way over.

The result completed an outstanding finals campaign for the fourth-placed Keas, who defeated the table-topping Greyhounds in Greymouth before thwarting the Barbarians in a tense decider at Ngā Puna Wai.

Keas club legend Aga Fiso was named player of the match.


ISC Canterbury Cup Grand Final points:
Linwood Keas 20 (Uili Uili 2, Lachlan Havill, Sammy Saufatu tries; Rangitane Thompson 2 goals) defeated Ashburton Barbarians 10 (Cruise Tare 2 tries; Semisi Lei goal).

Hazani Faamoetauloa. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Barbarian Aaron Heke makes a move. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Barbarian Mavin Brown, at left, works with his team mates in defence. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Nate Robinson. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Puroku Mataiti. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Pasi Hala. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Maci Sakalevu. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
Misi Lei. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE
George Hufanga offloads the ball. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE