The Otumoetai Eels premiers won a torrid encounter over heavyweights Hamilton City Tigers at Otumoetai's Mitchell Park on Saturday in the combined Waikato/Coastline premiers competition.
In trying conditions and with the ground waterlogged after heavy rain during the week, Otumoetai managed to win the arm wrestle 28-18 through sheer determination, sticking to the game plan with a couple of attacking players playing their part to help get the win
Hooker and pocket rocket Mikaere October - back from England - was dynamic, with his dummy half runs and, with fleet-footed loosie Tane Leef receiving the offloads at a hundred miles an hour, the Tigers withstood the onslaught for long periods before succumbing.
Big props Tarquin Court and Vance Te Utupoto were a handful whenever they had the ball along with powerful centre Jesse Muller, whose crunching tackles had the spectators holding their breath.
For the Tigers, Waicoa Bay half Hayden Karena was all class and was responsible for the Tigers keeping the game as close as it was with his deft running and kicking into the corners.
Surprisingly, the ground help up well with two games played on it.
In the reserves encounter, the Eels won 24-10 over Hukanui from Hamilton, a high-quality game considering the grade.
In other games, Ngaruawahia Panthers premiers hammered hapless Hamilton United 62-0 with Hukanui winning the clash over Turangawaewae, 38-16
Taniwharau, set to play the Eels in Huntly on Saturday, had the bye.
In the junior ranks, Bay of Plenty Otumoetai's impressive under-16s side dismantled Rotorua's Pikao Warriors 40-18.
The side leads the Bay of Plenty competition including teams from Turangi, Taupo, Tokoroa and Rotorua, and showed why in a dominant performance.
Big forwards Te Rupe Douglas, Kereama Kiwi, Bailey Nicholas and Simione Togotogorua did damage in and around the ruck, while halves Luke Cairns Nelson and Xavier Ormsby run amok out wide with centres Ere Smallman and Lucky Walker and fullback Tyrus Campbell. The team will travel to play the Taupo Phoenix on Sunday.
In the strong under-15s competition, unbeaten Otumoetai Eels travelled to Whitianga and trounced the Mercury Bay Boars, 90-4.