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Lots of interesting match-up this Saturday as teams in all grades jostle for semi-final positions
North Canterbury Rugby Sub Union
www.sportsground.co.nz/northcanterburyrugby
Ross Dixon
North Canterbury
 , Rugby Administrator-Secretary

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Former Black Cap Peter Fulton is eyeing a post-cricket career as a top-level rugby referee.

After missing out on a national contract for the 2014-15 season, the Canterbury skipper is keen to continue playing first-class cricket for as long as he can, but has started planning for life after cricket.

Fulton said he had been interested in becoming a rugby referee for a while, and has now made moves to get involved.

"The last couple of years I've been thinking about it and it's just been a matter of finding the time to do it, which has been a bit hard when you're still playing cricket. But it's something I'm now starting to look more seriously at.

"I made some inquiries at the start of this winter, but it was just going to be a bit hard to fit in. So hopefully next winter I can get into it."

Fulton played rugby to a high level as a youngster, making the Canterbury Colts team before being forced to choose which sporting path he was going to take in his early 20s.

More surprising still, the lanky right-handed batsman, known as "two-metre Peter", was a flying fullback in his day.

Fulton said he was still an avid watcher of rugby at all levels.

"I understand the game pretty well and always have plenty of advice to give the referees, so I guess it's a bit of a case of put up or shut up."

The 35-year-old said he has aims of progressing through the New Zealand system and refereeing at international level.

"If I'm going to do it, I guess it's like most things I've done with my sporting career - I want to try to do them as well as I can and go as high as I can," he said.

"I'm under no illusions as to it being tougher than it looks, but it's definitely something I'd be committed to."

Fulton also knows he would be embarking on a profession in which he won't always be a popular figure.

His only previous official refereeing experience was helping out a friend with an under-13 team, which opened his eyes to the sort of "feedback" referees receive.

"A couple of times during the season the referee didn't show up, so I had to get out there with the whistle myself.

"Even though it was only schoolboy level, it was certainly an interesting experience with the coaches on the sideline and the parents and everyone keen to give their advice."

Fulton is going on holiday in a couple of weeks, then will get stuck into pre-season training with Canterbury. Having notched up the record for most first-class runs for the province last season, he is closing in on the most games this year.

"I still enjoy playing for Canterbury and I don't really see it as a step backwards," he said.

"It's what I've grown up doing and what I love doing."

SOURCE - NZ Herald
- NZ Heral
MORE CLOSE MATCHES IN SENIOR RUGBY
By Peter Williams  July 19
The closeness of this season’s North Canterbury Luisetti Seeds Division 1 rugby competition was further exemplified last Saturday when all three matches were again closely-contested affairs.
Ashley remain unbeaten in this competition but were pushed all the way by a determined Oxford side in a match played in excellent conditions at Oxford. Ashley took an early lead courtesy of a try to fullback Toby Ashby and some accurate goalkicking by first five Dan Cook, but Oxford matched that effort through a try to Logan Telfer and Sean Thompson’s goal-kicking. The scores were level 13-13 at halftime. Ashley got their nose in front with another penalty but it was very late in the game before they put the result beyond doubt with a try to Andrew Dunbar and more accurate kicking by Cook, who had a strong all-round match. Prop, Hamish Sword and loose forward, Matt King, were to forefront of an efficient Ashley forward effort. The final score 29-13 certainly did not truly reflect how close the match was but the Deans Shield remains in Ashley’s possession for at least another week. .
The Saracens/Glenmark fixture at Southbrook was another very close game that could have gone either way. Both teams were intent on moving the ball, which made for an entertaining game. Saracens were more effective at the breakdown particularly in the first half. Speedy wingers Sunia Kubu (Glenmark) and Josh Harrison (Saracens) were the first half try-scorers. Glenmark were probably fortunate to only trail by 5-11 at halftime as Saracens managed to bomb at least three other real try scoring opportunities.
In the second half, though, Glenmark tightened their play and their forwards gained a clear ascendancy in the setpiece.  A try to Tim Loughnan, who was awarded the Waimak Real Estate Player of the Day award for his efforts, and a second to Kubu gave Glenmark a handy 17-11 lead. With five minutes remaining Saracens left winger, Grant Broderson, scored a good try wide out but the conversion was unsuccessful and for the second time this season, Glenmark had triumphed over Saracens by just a solitary point.
At Kaiapoi, the home team made hard work of their assignment against Ohoka. The visitors clearly had the better of the first half, dominating territory and possession. Tries to Lalomilo Tufesilafai and Jesse McNulty were well constructed and gave Ohoka some return on their efforts, although they probably deserved a bigger half-time lead. For Kaiapoi, left winger Maka Tusani, who always looked a threat, scored a good try.
Kaiapoi made some significant personnel changes that contributed to a much-improved second-half performance. Grant Bryce maintained his impressive try-scoring form by dotting down in his fourth consecutive match. This narrowed the deficit to 12-10 but it was late in the match w hen one of Kaiapoi’s second-half replacements, Ricky Kennett, put his side into the lead, and they held on to secure themselves a semi-final slot.
There will be plenty to play for in the final matches of round-robin play this Saturday. While the three teams who won on Saturday, Ashley, Kaiapoi and Glenmark are now all assured of a place in the semi-finals, none of them are yet guaranteed a home semi-final. It will be the Oxford v Saracens match at Oxford, though, that will command most attention. Whichever of these two proud Clubs lose on Saturday, their season will be over while the winner will earn itself a semi-Final matchup  against the top qualifier.
If the Ashley can retain their unbeaten record in this competition by beating Ohoka on Saturday, they will win the Colin Rowland Trophy and be the top qualifier. Even though Ohoka is without a win in this competition, this is far from a foregone conclusion. Over the last 3 weeks Ohoka’s losses have all been by three points or less and they have certainly shown enough to suggest that if they can put it together for a full 80 minutes and eliminate some silly mistakes, they would beat any team in the competition.
FROM THE SIDELINES
Woodend’s lead in the Mike Greer Homes NC Division 2 competition was shortlived as last Saturday they went down narrowly to Saracens 12-13, allowing Hurunui, courtesy of a win by default over Ashley, to regain the lead in this competition, with just one day’s play remaining. Hurunui (32 points), Woodend (31) Saracens (26) and Amberley (25) are now confirmed as the semi-Finalists in this grade with the results of Saturday’s matches confirming who what the semi-Final match-ups will be.

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Glenmark-Cheviot have assured themselves of being the top-qualifier in the Division 2 Reserve Section. They have the bye this Saturday but with a six-point buffer over Ohoka, they cannot be overtaken.
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The winner of the Under 14½ match  between Hurunui and Kaiapoi at Waiau next Saturday will earn themselves a place in the semi-Finals on 2 August. They currently share 4th position behind Saracens, Ashley and Woodend, all of whom have already cemented their semi-Final places.

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Saturday’s matches  will also decide the Under 13 Semi Finalists., The top two from each section will  qualify for the Semi-Finals. The points as they currently stand in the play-off round are:
Section 1: Ohoka 9, Kaiapoi, 9, Ashley Blue 8, Oxford 4
Section 2: Ashley Green 12, Hurunui 4, Amberley 4, Saracens 0

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One of the most interesting results last Saturday was in the Under 13 grade where Ashley Green just managed to hold onto the Challenge Shield beating Kaiapoi 31-29. Kaiapoi started the season with two teams in this grade but had insufficient numbers to maintain both teams so one team was withdrawn. Not surprisingly, the Kaiapoi team are now significantly stronger and are in with a very good chance of qualifying for the Semi-Finals.



Ross Dixon's contact details are as follows:
Address: 18 Green Street, Rangiora, 7400
Phone: 0275 555361 or 03 310 7870