Raukura gave Inglewood their biggest test of the season last night, pushing the top team right through until the final minutes.
The score of the McDonald Real Estate premier one match ended at 40-34. However, it was a lot tighter for the majority of the battle.
Down 28-30 heading into the fourth quarter, Raukura appeared to have their eyes on the prize, but co-coach Kerry Montgomerie said a few basic errors let them down in the final minutes.
"We were happy with the overall game, but Inglewood showed that extra bit of experience towards the end."
Raukura did a good job of limiting Inglewood's through court speed, which Montgomerie was happy with.
Player of the match Jenna O'Sullivan had another solid game at goal keep for Inglewood, and made it difficult for the Raukura attacking players to find their shooters.
Inglewood coach Tracy White said the game had been a tough challenge for her side. "We were expecting that last week, but we definitely got it this week."
White said she was happy with the way they controlled the ball through court, particularly when Raukura put the pressure on.
Both teams felt there were a number of inconsistencies with the umpiring during the match, which made it tough to adjust at times.
On the adjacent court at the TSB Stadium, Waitara High School gave Naumai a real run for their money.
Down 19-28 at halftime, the schoolgirls staged a spirited fightback in the second half before finishing just short at 44-47.
Naumai coach Vicki Roberts was glad to hear the sound of the final whistle.
"I'm great now that that's over; the old heart was pumping. I made some changes in the third quarter – maybe it was too many – and it put a bit of pressure on the girls, but they played right to the end and didn't give up."
Roberts paid tribute to goal shoot Rachel Joho, who stepped up for the Hawera side, slotting 31 from 38.
In the late game, New Plymouth Old Boys beat Tysons 60-50, which was the Waitara side's third consecutive loss.
Premier two teams play at the same venue tonight.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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