While the form book suggested that Tauranga Sports would have little trouble with Eastern Districts in the Seeka KI Western BOP competition game played at the Paengaroa Domain, the encounter turned into a battle for the visitors to retain their unbeaten record and keep the Hardy Rosebowl in the Tauranga Sports trophy cabinet.
While the wet weather played a part in the game becoming a battle of attrition, the home side took it to the defending champions from the opening whistle. Tauranga Sports' 27-19 victory was the second time this season that they have been run close, after Judea came within nine points of victory.
Arataki also extended their undefeated run in the 2013 title race, when they squared off against Rangiuru in the early game at Centennial Park in Te Puke.
The Grenada Park-based side, who have a return to Baywide rugby on their agenda after falling at the final hurdle last season, posted 25 unanswered points against the Rangiuru second team.
Mount Maunganui waltzed away from Matakana Island at Blake Park, winning 71-8, Judea continued their renaissance in defeating Greerton Marist 43-10, Te Puke Sports rebounded from last week's heavy loss to beat Katikati 31-13, with Rangataua proving too strong for Te Puna, posting a 50-15 win.
Defending Western Bay Colts champions Mount Maunganui dug deep in the curtainraiser at Maramatanga Park to defeat Baywide age group titleholders Te Puna 10-0.
Victory gave the two Chilean players in the Mount team the ideal present before returning home this week.
The Western Bay Colts challenge prize, the Oliver Cup, changed hands for the second time in two games when Tauranga Sports beat Greerton Marist 12-9 at Greerton Park.
Judea 43 Greerton Marist 10, Arataki 25 Rangiuru 25, Mount Maunganui 71 Matakana Island 8, Te Puke Sports 31 Katikati 13, Rangataua 50 Te Puna 15, Tauranga Sports 27 Eastern Districts 19.
Tauranga Sports 12 Greerton Marist 9, Mount Maunganui 10 Te Puna 0.