Bay of Plenty 6
Five penalties to two, nary a try in sight; it sounds rather Northern Hemisphere-ish, but Bay of Plenty will wake up today wondering how they failed to take anything from last night's premiership game in Hamilton.
At halftime they'd dominated proceedings on all relevant counts, yet travelled home without even a bonus point after Waikato flexed their muscles in the second spell and did just enough.
Neither side took much form into this ITM Cup match, both boasting a solitary win from three games before last night. Waikato were below strength and coming off a defeat by Auckland; the Bay were rueing a serious beating from championship side Counties Manukau.
Waikato reached the premiership final last year, but one black spot in that campaign was the 36-8 dusting Bay of Plenty put on them at Rotorua.
Perhaps that memory inspired the Bay as they had much the better of the first half, the forwards working industriously, spurred on by their classy captain Tanerau Latimer.
Frequent Waikato infringements helped their cause and had Nick McCashin given his boots an extra polish - he'd had five shots at goal and managed just two in the first 26 minutes - the Bay would have had more significant reward to show for their dominance.
A nifty duck and dive around the side of a ruck on the Waikato line by halfback Josh Hall should have produced the first try, only to have it ruled out on the television official's call for a bounce ball.
It was the closest the game came to a try. Waikato had scored 12 in their three previous games, but this was a battle of attrition, the spirit willing, the skill level disappointingly poor, from kicking to lineout delivery to handling.
Waikato lost first five-eighth Piers Francis to the sin bin just before the interval, but to their credit, Waikato's defence worked overtime, their only bright attacking moments coming from lively centre Save Tokula.
Things changed in the second half, Waikato reasserted themselves, the Bay infringed too often and Trent Renata did his bit by kicking five from seven shots.
Waikato 15 (T. Renata 5 pen)
Bay of Plenty 6 (N. McCashin 2 pen). HT: 6-6