For the second year running, the Arrowtown Premiers rugby side has lost a Central Otago semi-final it was favoured to win.
The Bulls were pipped 14-11 last Saturday despite playing on their own Jack Reid Park for the first time all season.
Coach Richie Anderson pays credit to Cromwell - whose supporters also outnumbered Arrowtown’s - but says “we made some mistakes and some of the game plan wasn’t adhered to”.
“In the last 15 to 20 minutes, we didn’t play to our strengths and we were trying to do catch-up rugby - maybe we were just a little bit impatient.”
They were also on the receiving end of an “horrendous” 19-5 penalty count.
Arrowtown lost some key players in the lead-up but Anderson isn’t using that as an excuse.
During the two round robins, in which they finished second to Maniototo, Arrowtown beat every other team in the competition - “but it doesn’t win you a championship”, Anderson adds.
Asked his players of the season, he mentions the “old guys” like Aidan Winter, Eddie Sefo and John Morrison but gives special mention to newbies, Arrowtown-raised Jack Swain and Zak Garrick along with halfback Angus Larsen.
“We called [Larsen] ‘baby face’ when he first turned up because everyone thought he looked about 12.”
In Alexandra this Saturday, Cromwell will play Maniototo for the championship and Arrowtown will play Clyde-Earnscleugh in a playoff for third - the latter team lost their semi 5-0 to Maniototo.
Not that Anderson can muster much enthusiasm for the game - “it’s a bit like kissing your sister, I suppose”.