CLOSE, damn close, but no cigar.
The Southland Boys’ High School (SBHS) first XV had one hand on the silverware in the final of the Otago Premier Schools’ competition in Dunedin on Saturday.
The side was ahead 24-23 with just more than a minute left on the clock against Otago Boys’ High School (OBHS) at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
But there was just enough time left for classy OBHS first five-eighth Finn Hurley to step up and slot a 35m dropped goal and win the game for the Dunedin school.
It was a tough 26-24 loss to take for the visiting side, which had come back into the game after being down 17-0 in the first half and lucky to not be further behind.
OBHS appeared to have scored a third try in the first half but it was ruled out.
SBHS ended up coming back into the game in the later stages of the first half with impressive lock Billy Andrew scoring.
It then took over the game in the second half and through tries to midfielder Caleb Williams and hooker Jack Taylor, along with the educated boot of Kaea Nikora-Balloch, the southerners hit the lead in the final minutes.
But it was not to be as Hurley, who ironically, comes from Southland and played for Gore High School before moving north a couple of years ago, emerged the hero.
Southland probably did not get the rub of the green in the game but kicked the ball away in attacking areas too often.
Taylor played well for Southland as did Nikora-Balloch while the Southland tight five worked hard.