Trinity Spooner-Neera scored a record five tries in the final as Havelock North reclaimed the Ian Baker Memorial Cup at the Hawke's Bay Sevens in Waipukurau on Saturday.
"The boys were pumping and I just fed off them," former All Black Sevens rep Spooner-Neera said after his team's 48-5 thrashing of defending champions Hastings Rugby and Sports in the A grade men's final at Central Park.
"While I had been in a winning Colts team with Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports a few years back down here, this is the first time I've got my hands on the main cup in three attempts with Havelock North. I'm no longer contracted with the All Black Sevens but this is the sort of form I need to be in if I'm going to get back in the frame before the Rio Olympics," Spooner Neera said.
The 20-year-old former New Zealand Secondary Schools representative is also without a Hawke's Bay Magpies contract for the second consecutive year after making five ITM Cup appearances in 2013.
"I'm not sure if I'm going to stay around and chase one either as I might try my luck elsewhere. But if I stay in the Bay I'll play 15s for Havelock North again," player-of-the-tournament Spooner-Neera said.
He finished the tournament with seven tries for the villagers, who scored 163 points while conceding 15 in their five games to bag the top prize for a record 14th time at the 32nd annual Tui-sponsored event.
With Magpie Tony Lamborn and Liam Murphy dominant in the confrontation area it was easy for the likes of Spooner-Neera and Magpies speedster Shannan Chase to strut their stuff out wide. Havelock North dashed Hastings Rugby and Sports' hopes of a third consecutive title win with their victory in the final.
"They denied us possession. We made more errors in that final than we did in all of our other four games combined and in sharp contrast Havelock were error-free," Hastings Rugby and Sports coach Jeff Karika said.
Speedster Mason Emerson was the pick of the Hastings players in the final, with Junior Chung Ching, Star Timu and Ben Hamelink prominent for the side earlier in the day.
For the first time in many years Hawke's Bay teams filled the four semifinal berths. Havelock North beat Napier Old Boys Marist 29-5 in their semi while Hastings Rugby and Sports beat big improvers MAC in the other.
Petone won a second consecutive colts A grade final with a 17-14 victory against Havelock North in the final. Havelock North's Ethan Bradey took home the colts player-of-the-tournament award after a classy day.
Havelock North also made the women's final, where they were beaten 15-0 by Feilding Old Boys Oroua. Feilding player Hayley Hutana captured the women's player-of-the-tournament award. Hutana has represented New Zealand in Sevens.