After 60 minutes of giving it their all, Gore High’s under-14 rugby team were just five points short of an unbeaten run this season.
The team went down 26-31 against Central Southland College in the final of the grade, played in Gore on Saturday.
Earlier in the season Gore High won the match-up 21-14.
Harry Swain and Richard Pasco coach the team.
Pasco said the team were evenly matched, which made it a close encounter.
‘‘Their forwards probably outplayed us a little bit but our backs were a bit sharper than theirs.’’
Despite the cold and showery weather a good-sized crowd lined both sides of the field.
Central Southland opened the scoring and were ahead 12-nil before Gore High got on the scoreboard with a converted try.
Central scored in reply but Gore High crossed the try line just before halftime to close the gap to 12 -17 at the break.
In the second half the honours were shared with two converted tries apiece.

Breaking through. . . Gore High under-14 wing Sione Afu, 14, brushes off one tackler in a run up the field during the Rugby Southland final of the competition in Gore on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore High struggled to build momentum and keep possession, Pasco said.
‘‘We turned over the ball too often.
‘‘That stopped us getting our flow going in our game.’’
Central dominated the breakdown, which did not make it easy for the players either.
Unlike Gore High who romped into the final with a 59-19 win against Southland Boys’ Red, Central had a hard game against James Hargest last week which had prepared them well for the final, Pasco said.
It was disappointing to lose but the boys kept going to the end whistle.
‘‘I’m happy with how they played and how they handled it.
‘‘They put everything into it.’’
The wet conditions did not help.
‘‘Our team would have preferred a dry day for sure because of our backs.’’
The team had a very good season.
‘‘They all work so hard and try hard.
‘‘That was our strength.’’