North Shore’s goal-kicker Hayden Abercrombie turned out to be the hero of the side’s win in the North Harbour premier final over Silverdale after he had a day at the office he would have preferred to forget. Earlier, he had missed three relatively easy penalty goal attempts, one of which was bang in front of the posts.
But after Shore captain James Hincho scored a late try – inevitably in the corner – Abercrombie coolly slotted the most difficult kick of the day, winning the match 17-16 after they managed to hold out for the remaining 9 minutes.
It wasn’t one of Shore’s most convincing victories. As well as Abercrombie’s kicking failures Shore turned down two easy penalty shots at goal, instead trying to push over for tries. Down 6-0 for much of the first spell they finally gained the halftime lead when a strong attack down the right flank was capped by a try to openside flanker Josh Blucher.
But in the second half Silverdale reimposed themselves and looked as if they might have sealed the result from a maul following an lineout from which lock William Lloyd scored. Silverdale First five-eighths Clayton Kiwara, who had a 100 per cent success rate with his boot, converted that, then added a penalty to give Silverdale a nine point lead. By midway through the second half, Shore were behind 16-7.
However, Shore’s late rally that included a penalty and the try gave them their first championship success since 2001.