Two consecutive one-point losses saw the Mahurangi College Mixed Touch team fall just short of a national podium place.
The side finished fourth at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Mixed Touch Competition, played at Pulman Park in Takanini from December 7 to 9.
The team has finished as high as second place in 2015, but missed out on the chance to play in this year’s final after losing 8-7 to Lincoln High School, who scored the decider on their last play after the full-time hooter.
Mahurangi then lost the third-place play-off to Taupo Nui a Tia, despite beating it 9-5 in pool play.
The teams were locked up in the play-off 5-5 at full time, before Taupo Nui a Tia scored in the first round of drop-off play to take third place.
Mahurangi College won seven matches during the competition, including wins over Orewa and Rangitoto.