Reserves fall in close battle

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The Howick Hornets did it tough in their Auckland Rugby League quarter final. Times file photo
  • By Josh Garry

It was a bitter sweet weekend for the Howick Hornets in their Auckland Rugby League knock-out quarter finals.

It began with the reserve grade who lost in a close contest 21-18 against a Manukau Magpies side that has stepped up in a big way from the second division this season, making the most of the opportunity to challenge the top sides.

While the players are understandably hurting from the loss, the club remains extremely proud of the efforts and passion they put in week after week.

Not only does this side give its all, but it also plays a vital support role to the premier team, with many of the lads stepping up to the top team during the season.

This not only covers injury, but also keeps pressure on the top side to perform, or risk losing their position to one of the talented reserve graders who are all hungry to earn a spot in Howick’s Fox Memorial Premier side – which is a big reason why there is also sweeter news to speak of from the weekend’s results.

Howick’s Premier side finished second in its pool and earned a home final against a Bay Roskill side which not only was one of just two losses for the Hornets during the regular season, but also quite possibly the biggest following in Auckland Rugby League.
Supporters from both clubs turned up in their hundreds.

It was the local fans however, led by members of The Firm (Hornets’ amazing official supporters club), that had most reason to be at full volume throughout.

The Hornets began strong and played the first half at a tempo the Vikings couldn’t match, sapping their opponents’ energy, remaining patient in attack and setting up a very entertaining second stanza for the home crowd.

The second 40 saw the Hornets take maximum advantage from thier dominant start.

The lads began really shifting the ball running Bay Roskill ragged, scoring some great tries off the back of finals level desperation in their defensive efforts.

Howick brilliantly finished the game 44-6 victors. The whole club realises nothing is won yet.

Next week it’s on to Mt Smart stadium #2 to take on the unbeaten Pt Chevalier Pirates with the winner going on to play for Auckland Rugby League glory in the Fox Memorial grand final.

Howick Hornets v Pt Chevalier Pirates, 2:40pm, Mt Smart stadium #2, entry on O’Rourke Road. $8 adults, $2 children U15. U5s free.