Hikurangi notched up a much needed win in the Southern Districts Premier rugby competition, outmuscling Kamo to a 30-10 victory, at Kamo.
Having lost their matches in the first two rounds, coach Hector Davies was certain Hikurangi would continue improving after Saturday's win.
"We have started to build some momentum now. We were struggling last year with players leaving - I think due to the economy, and with Hikurangi being out of town, people have to travel to training, and that comes with a cost. But we have been working hard to rebuild the culture out there," Davies said.
Hikurangi have gained some player numbers back to the club, including old hats - Eric Abraham and Noel Edmonds, whose experience is invaluable to the side.
"Eric Abraham is full of ticker, while Noel Edmonds is tactically the best first five in the competition - he has come back to the club to finish off his career where he started," the coach said.
Brad Christiansen has also made his comeback for Hikurangi. The No8/flanker, who had been playing rugby in North Harbour, was transferred to Northland for work and Davies has welcomed him back into the fold.
Northland's Joel McKenty and Whiria Meltzer, both rehabilitating injuries, were also on the comeback list and were about a month away from returning, the coach said.
Hikurangi took charge of Saturday's game in the first half playing into the wind, and managed to charge out to a 13-7 lead at the break. Hikurangi's forward pack was bigger, more experienced and dominated their Kamo counterparts. Lock Jonno Lawson, jumping at No 2 and matching Reuben Wright, earned player of the day status for his clinical performance.
In the second half, Hikurangi's discipline slackened and they gave away too many penalties, but they were too strong for a youthful Kamo.
Tim Dow ran in two tries for Hikurangi, along with Ryson Thompson and replacement winger Rashau Weerarathne dotted down the final try. Sri Lankan Weerarathne is in Northland with a fellow countryman to train and play a few games for Hikurangi, to learn more about rugby in New Zealand.
In other games, Mid Western suffered their first loss of the season, going down to the Western Sharks in Dargaville who rustled up a deserved 22-17 victory.
Marist had a convincing 41-15 win over Hora Hora, Wellsford beat Mid Northern 24-21 and Old Boys defeated Otamatea 37-19.
Round four of the competition will be played on Thursday, this week, with all games kicking off at 8pm.
Hikurangi are playing Mid Northern at Hikurangi, Marist Premier play Otamatea at Kensington, Mid Western face Kamo at Maungakaramea Reserve, the Western Sharks meet Hora Hora, while Old Boys host Wellsford at Okara Park.