A flat second-half performance cost MSP the Father Cleary Shield as they went down to HOB Marist 14-19 on 28 April.
The team played efficient and generally error-free rugby in the first half to lead 11-6 at the break, which Fa'atonu Fili pushed out to 14-6 with his third penalty two minutes after the restart. But from there, little went right and the big HOB Marist side was able to push on for their fifth straight Swindale Shield win.
MSP started well on a Hutt Rec that was in superb condition, a mid-field break by flanker Sio Tuia nearly leading to a try after five minutes. The teams traded penalties and after 15 minutes winger Ryan Setefano was held up over the line. A minute later, he rounded several defenders before flicking an infield pass to centre Aviata Silago who showed fine footwork in darting 20 metres to score.
With Dan Turner and Charlie Graham ruling the lineouts, MSP was looking good in the set pieces. The team turned with a light southerly at their backs but the second half was generally a flat affair as the error rate rose and neither side gained any ascendancy.
A try from a charge down by HOB Marist that closed it to 14-13 proved the half's decisive score. After landing two more penalties, HOB Marist's forwards locked the ball up in the last five minutes and MSP was unable to capitalise on one final share of possession.
A try apiece was a fair reflection of the match but MSP will be disappointed they didn't take more from a winnable game. Here's the video highlights, including the incident late in the game which led to a questionable decision to yellow card N 8 Tevita Ah Wong.