Wellington put on a great second half show against the Hibiscus Coast Raiders on Saturday at Stanmore Bay only to be denied a deserved draw when the Raiders snuck in for a try in the dying seconds of the match to break the 32-all deadlock.
Down by 10-22 at the break, Wellington weren't too concerned at the score-line difference as they had crossed the line for two tries and been held up over the line by some great defence on three other occasions.
Although the Raiders stretched that lead to 28-10 shortly after the resumption, Wellington turned on some excellent football (with Chris Faifua, John Tuimanaluga and Taani Lavulavu prominent) and outscored the Raiders in the second half - something that few teams if any have achieved in the last two seasons - to see the scores tied up at 32-all before Daniel Floyd scored the winning try with time almost up.
The win leaves the Raiders on top of the ladder with four from four while Wellington suffered their first loss of the season. However their performance showed that they will remain a real threat and a team not to be taken lightly.
Meanwhile Mt Albert Lions also remained unbeaten when they overcame the Manurewa Marlins by 34-14. For Mt Albert this was another match in which they weren't required to play at their best. Their powerful forwards led by Hutch Maiava and Fui Fui Moi Moi were too strong for the Marlins who, with their fourth game without a win, remain anchored on the foot of the table.
Eastern Tornadoes registered their second consecutive win when they defeated the Glenora Bears by 24-16.
With both teams scoring four tries each, including one to demoted Warrior Logan Swann for the Tornadoes, the difference was in the goal kicking with Jeremiah Pai kicking four for the victors.
Otahuhu Leopards added another two points to their tally when they overcame the Central Falcons by 34-28. Once again the South Aucklanders allowed their opponents too many opportunities to score, but were thankful to centre George Carmont, who scored three tries, and the goal kicking of Boycie Nelson, who kicked five.
Marist Richmond managed a win also when they overcame the Canterbury Bulls in another high scoring match, 46-28.
At Birkenhead the Northcote Tigers faced a very physical Taranaki Wildcats and came away winners by 42-26.
The Tigers had Warrior player Brent Webb at fullback and he had a number of opportunities to show his class. The main recipient was usual fullback Kamahl Ganley who came off the bench to score three tries.
The Tigers were out weighed by the visitors but were "tigerish" in defence and played some attractive and expansive football to score eight tries in their impressive win.