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It was fitting that you wrote about the 1984 Galbraith Shield Challenge by Pirates but it seemed a long time waiting as I remember the 1983 which was devastating to lose again to Invercargill (blues)
It was a well fought hard game without either team giving an inch. The Pirates forwards were stirling in their effort. The game was fought in front of a large crowd and Pirates won the toss and kicked off and showed from the outset it was not going to be underdog. Blues was initially forced to back pedal and through a lineout Pirates was awarded the first penalty of the game. Fullback, Kevin Burns missed the kick. The front row of Jeff Rogers, Geoff Clark and Bruce Shields competed well with the Blues front row of Peter Henderson, Mark Crowther and Roger Ramsay.
In contrast things did not go well for the Pirates backs and instead of sticking to their original plan of playing fast rugby and getting the ball to their wingers Roger Kilpatrick and Bruce Pascoe they kicked away valuable possession. To Blues credit though they were probably not allowed to play this style of rugby as their defence was very sound. Playing Steven Pokere at 1st five eight was a good move for Blues as his constant precise kicks had Pirates on the defensive. The lineouts were a messy with neither team dominating and tussles between Colin Blackley (Blues) and Murray Groundwater (Pirates) and Chris Johnson (Blues) and Murray Hewitson (Pirates) made it a good hard game, reminiscient of early rugby games. Pirates won more ball in the first half but for some reason showed less flair and initiative than the Blues team.
Some adventurous blind-side play by Trevor Tomlins, half-back helped to keep Pirates in the game.
Pirates were perhaps a bit unlucky as a penalty goal missed by Blues player, Grant Soper, but bounced off the upright which saw the ball passed slickly through second five eight, Peter O'Callaghan, flanker Tony Proctor and centre Wayne Boynton before it went out to winger Ian Donaldson.
Pirates loose trio of Andy Borland, Sam Anderson and Mafeking Smiler robbed Blues of at the breakdowns and gave hope to the team that they would come out on top.
With eight minutes remaining on the clock , Kevin Burns slotted a penalty which bought it within one point of Blues. Pirates continued to apply pressure and their was silence amongst the Blues supporters when Pirates were awarded a penalty. Brave Kevin Burns elected to kick and it looked good but veered left at and bounced off the upright.
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