Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay 17 - 22 USRC Tigers
By Grant Beuzeval
The Bay run out of time to secure first Premiership win
Last seasons league winners, USRC Tigers, took an early lead and never relinquished it against by chipping away through Robbie Keiths boot in a game that ended with the Bay out-scoring the visitors by two tries to one.
It was a tough up front tussle throughout with Sandy Bay benefiting from the return of Jack Delaforce and Dylan Rogers who both looked fighting fit, while young Callum Tam got through another full 80 minutes at hooker in the absence of Ben Roberts, Alex Post and Jak Lam.
A fortuitous series of events lead to an early try to Tigers after 7 minutes but Bay fought back and rumbled over for a tidy forwards try through evergreen prop, Fai Mika, at the 17 minute mark.
It was case of the Bay not taking their shots when points were on offer which saw them fall behind and inevitably leave their run too late. Tigers suffered a red card after 50 minutes which reopened the door for the home side who are still looking for rhythm in the backline with the absence of five outside backs and Liam Slatem at scrum half. They did manage a late try to pack-leader Lawrence Babe but in the final five minutes could not convert immense pressure into the final required points that might have carried them to victory.
It will be encouraging to coaches Wilkinson and Wilson that the team is making progress each week and all but a few crucial on-field decisions have denied the new Premiership club a vital first victory.
Next week, sees Sandy Bay at The Rock for a fourth round fixture against HK Scottish.