It was supposed to be a relatively easy Easter workout for Rangataua Sports.
Try some new combinations against Ngongotaha, get the four points on offer and prepare for next week's Baywide Premier club challenge.
But no one told the visitors from Rotorua that as they not only contributed mightily to an entertaining match at Te Ariki Park on Good Friday but came close to winning it.
The final score of 28-19 was boosted by two late penalties to Joel Little, but it was a close-run thing. Ngongotaha had fought back from 15-5 at halftime and then 22-5 to score two quick converted tries to Slade King and former Bay of Plenty flanker Zac Hohneck.
But urged on by a large holiday crowd basking in the autumn sun, Rangataua sorted out their defensive errors, gained some ball to play with and closed out the game.
The best of their players was winger Little who made several strong runs and scored the opening try, with fellow winger Ross Taurima bagging a first-half double.
It was encouraging to see the rejuvenation of the once-famous Ngongotaha club that has been out of the big time in Baywide rugby for decades. They and Arataki will put plenty of pressure on last year's Premier teams in the battle to make the top eight for the championship round.
Meanwhile, Tauranga Sports made it two from two with a hard-fought, two-tries to nil win over Te Puke Sports under the lights at Murray Salt Stadium in Te Puke on Thursday night. Winger Tyrone Keith and No 8 Harley Fox scored in the 13-9 win.
Match-ups between these clubs are always intense. After losing to Greerton Marist with the final kick last week, the Te Puke Pirates will be disappointed to have lost another game they could well have won.
But the Tauranga team, under the coaching duo of Euan Mackintosh and Culum Retallick, deserve credit for the way they defended their line in the closing minutes.
"The most pleasing thing for me was the character that we showed in defence, especially late on in that second half when they were really pushing," Mackintosh said.
"It is never easy to go up there and win so to be under that much pressure with just a four-point lead and defend was the biggest pleasing point for me.
"First and foremost the goal is to finish in the top eight. We have a few new faces in amongst us and a good mixture there I think of guys who have been there a long time and some new faces. We are just trying to get that group cohesion ticking over and keep building week in; week out is the main goal at the moment."
In other games Arataki took care of Whakatane Marist 38-26 to start their season off with two wins, Rotoiti defeated Greerton Marist 29-12 on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, Te Puna trounced Paroa 89-19, and Mount Maunganui edged Whakarewarewa 38-20 at Puarenga Park.