After what seemed like the shortest of breaks over the summer the new Baywide rugby season began in ideal playing conditions on Saturday.
In the game of the round featuring last year's Premier grand finalists, defending champions Rangataua Sports dominated large chunks of territory and possession at Te Ariki Park but could not shake off the resilient Mount Maunganui Sports on the scoreboard.
Pera Gibbs kicked an early penalty to give Mount the early lead but once Rangataua's pack started rumbling forward things began to change. Left winger Ross Taurima crossed for a well taken try and a 5-3 lead.
The wind strengthened during the halftime break behind the home side but a dropped goal from their little wizard Ruki Tipuna was all Rangataua had to show for 30 minutes in charge.
That left Mount with the chance for a late charge at winning the match which is exactly what they did, launching multiple attacks at the Rangataua line.
One certain try-scoring chance was snuffed out by right winger Mark Roberts facing a three-on-one overlap and another chance went begging when the ball was dislodged in a great tackle and turnover by Matt Clutterbuck.
A late penalty by Kaui Ririnui stretched the lead to 11-3 and cruelly denied the Mount a bonus point their gutsy display deserved.
But head coach Rodney Voullaire was all smiles afterwards as he looked to ease his side through the opening three rounds of the competition.
"I take the whole game as a positive. Game one is out of the way and we started a bit late this year with pre-season prep so we are taking the first three weeks as our pre-season.
"But hey, they are the number one side in the Bay and we were just a couple of points away so we are not too far away from where we need to be."
John O'Loan, who is part of a new-look coaching team with John Moore at Rangataua, said they achieved what they set out to do.
"What we were looking forward to was good character on defence and we got that. We knew were a naturally attacking team and it was just about putting our defence in order and we did particularly in that last 10 minutes," O'Loan said.
"That is where you are going to win these competition games against classy sides like the Mount. We have to back that up next week against Tauranga Sports who are going to bring exactly the same thing that Mount bought."
O'Loan would have loved another try early in the second half to give his side some breathing space but he said their defence saved the day for them.
"The good and the bad thing about the first game is that it is unpredictable. You don't really know what you have got until you have actually seen it. Now we have seen it we know what we can work on."
It was a good day all-round for Rangataua with their Development side beating Mount Maunganui 13-12 in the early game to set up their first double over the Mounties and a sure sign of greater depth in the club's playing resources.
Baywide Premier results
Tauranga Sports 28 Arataki 16, Rangataua 11 Mount Maunganui 3, Te Puke Sports 54 Greerton Marist 12, Rotoiti 51 Poroporo 7, Paroa 37 Whakatane Marist 18, Whakarewarewa 24 Te Puna 20.
Development:Tauranga Sports 49 Arataki 10, Rangataua 13 Mount Maunganui 12, Te Puke Sports 40 Greerton Marist 10, Rotoiti 36 Poroporo 10, Paroa 17 Whakatane Marist 12, Whakarewarewa v Te Puna TBC.