League: Eels start season with comfortable win

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Tauranga's Otumoetai Eels came home from the one-venue opening of the 2016 WaiCoaBay Premiership with two points in the locker.

All the games of the opening round of the competition were played at Tokoroa's Memorial Park with the day judged to be a massive success.

"There was a really good vibe, and just a lot of people there to promote the game and support their respective clubs," said Upper Central Zone Rugby League operations officer Mel Bennett.

The Eels got the season off to a winning start with a 54-26 win over Hamilton United. The Eels tryscorers were Josh Tupou (3) Thomas Mahutonga (2), Cruz Walker, Josh Weeden, Mark Ballantyne, Maka Mohi with Weeden converting all nine tries.

The Eels' reserves had a narrow win 28-26 over Hamilton United.

Nine clubs will compete in the WaiCoaBay Premiership, including two sides from Hamilton, two from Rotorua and one each from Tokoroa, Taupo, Tauranga, Ngaruawahia, and Huntly.

The last time a combined competition like this was staged was 2012 before the Bay of Plenty district broke away and ran their own competition in 2013.

Results:

Premiership: Pacific Sharks 12 Hamilton City Tigers 18; Ngongotaha Chiefs 14 Turangawaewae 30; Taupo Phoenix 22 Taniwharau 10, Otumoetai Eels 54 United 26, Pikiao Warriors - bye.

Reserves: Pacific Sharks 34 Hamilton City Tigers 23, Central Lions 74 Turangawaewae 4, Reporoa Razorbacks 28 Taniwharau 34, Otumoetai Eels 28 United 26, Pikiao Warriors bye

Division One: Papamoa Bulldogs 8 Mangakino Hawks 50, Taneatua Warriors 16 Putuaki Stags 18, Tauhara Te Maunga bye.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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