Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Errors kill fans' high hopes

It was a look back to 2012 for Auckland sports fans over the weekend after poor results tempered hopes of new beginnings.

A crowd of 25,000 turned up to Eden Park yesterday afternoon full of expectation that Sir John Kirwan's young side could secure a third straight win.

Fans who have endured several hard seasons of poor results flooded into Eden Park, their mood matching the weather.

Many, including Tom and Wendy Green, had watched the Warriors badly lose their season opener 40-10 against the Eels the night before.

And in the cricket, New Zealand's dominance in the first innings faded as England hung on for a draw.

There was better news after the Black Sox beat Venezuela 4-1 in Auckland yesterday to win a record-breaking sixth world softball championship.

The Greens, returning to Eden Park after several years' absence, were hopeful that the Blues could be another bright spot.

Every second person in the crowd around them proudly wore a blue and white jersey, some new; others pulled out from deep in the drawer.

"Last year was a real kick in the pants, but we still followed them," said Mr Green, who had brought granddaughter Cheyne - sporting blue butterfly facepaint - to attend her first game.

"There's a real camaraderie there this year, you can see how happy all of the players are, even the reserves."

But after kick-off groans soon replaced cheers as an error-ridden display from the Blues largely silenced the crowd.

Rene Ranger gave fans hope after a brilliant try on 76 minutes brought them to within four points.

But when Morne Steyn lined up a shot at goal to close out the game 28-21 just minutes later, the disappointed fans began to file out. Nicholas Jones

- NZ Herald

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