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Northcote nailbiter – Shore comes back to lose by one point

Flagstaff Team

Beauties and the Beast… ballgirls (from left to right) Ruby Alpers, Emily Clayton, Cara Te Whui, Maggie Johnson and Rye Brady were part of the North Shore’s Pink Day in support of breast cancer awareness. James Hinchco (below the ballgirls photo) goes on another barnstorming run.

The North Shore premier rugby side had only itself to blame for a 22-21 loss to Northcote at home last Saturday.

Jordon McGregor missed a couple of penalties early on, and sloppy handling and ball retention saw Shore gift Northcote three soft tries in the first half to go down 19-0 with eight minutes of the first spell to play.

Northcote was showing better speed around the field, playing with more desire and counter-attacking well.

But a sin-binning for a high tackle gave a late first-half opening and veteran hooker James Hinchco scored with a typical burrowing drive close to the line. It was Hinchco’s 53rd try, to mark his 198th game for North Shore.

Down 19-7, Shore began the second spell with renewed vigour, Ben Stewart scoring immediately in a half it was to dominate territorially and on the scoreboard (14-3).

As the minutes ticked on, Shore launched wave after wave of attack, with replacements Donald Coleman and Maui Hausia giving it everything they had.

Whereas in the first half turnovers cost tries, in the second half a series of penalties, dropped passes and lost balls denied Shore a great comeback. On the day, Shore’s skill level was not quite up to the standard needed.

North Shore plays Massey away next week in the final round of pool play. With Shore now sitting in fourth place it is a must-win match if Shore wants to secure a home quarter-final on July 5.