Both teams came out to win but it was Te Puke's strength in their forwards and its traditional yet strategic game that proved too much for first-time finalists Te Puna.

Te Puke Sports were crowned the Baywide champs after beating the blue and black in the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1 final on Saturday, with a final score of 27-13.

Te Puke Sports celebrate their win. Photo / Andrew Warner
Te Puke Sports celebrate their win. Photo / Andrew Warner

The final may have been on Te Puke's home ground but the Te Puna rugby community's passion for their club was unquestionable as they turned out in force to support their club. This was Te Puna's first year in the finals - a proud moment for the club, made even more impressive with three teams, though each unsuccessful, reaching the finals in three divisions.

The Te Puke prem 1 side was one of two of the sports' teams in the finals, also taking out the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1 Development division 27-22 over Te Puna.

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Within the first five minutes of the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1 final Te Puke lock Kane Le'aupepe secured the first try of the game.

Though Te Puna kept the pressure on and didn't make it easy, it was a signal of the strength that was to come from the Te Puke's forwards with Le'aupepe a consistently strong player throughout the whole game.

Te Puna's Will Ngatai. Photo / Andrew Warner
Te Puna's Will Ngatai. Photo / Andrew Warner

Te Puna captain Te Aihe Tomo found a gap in Te Puke's defence to get on the scoreboard with their first try just minutes later, followed by a successful conversion to lead the game momentarily.

Penalty kicks then ruled the rest of the first half with both teams securing more points on the scoreboard. At the end of halftime, Te Puke were leading 11-10.

Te Puke came out in force in the second half to stretch their lead with some good old-fashioned rugby, making the most of their strong forwards running straight up and a defence that was hard too get through.

Te Puna managed to make the most of any gap they could and gave their all to hold their opponents off the line at times but in the end Te Puke just proved too strong.

Te Puke player/coach Matt Wallis. Photo / Andrew Warner
Te Puke player/coach Matt Wallis. Photo / Andrew Warner

Te Puke player/coach Matt Wallis said there were moments when his side got impatient and kicked the ball when they didn't need to, resulting in wasted ball. However, he said the team pulled through in the second half, with everyone doing their jobs on the field to come away with the win.

"We knew we could do it," Wallis said.

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"There were patches there we weren't happy with how we played, but that's a final you know, that can happen."

Te Puke captain Danny Underwood said his side "had some hiccups in the start" but "once the ship started sailing" there was no turning back.

"I'm proud of our effort."

It wasn't the result Te Puna coach Aidan Kuka had hoped for but he was proud to have reached the finals and was extremely proud of the club as a whole.

Te Puna perform a haka for their supporters. Photo / Andrew Warner
Te Puna perform a haka for their supporters. Photo / Andrew Warner

Once formalities had ended, Te Puna performed a haka for their supporters, who Kuka said were "very proud of what we achieved".

"We couldn't have asked for a better crowd," Kuka said.

Final Results:

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1:

Te Puke Sports 27 v Te Puna 13

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1 Development:

Te Puke Sports 27 v Te Puna 22

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 2:

Rangiuru 36 v Te Teko 32 - Extra Time

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 2 Development:

Ngongotaha 45 v Opotiki 7

Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Division 1:

Ruatoki 47 v Kahukura 17

Senior Reserves Final:

Ruatoki 20 v Te Puna 13