The Tomarata Seniors rugby team has wrapped up a strong season after losing to Kerikeri in the semi-finals.
The team tied on points with Moerewa to finish first in the Bayleys South Zone Championship but finished second on points differential.
Team manager Patrick Cullinan says the team played well and improved throughout the season.
“It was unfortunate to lose the semi 28-7 against Kerikeri, who are pretty much a premier team,” Patrick says.
Previously, the two teams would not have met in the competition, but under new format rules, the second placed South Zone team plays off against the first placed North Zone side.
“The team was a bit disappointed with the new format, as normally we would have taken on other South Zone teams.
“Northland Rugby will review the competition change over the next few months.”
During the round robin, Tomarata won eight matches, losing just one to Moerewa in the final round.
“Our biggest strength was our defence this year, holding teams out on our own line for 15 minutes at times.
“We also had good numbers with 35 in the squad this year, which covered well for the 10 injuries we suffered.”
Patrick says the standout performers were captain and lock Louis Smith and number eight Eli Atkins.
He says the 19-15 loss to Moerewa, which denied them first place in the South Zone Championship, was a big blow.
“We would have liked to finish first and have a good shot at making the finals. We lost to them in a close game where we were let down by little mistakes and didn’t handle the conditions as well as our opposition.”
Patrick says new coach and ex-Auckland player Lindsay Harris has complemented the side this season.
“He has given lots of little tips from his experience at a higher level of rugby to refine the way the seniors play.”
Senior coaching staff for next year are yet to be confirmed.