Bay of Plenty's unbeaten run in the ITM Cup finally came to an end after losing 30-23 to Northland in Whangarei on Thursday.
After five rounds of the ITM Cup, Bay of Plenty's unbeaten run finally came to an end after losing 30-23 to Northland in Whangarei on Thursday.
The Taniwha ensured their shell-shocked visitors were only able to come away from Toll Stadium with a losing bonus point, as Northland's Championship season continued to move in the right direction.
Both sides scored three tries each in the crossover clash, however the boot of Lachie Munro proved to be the difference between the two teams thanks to three penalties and three conversions from the Northland full-back.
Munro put his team on the scoreboard first with an early penalty, before converting the first of wing Bryce Heem's two tries of the evening that took Northland to a handy 10-0 lead.
Bay of Plenty pivot Dan Waenga replied with a penalty of his own, but the hosts extended their lead after lock Mark Burman grabbed hold of a no-look pass to score Northland's second converted try.
The Steamers hit back straight away thanks to the efforts of flanker Sam Cane who crossed the whitewash for Bay of Plenty's opening try that was dualy converted by Waenga.
Heem then bagged his brace on the stroke of halftime hooter and Munro converted again to end the scoring in the first half, with Northland leading 24-10.
Munro added another two further penalties in the second half to stretch his team's lead to 17 points, and with 15 minutes to play, it looked to be game, set and match for the Taniwha.
However, a try to Bay of Plenty winger Lelia Masaga gave the Steamers a sniff at a comeback as the hosts began to tire with eight minutes to play.
A tighthead scrum then led to try number three for the 'Premiership' leaders in the 77th minute, when Toby Arnold got on the outside of Heem to score.
Waenga's missed conversion meant a draw was all the visitors could hope for but they couldn't force the bonus-point try and had to settle for a single point.
Tries: Burman, Heem 2
Cons: Munro 3
Pens: Munro 3
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Cane, Masaga, Arnold
Pens: Waenga 2
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Simon Munro, 13 Derek Carpenter,12 Aaron Bancroft, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Ash Moeke,9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Eyre, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Joel McKenty (c), 5 Marty Veale, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Mark Burman, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Jack McPhee, 22 Warren Dunn, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Chris Noakes, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jason Hona, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 Lance MacDonald, 10 Dan Waenga, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Carl Axtens, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Leon Power, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 Dan Perrin, 1 Pingi Talaapitaga.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Tristan Moran, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Toby Arnold, 22 Ben Smith, 23 Greg Pleasants Tate.