Anzac Weekend's rugby round got off to a spectacular start under the lights at Maramatanga Park on Friday night when Te Puke Sports just held on to beat Te Puna 33-31.
Playing night rugby is seemingly not wanted by every club in the Bay of Plenty but the biggest crowd in years at Te Puna showed up to watch the entertainment, including a competitive development game won 18-6 by Te Puke.
In the premier feature visitors Te Puke dominated for long periods but were outscored four tries to three. They dropped two kick-offs that cost them 14 points and let Te Puna back into the game. In the end the trusty boot of halfback Luke Campbell, who kicked seven from nine attempts, got them home.
Campbell was one of the stars of the Wellington under-19 side under Steamers coach Clayton McMillan in 2014.
Te Puna coach Daniel Quate is satisfied with how his young side is tracking.
"If you look at the first five weeks then definitely (happy). Our set piece struggled tonight which wasn't great but we are still building into this first round and overall the young fellows are going really good," Quate said.
"They showed good heart to hang in there until the 80th minute and not chuck the game away. So we will be working on a few technical things around set piece again, which was our downfall last year, so hopefully we can get that right as we move into the business end of the season."
Quate's loose forward trio of flankers Mitch Holton, Martin Stevenson and No8 Kaydin Budd did him proud, as did barnstorming second-five Rueben Lagatule and a sparkling new talent from Matamata in 18-year-old first-five Tana Tahakaraina.
We have had some pretty close wins. It has been pretty frustrating that we can't capitalise on how we are playing but we are still getting the wins.
He scored one try with his nifty footwork and very nearly another late in the game after a 60m-runaway, before he was cut down by a brilliant covering tackle from Te Puke fullback Declan Barnett.
Former All Blacks and Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris played 60 minutes at the heart of Te Puke's dominant scrum in his third consecutive club game after an early season injury. "It's good you know playing with the guys I grew up with and was at school with.
"It is a good chance to get back and see how they are tracking and developing into great club men. I am enjoying getting a few good carries and some tackles under the belt. I played a game of Chiefs Development as well and that was pretty good," Harris said.
"We have had some pretty close wins. It has been pretty frustrating that we can't capitalise on how we are playing but we are still getting the wins."