Ardmore-Marist 37 Drury 13
Te Kauwhata 41 Weymouth 14
Patumahoe 18 Manurewa 0
Onewhero 23 Bombay 20
Karaka 41 Pukekohe 3
Waiuku 27 Papakura 0
Counties Manukau premier club rugby kicked off with an upset when the defending McNamara Cup champions Bombay were defeated 23-20 at Onewhero.
In the first round of Challenge Cup action, Bombay started well and had a 12-3 lead inside the first 30 minutes, but Onewhero stayed strong on defence and then were able to mount a comeback before halftime, leading 13-12 at the break.
Lock Leroy Jack and Filipe Pau scored Onewhero's tries, while Luke Makris kicked 13 points, but the outstanding figure was second-rower Kieran White. Bombay scored three tries to two but Makris' goalkicking was decisive.
Eddie Hereme's double led the way for Ardmore-Marist in their 37-13 Counties Power Cup defence over a very competitive Drury.
Patumahoe's loose forward trio stood tall in the 18-0 win over Manurewa, a clash in which the contest was closer than the scoreboard suggested, despite the three tries scored by the victors.
Waiuku also had a shutout, 27-0 over Papakura, securing the bonus point and recording one of two penalty tries in the round. Te Kauwhata laid on six tries, including braces to Waikato Maka and Maake Vaimohea, in their 41-14 defeat of Weymouth, for whom David Funaki also scored a double.
The most impressive display, though, was surely Karaka's 41-3 demolition of perennial contenders Pukekohe.
Karaka led 22-3 at oranges, and finished with six tries, led a by a hat-trick to halfback Desma Liaina, two of them from intercepts. Due to injuries, there was a reshuffle in the Karaka backline, and Liaina spent time at fullback. His reward as the player of the day in the game of the week was a take-home vegetable basket from sponsors AS Wilcox and Sons Ltd.
Several clubs were missing key players, away with the Cavaliers who were playing the New Zealand Under 20s.
The game of the week for round two sees Manurewa host Onewhero, while Ardmore-Marist put the Counties Power Cup on the line at Bruce Pulman Park against Te Kauwhata, who will be in confident mood after their first round victory.
University 28 Hamilton Marist 26
Melville 37 Te Awamutu Sports 13
Hautapu 51 Hamilton Old Boys 8
Otorohanga 67 Morrinsville Sports 10
Fraser Tech 31 United Matamata Sports 29
*On March 19, Auckland starts their pre-season Waka Nathan Challenge Cup, while other unions to start their 2016 seasons next Saturday are Northland, King Country, Manawatu, Tasman and the sub-union of Central Otago.