The introduction of three divisions of eight teams in this year's Baywide championship round was not initially favoured by all clubs.

But this weekend's round of close, competitive matches across all three divisions has proved just what a success it has been.

The desired outcome to create meaningful matches that push the players to continue to lift their standards is clearly working.

Ultimately if the club competition is strong then the Bay of Plenty Steamers squad should be too. That's the plan.


There are no guarantees with that of course but certainly the standard of rugby over the past few weeks is up a few notches from last season.

Drake Mount Maunganui Sports hold a five-point lead at the top of the Premier 1 table halfway through the race to the playoffs.

The Mounties consolidated their season-long dominance with a 23-15 win over Whakatane Marist at Blake Park.

Te Puna came so close to beating Rotoiti at Emery Park beside the lake but had to endure the trip home with just a bonus point after falling 30-28.

Rangataua Sports continued their confident form by beating Te Puke Sports 22-18 away at Murray Salt Stadium in a result that will be noticed by next week's opponents, Tauranga Sports.

Tauranga helped themselves to a 46-7 win over an injury-depleted Greerton Marist side that still have top-four aspirations once they can get Joe Tupe, Joe Key and co back on the park.

Steamers lock Beau Williams was one of the best for Tauranga with a dominant lineout performance and the bonus of scoring two tries.

"We were pretty good up front today," Williams said.

"We had a big emphasis on it last week and had a good effort against Rotoiti, so that was big for us to carry that on to this week. Before that against the Mount we went missing in that game.

"Greerton had a few boys out which helped a lot for us as they are good players. I give it to Greerton because they stuck in there till the end and didn't drop their heads."

Williams talked down his try-scoring exploits and is unlikely to threaten Nick Evemy's record, who scored three against Greerton.

"It was a little bit tinny to be honest. It was just a pick and go and I got lucky with a charge down but I guess I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

The final try for Tauranga had old timers in the crowd mentioning the famous Going brothers of the 1970s.

In a move full of bee venom vigour, the three Honey brothers combined for a spectacular 60m burst.

Josh started it with a 30m burst down the touchline before passing to George, who drew the defence for older brother Steve to touch down under the bar.

In Premier 2 action Arataki beat Opotiki 25-17 while in Division 1 Rangiuru beat Papamoa 14-12 with wins also to Judea and Katikati.