Thames Valley will have to wait at least another week to celebrate its first win of the season after being beaten 28 -18 by Wairarapa Bush at Masterton on Saturday in the latest round of the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship. Playing on the artificial surface at Memorial Park for the first time, the visiting Thames Valley side found itself behind on the scoreboard after only three minutes following a strong run by Wairarapa Bush fullback Sam Monaghan which led to a try by prop Stan Wright. Jonnie Te Ruki Chambers got Thames Valley on the board with a penalty after ten minutes and second five Bryce Cowley ran strongly to score a converted try in the twentieth minute to give his side the lead. In spite of a period of dominance by Thames Valley, the home side was next to score through halfback John Ika who finished off a neat scrum move to score beside the posts.
There was a long stoppage in play just before half time following a head-knock to Thames Valley try scorer Bryce Cowley, who was stretchered from the field.
Tim Priest kicked a penalty for the hosts to increase their lead to eight points before Thames Valley was rewarded for another period of good play with a sharp try to nifty halfback Ben Bonnar. Moss Doran added the conversion and it was game on at eighteen all. Wairarapa Bush came back with a converted try of their own and regained the lead 26-18. They added a late penalty to put Thames Valley outside the bonus point range until the last play of the game when the visitors were awarded a penalty in kicking range. Doran took the kick but it missed, hit the post and bounced away into touch before the referee signalled full time.
Wairarapa Bush 28 (Stanley Wright, John Ika, Glen Walters tries; Tim Priest 3 con, pen; Andy Humberston pen)
Thames Valley 18 (Bryce Cowley, Ben Bonnar tries; Moss Doran 2 con; Jonnie Te Ruki-Chambers pen)
In other Heartland games, Wanganui continued its unbeaten run with a solid 22-10 win against King Country in Te Kuiti, to remain alone on top of the table. It was the first time this year that Wanganui failed to collect a four try bonus point. South Canterbury gave Poverty Bay a hot reception in Timaru, running up fifty points as they recorded a 52-28 win to consolidate second place. Buller thumped traditional neighbours and rivals West Coast with a comprehensive 48-0 victory at Westport. The Red and Blues now hold third spot on the ladder. North Otago travelled to Ruatoria and secured fourth place on the table with a 48-8 defeat of East Coast. Mid Canterbury put a couple of losses behind them to overcome Horowhenua Kapiti in Levin winning 42-26. The former Meads Cup Champions and perennial table toppers find themselves in mid table occupying sixth position for this week.