NORTH Shields gave away a winnable game at Preston playing fields as they lost out to Bishop Auckland.
From the kick-off the visitors attacked and within the first five minutes were a penalty ahead.
North Shields, however, fought back as they played good possession rugby and started to utilise the forwards.
The back line got involved and clinically moved the ball out to Dale Jones on the wing to finish off a great team try, with Gavin Duffy converting a hard conversion to make it 7-3.
Shields then took control and saw the majority of possession for the next ten minutes, which resulted in a rampant Jones powering his way through for his second try to male it 12-3 in the home side’s favour.
Bishops responded and a well worked team try followed by a successful conversion brought them to within two points.
Shields then lost skipper Mark Hall with a back injury. Then Andrew Leitch also had to leave the field due to a hand injury.
Shields went into the second half looking to turn the screw, however, Auckland made it a game of two halves and came out flying as the relentless attacks eventually resulted in two tries within quick succession, both of which were converted to put them 24-12 ahead.
Shields did not give up with strong attacking play from both the forwards and backs.
Leitch returned to the field with a swollen hand and shortly after Shields worked up the park and earned a lineout on the 22 which they nominated to go for the trademark catch and drive with Leitch scoring.
With the score at 17-24 it looked once again that Shields could relive the comeback of the previous season, however, Auckland had other ideas as they once again scored another two unconverted tries through Shields mistakes.
Man of the match went to scrum-half John Good, who was strong and clever throughout the game.
On Saturday North Shields head down the A19 for a league game at Seaham.