The Tasman women’s rugby team were highly competitive, but ultimately lost their Farah Palmer Cup match 35-29 to Northland in Whangarei on Saturday afternoon.
The Taniwha women led 13-5 at the break, a first half try to outstanding winger Rebecca Kersten keeping the Mako in touch.
After oranges the home side shot out to an 18-5 lead before Tasman clawed their way back into the contest through a try to centre Wai Greig. Trailing by just six points at 18-12, then later at 30-24, the Mako were well in the contest, but Northland found a stronger finish to take the honours and clinch third place on the championship ladder.
The Mako end up fifth of the six teams but are still in the race for end-of-season honours. The top two sides, Otago and Hawke’s Bay move straight to the semifinals while the bottom four play-off to see who will join them. Tasman travel to take on North Harbour, a side they lost 22-10 to in Blenheim earlier in the season, while Northland will host bottom-placed Taranaki next week.
Tasman coach Chris Binns said his side had created enough opportunities to do better on Saturday, and with better option-taking, could have stolen the match at the end.
“We weren’t far off the pace. They actually played pretty bloody well,” he said. “I couldn’t fault the girls’ commitment to the cause but Northland are a good side.”
Binns was once again pleased with the efforts of his backline, who were responsible for all their five tries.
He said the midfield pairing of Wai Greig, their player of the day, and Jess Drummond was outstanding, creating multiple opportunities. Kersten who, along with Hayley Hutana, scored a brace of tries was another to impress.
Binns said the team management were confident they could put up a strong showing against Harbour.
“We let some opportunities slip last time we met … that was week one and a lot of learning has taken place since then. We will be travelling north with a fair bit of confidence.”
Northland 35 Tasman 29 (Rebecca Kersten 2, Hayley Hutana 2, Wai Greig tries, Hutana 2 con). HT: 13-5.