Home has been a happy hunting ground as Volleyball Tauranga hosted 15 matches in the Northern Zone and Midlands indoor volleyball leagues on Saturday.
Tauranga men and women's A needed two wins to keep in touch with the top four in the Northern Zone.
Tauranga men's A played Hamilton A first, with Tauranga comfortable for most of the match, the only glitch at the end of the second set which they lost 25-27. Tauranga took the match 3-1.
The second game was against Playaz (South Auckland), who Tauranga hadn't beaten in the past season.
The first three sets were tight, with only two points separating the teams. Tauranga needed to win the fourth set to send the match to a decider, with Cameron Shaw making an impact off the bench with a run of serving that swung the momentum Tauranga's way.
Then the blocking stepped up a notch, with Russell Gordon and Richard Martin getting kill blocks at crucial times to help secure a 25-19 win. Tauranga opened up an early lead in the fifth set thanks to tough serving by Mark Petersen and outstanding defence by Blake Giles, taking it 15-11 and the match 3-2.
Tauranga women's A started the day with a comfortable win over Hamilton A 3-0, Anna Williamson's serving earning plenty of easy points.
It was tighter against Waitakere, with Tauranga forced to change their starting line-up, with Williamson taking over the setting role from Shannen Bagge and down two sets early.
They were staring at the prospect of a 3-0 defeat when they were 23-22 down in the third but reeled off three points from the serving of rookie Amy Hunter to take it 25-23.
That was the turning point that gave Tauranga momentum, taking the fourth set comfortably 25-12 and the last 15-11.
Captain Taina Savage played outstandingly and was well supported by Lisa Claassen. Megan Ranapia and Kiri Hirini blocked well in the latter part of the game to shut down the Waitakere hitters.
In the division 2 Midlands League, Bay of Plenty teams were as dominant as possible, downing Waikato and Taranaki to hold the top two spots in both the men's and women's league.
In the men it was Rotovegas who continued their winning way with two 3-0 victories, and Mt Maunganui who reversed their previous result against Tauranga B to move into second place.
In the women, both Tauranga B and Tauranga Raiders were undefeated going into the last game of the round where they met. Tauranga B took the early advantage and the first set 26-24 but from there Raiders rallied and showed their excellent team dynamic to grab a 3-1 win.
Tops in Mooloolaba
Former Tauranga sailor Stuart McKinven helped his Gulf Harbour crew win the Australasian Etchell-class championship in Mooloolaba over the weekend.
The 30-year-old former Mount College student, who was part of BMW Oracle's 2007 America's Cup campaign, teamed with Alastair Gair, David Ridley and Derek Scott to win the championship in a thrilling finale.
After 100km of tight one-design racing, the championship being was on countback after the last race off Queensland's Sunshine Coast, which didn't live up to its name on a squally last day.
With a 24-knot wind and building seas, series leader Mark Thornburrow (Hong Kong) was forced to retire with broken gear and Gair helmed Velsheda to a win in the final day's first of two races.
Gair and his crew picked a crucial shift and withstood the pressure to win the last race as well.
"Wow, that was tough," Gair said. "This was our fifth tilt at these titles. We won the last two races and still only won the series on a count back. Conditions were pretty wild and we had to work hard to stay on our feet."
Five-time Australian Etchells champion John Bertrand was sixth.
Rough time in Russia
Jason Lochhead will have an eye on South Africa and one on flying tent poles after another eventful weekend at beach volleyball's world tour event in Russia.
A week after needing medical attention to close a cut on his head after colliding with New Zealand teammate Kirk Pitman, the former Otumoetai College student, whose old brother Tony is playing for the All Whites at the World Cup, has suffered another nasty mishap at the US$600,000 ($866,000) Russian grand slam in Moscow.
Playing in high winds in the main draw against world top five team, Spain's Herrera and Gavira, Lochhead and Pitman lost 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) to finish 17th.
"If that wasn't bad enough, right after the game a tent got blown over with the pole nicely cutting down my back ... so going pretty good on the bleeding this year (although) it looks a lot worse than it feels."
The pair were unbeaten in their two qualifying games to make it through to the main draw, where the teams were split into pools of four, with the bottom-placed team in each pool eliminated after their three games.
The Tauranga pair beat the in-form Polish combination 21-17, 14-21, 15-13 first up but lost the next to Holland to miss out on a shot at finishing ninth or better.
They wrapped up third in the pool with a comeback win over Switzerland after dropping the first set 21-19.
Moscow Grand Slam:
Qualifiers: by Boehm-Kapa (Australia) 2-0: 16-21 16-21, bt Hernandez-Fane (Venezuala) 2-0: 14-21 17-21.
Main draw pool play: bt Schnider-Gabathuler (Switzewrland) 2-1: (19-21, 22-20, 15-7), lost to Nummerdor-Schuil (Netherlands) 2-1: (22-20, 16-21, 15-9), by Fijalek-Prudel (Poland) 2-1: (17-21, 21-14, 13-15).
Main draw post-section: lost to 4-Herrera-Gavira (Spain) 2-0: (21-15, 21-12).
Katikati picked up where they left off as the championship round of the Seeka KI Western Bay of Plenty club rugby competition kicked off on Saturday.
Six teams chasing the championship's Combined Cup, with first round winner Katikati making a fast start at Moore Park. Facing Tauranga Sports, the home side picked up an additional bonus point for four tries when they cruised to a 35-5 victory.
Mount Maunganui, who finished a solitary point behind Katikati in the first round, struggled before subduing Rangataua 25-23 at Te Ariki Park.
This weekend is the game of the championship round when Mount Maunganui host Katikati at Blake Park.
Judea, who along with Katikati have aspirations to contest the Baywide division two championship at the end of the local round, were too good for Papamoa, winning 49-5.
In the second echelon, Arataki, who have dropped down from Baywide rugby for the local second round, posted their first win of the season, defeating Te Puke Sports 34-10.
Seeka KI Western Bay competition results:
Division one: Mount Maunganui 25 Rangataua 23, Katikati 35 Tauranga Sports 5, Judea 49 Papamoa 5.
Division two: Arataki 34 Te Puke Sports 10, Greerton Marist 36 Rangiuru 7, Eastern Districts 48 Matakana Island 7.
All eyes on MountMt Maunganui are the Tauranga region's only hope of success in the men's Intercity hockey premiership after a draw and a win in their two games last week.
In a midweek catch-up game Mount drew 2-2 with Otumoetai after leading 1-0 at halftime, while on Saturday they pipped Hamilton Old Boys 3-2 at the Tauranga Hockey Centre.
Old Boys put the Mount defence under pressure virtually from the hit-off and their efforts were rewarded when Blair Nicholson scored with a high scooped shot.
Isaac Feeny replied for the green and golds from a penalty corner and the teams turned at 1-1.
Logan Thompson put Mount in front early in the second half and the side dominated possession for much of the second half but had difficulty converting it into goals.
Mount striker James Tipping finished off a goal-mouth volley two minutes from time before Hamilton's Ashley Finn replied in the last minute.
Kohekohe downed Tauranga Old Boys 5-0, with the Counties visitors leading 2-0 at halftime and scoring at regular intervals in the second half as Old Boys lacked finish up front.
Otumoetai must have thought they were in with a shot at a boilover against Fraser Tech when Jono Simmonds scoring in just the second minute from a penalty corner.
But in a classic game of two halves, they capitulated to the skill and speed of the youthful Fraser Tech team and lost 7-1.
Otumoetai women stayed at the top of the tree in their premier division with a comfortable 3-0 win over Thames Valley in Ngatea, with Dani Maunder, Katrina Carson and Rachelle Brightwell getting on the scoresheet.
Weekend Intercity scores:
Mt Maunganui 3 (Logan Thompson, James Tipping) Hamilton Old Boys 2 (Blair Nicholson, Ashley Finn), HT 1-1.
Kohekohe 5 (P van Breugel 2, C Whitehead, G Mekkelholt, S Harper) Tauranga Old Boys 0, HT 2-0.
Fraser Tech 7 Otumoetai 1 (Jono Simmonds), HT 0-1.
Thames Valley 9 Pukekohe Indians 0, HT 6-0.
Rotorua Aces 5 Rotorua Indians 2, HT 1-1.
Suburbs-Piako 9 Onewhero-Pukekohe 0, HT 3-0.
Varsity Reserves 2 Te Awamutu 1, HT 1-0.
University A, bye.
Catch-up game: Mt Maunganui 2 Otumoetai 2, HT 1-0.
Otumoetai 3 (Dani Maunder, Katrina Carson, Rachelle Brightwell) Thames Valley 0, HT 1-0.
Te Awamutu 2 Rotorua Aces 0, HT 2-0.
Waikato University 4 Hamilton Old Girls 1, HT 1-0.
Fraser Tech 3 Onewhero-Pukekohe 0, HT 3-0.
Otorohanga in leadOtorohanga downed Tauranga Boys' College 3-1 on Saturday to retain a narrow one point lead in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty federation one league.
Second-placed Rotorua United stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a 3-1 win over Otumoetai and Whakatane Town beat Claudelands Rovers 1-0 to move into third.
IPC Te Puke were beaten 3-1 by Melville United at Litt Park, Te Awamutu had a 5-2 win over bottom-of-the-table Hamilton Wanderers while Finn MacCahuls Taupo suffered their fourth consecutive loss when they went down 4-3 to Ngaruawahia at Crown Park.
Although Rotorua United played into the gale that blew at Fergusson Park they took an early lead against Otumoetai when Dave Geraets scored.
Ex-United player Doug Stanaway gave the home side some hope when he equalised before halftime but Rotorua controlled the second spell and, with goals to Mitch Miller and Steve Turner, ran out convincing winners.
Otumoetai coach Ross Johnson was philosophical about his side's continuing struggle.
"We have lost games we should have won but United were too good for us today. They are the best side we have met and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them claim the title."
For the home side, Daniel Miller had another strong game and'keeper Paul Shakes made some important saves.
AFC Fury stayed on top in division two with a 4-0 win over Matamata while Ngongotaha, with goals to Scott Martin, Luke Parker and Brad Williams, outplayed Rotorua United for a deserved 3-0 win.
Federation 1: Otumoetai 1 Rotorua 3, Wanderers 2 Te Awamutu 5, Te Puke 1 Melville 3, Whakatane 1 Claudelands 0, Taupo 3 Ngaruawahia 4, Otorohanga 3 Tauranga Boys' College 1.
Federation 2: Rotorua 0 Ngongotaha 3, Old Blues 5 Kawerau 2, AFC Fury 4 Matamata 0, Cambridge 2 Tauranga City 7.
City's chances dimFrom fifth to 10th, to 12th ... Tauranga City United's aspirations of making the Northern League's top six are fading faster than Shane Jones' reputation.
Tauranga are now well off the pace - and a top-six qualifying spot for the Northern Premier league - after losing 2-1 away to Waiuku on Saturday.
CNS Clinic-sponsored Tauranga led through livewire Reece Edmonds' goal at halftime, only to come unstuck after the break with Waiuku's goals scored by Wayne Trout and Andrew Millynn.
Ellerslie's unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Birkenead United, Tauranga's opponents this weekend in round three of the Chatham Cup.
North Force's 3 -0 win at Papakura City lifted them back to the top of the table, with both frontrunners assured of top-six finishes. Mt Albert-Ponsonby should join them after a 5-0 defeat of Hibiscus Coast.
Behind Mt Albert is a log-jam for the other three positions in the top six. Fourth-placed Birkenhead head the queue but they are just three points ahead of 10th-placed Mangere United.
Western Springs and Matamata Swifts, who battled out a scoreless draw, have been joined in a share of fifth by Onehunga-Mangere United.
NORTHERN FIRST DIVISION
Birkenhead 2 (Carl Frankson, Jack Salter) Ellerslie 1 (Warrick Hart). HT: 1-1.
Papakura City 0 North Force 3 (Murray Wootten, Mark Ruddell, Keegan Baddeley). HT: 0-1.
Cambridge 1 (Joe Gifford) Onehunga Mangere 3 (Sangster Crawford 2, Marc Lindsay). HT: 0-1.
Pukekohe 2 (Ticiano Costa, Joe Morris) North Shore 5 (Criss Bryson 2, Matt Evitt, Mokhtar Mohammadi, Ben Cliffe). HT: 1-3.
Mangere United 2 (Atunesh Prasad, Sumendra Pooni) Fencibles 1 (William McClure). HT: 1-0.
Hibiscus Coast 0 Mt Albert Ponsonby 5. HT: 0-2.
Western Springs 0 Matamata Swifts 0.
Waiuku 2 (Wayne Trout, Andrew Millynn) Tauranga City 1 (Reece Edmonds). HT: 0-1.