Te Puna's unbeaten run in this season's Baywide Premier first round was sorely tested on their home track at Maramataga Park on Saturday.
Apart from an opening-round draw with Rotoiti, the Aidan Kuka-coached side had enjoyed a clear run through the next nine games to be clear winners of the opening part of the season's competition.
But no one told the marauding pirates from Te Puke Sports that it was all over as they arrived in Te Puna with a well-organised game plan, plenty of commitment and a typical never-say-die attitude.
Te Puna managed to win 22-21 to retain the Jordan Cup, the challenge trophy up for grabs against other Western Bay clubs.
"The game was tight right from the first minute really. No team got too far ahead and it really took an 80-minute effort to come away with the win," coach Kuka says.
"We had the wind in the first half and led 7-5 at halftime so we had to knuckle down in the second half. We were lucky to score a few tries and we took the lead again. Te Puke came back but they couldn't quite chase us down."
In the other Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier games, Greerton Marist made it seven wins on the trot with an entertaining 45-28 win over Rangataua Sports at Te Ariki Park, Tauranga Sports defeated Arataki 74-15, Mount Maunganui thrashed winless Whakatāne Marist 88-0, Rotoiti beat Paroa 62-5 and Whakarewarewa won the Rotorua derby 69-0 over Ngongotaha.
The final placings with the Championship round to kick-off next Saturday have Te Puna on top on 51 points, followed by Tauranga Sports and Rotoiti (42), Greerton Marist (40), Te Puke Sports (38), Mount Maunganui (31), Whakarewarewa (29) and Rangataua Sports (27).
These teams will play out the Premier 1 division, with Ngongotaha, Arataki, Paroa and Whakatāne Marist dropping into Premier 2 alongside the top four teams from the first round's Division 1 in Rangiuru, Ōpōtiki, Te Teko and Marist St Michael's.
Te Puna's great start to the season is boosted by their Development team that finished top of the division on 54 points, with Te Puke (44), Rangataua (38), Tauranga Sports (38), Greerton (37) and Mount Maunganui (30) rounding out the top six.
The match-up between the top two teams Te Puna and Te Puke in the early game at Maramataga Park was as competitive and thrilling as the main game with Te Puna just edging it 20-17.
Kuka says the great start to the season has attracted messages of support from past players and supporters.
"The whole club, community and supporter base are really stoked with how everything is going at the moment. We are fielding messages from all over the country and even all over the world really."
Results/Championship draws: www.boprugby.co.nz