The Hornets had a hard task to topple the second place North Shore Tigers. Boasting a large number of New Zealand representatives in their squad the Tigers had the least number of points scored against them over the first 3 rounds.
The first quarter was very competitive with both teams trading goals. North Shore managed to sneak a lead early on but a resurgence by the Hornets kept them in the chase. The quarter ended 2.2 Howick Hornets to 4.3 North Shore.
The second quarter continued on similar to the first quarter. The Howick backline were kept busy and managed to disrupt many attempts at goal and kept the pressure on the North Shore forwards. The Howick forwards continued to build on the first quarter and ran strong leads and kicked 3 more goals. North Shore lengthened their lead with the wind in the second quarter finishing 5.5 Howick Hornets to 9.5 North Shore.
The third quarter in the match showed you cannot switch off for a quarter against a championship team. North Shore fresh from the half time break came back hot. The momentum shifted in North Shore's favour with the Tigers kicking back to back through the quarter. The Hornets pushed hard to disrupt the Tigers ball as much as possible and showed a lot of heart to keep pushing on. The Tigers dominated the quarter finishing 6.5 Howick to 17.7 North Shore.
The final quarter the Hornets fought back. Unhappy with the previous quarter the Hornets dug deep and kept the ball moving up the field. The Hornets swarmed the North Shore Tigers who were unable to replicate their third quarter performance, the Hornets matched the North Shore tigers goal for goal in the quarter only narrowly missing out on winning the quarter.
There was a lot to take out of the game which the final score does not reflect the effort put in by the Hornets. There were passages of play were the Hornets out played the North Shore Tigers which is really promising to see. Although the score against the Hornets was high, the point to take out of the game was the score against the Tigers. In the first 3 rounds the Tigers had only 97 points scored against them, in one game the Hornets put 60 points on them, nearly 1/3 of the cumulative total over 3 rounds. Each week the team is ever improving their skill and cohesion which will come together nicely for the second half of the season.
Up the Hornets!
Final Score: Howick Hornets 9.6 (60) to North Shore 20.11 (131)
Goals: Andre Azzopardi (6), Stephen Arnold (1), Daniel Bushett (1), Mat Smith (1)
The entire team for their performance as a whole. To put that many point on a skillful team like North Shore shows the team is improving and able to stick it with the top teams. There was only one quarter where the Hornets dropped but the 3 other quarters the Hornets put in a team performance with everyone doing their jobs.