In some of the worst conditions this writer has seen in terms of a combination of wind and rain, Dunedin ground out a meritorious win, led by its committed pack.
The southerly howled up the harbour carrying rain, sand and the odd crayfish.
The entire game was played down the touch line by the club rooms and such was the force of the wind throwing the ball to the line out was a disadvantage.
It was nearly impossible to pass into the teeth of the gale.
The ball never went past second five and that was normally crash ball.
The Dunedin pack dominated the first half at scrum, ruck and maul time and spent the majority of the game inside Harbour’s 10-metre line.
But after 30 minutes Dunedin had only a solitary Louis Tili penalty to show for it, due to the resolute Harbour defence.
After 33 minutes Dunedin looked as if was about to score, only for lock Ben Whale to intercept on his line and scamper 90m before being dragged down.
From the ensuing ruck halfback Vinnie Isherwood strolled over to give the Hawks an undeserved two-point lead.
Just on halftime Dunedin regained the lead, as lock Elliot Adamson pounced on a loose ball over the line from a disrupted line out to take a two-point lead into the break.
Dunedin lost replacement hooker Sam Anderson Heather to a red card for a murky ruck infringement 10 minutes into the second spell and looked likely to face an uphill battle.
Such was the redundancy of the outside backs, Dunedin opted to play with one back down.
Dunedin continued to dominate through its scrum and maul intensity and was rewarded when prop Don Brighouse crashed over for a converted try and a 10-point lead after 20 minutes of the second spell.
Harbour struggled to get any field position and most of its promising forays were hampered by bad handling.
They finally got into the Dunedin 22 with three minutes to play.
Replacement winger Marckis Schaaf crashed over for a converted try to cut the lead to three, but it was too little, too late.
Brighouse was Dunedin’s best but all the forwards were outstanding.
Gareth Evans dominated the line outs and Hame Toma was indefatigable in the loose.
Ben Whale was Harbour’s best and flanker James Tomkinson tore into everything.