Fast Forward won the final of the Christmas Touch one day tournament, which was played in very hot mid-summer temperatures on the Kaitaia College top fields on Saturday.
The side eventually proved to have too much class amongst the six teams in the field and went on to beat Nonu Nonu Nonu 9-3 in the final, leaving Top Dawg to finish in 3rd place overall. While Fast Forward was the standout team of the day, organisers noted there was some excellent play from the runners-up, even though it was not reflected in the score. Particularly notable was a number of faces of various Far North ex-pats now living in Australia but back home to reunite with whanau over the Christmas break.
Prizes for outstanding play and/or fairplay went to Corey Evans (Nonu Nonu Nonu), Trina Harris Te Ruke (Slow Motion), Louise Rogers (Top Dawg), Claudia McMeekin (Fast Forward) and Hemi Young (Nonu Nonu Nonu). Spot prizes were awarded to Jamie Roberts (Taipa Barefoots) for his chip and chase, Jamaine Tepania (Slow Motion) for always cheering for the underdog, and Whitney Shortland Peat (Fast Forward) for steamrolling a toddler whilst running to get what would have been a try - with the toddler reported as being okay afterwards.
There was a little disappointment for organisers who had hoped to attract a total of 12 teams with each team paying $150 to enter.
However, the standard of play was still generally outstanding and those who did take part needed to be fairly fit as the summer sun poured down relentlessly while a warm northerly airstream produced by the remnants of TC Evan ensured temperatures remained uncomfortably high throughout the day.
"All teams did well to play three games one after the other in that heat," said event spokesman Jamie Brown.
On behalf of the organisers, he thanked the myriad of sponsors for donating some of the main prizes, and acknowledged the referees on the day for their good work.