Traditionally the first day of the duck shooting season has been a tough one for the Central premier rugby side.
That tradition ended today when Northfuels Central upset Carters Frame and Truss Taradale with a 41-10 drubbing in a Tui Nash Cup seventh round encounter at Waipukurau's Central Park. And it wasn't as if the Central lads abstained from shooting either.
"The boys still went shooting but turned up at the park afterwards ready to step up. We blew Taradale away in the first half as we established a 34-0 lead," Central manager Ian Large said.
His troops had an extra incentive to deliver a win. Lock Lance Baker, who converted all five tries and kicked two penalties, and second five-eighth Kody Lancaster were playing their 50th matches for the team and received their blazers at the after-match function.
Talanted inside back Cole Eru shone in the first five-eighth role for Central. Prop Apolosi Ranawai and blindside flanker Ben Carpenter were also prominent in the polished team effort.
"We had a decent enough team on paper but were beaten by a better team. Central were more hungrier than us," Taradale head coach Jason Shoemark said.
Second five-eighth Billy Ropiha, substitute No 8 Ramiha Smiler and substitue lock Jordan Kupa all made Shoemark's MVP list.
Tamatea 11 Pirate 10
Tamatea recorded their second win of the season and their first against Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports since 2013 with this nailbiter at Tamatea Park.
Magpies prop Mason Kean scored a late try to give Tamatea the victory. Kean and lock Ivan Bellamy were inspirational in the winning pack while winger Arama Bennett was lively in the Tamatea backline.
"It was an ugly win but we will take it," Tamatea head coach Matt Marsh said.
"We had our chances to win but didn't convert them in what was a scrappy see-sawing affair," Pirate manager Charles Reid said.
On debut for the hosts Italian first five-eighth Edoardo Stella joined lock Tama Cahill and No 8 Jesser Kapene as their best.
Tech 78 MAC 26
Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical No 8 Kaleb Sweet scored five tries in this Flaxmere Park walloping.
Texans manager Cyril Whitburn said the feat is believed to be a club record.
"The boys kept to the patterns for most of the game which was pleasing," Whitburn added.
Utility back Dylan Ramsay produced a player-of-the-match display for the visitors in the unfamilar position of halfback. He also kicked seven conversions.
Second five-eighth Ted Walters was constructive and destructive as required. While MAC coach Anthony Morley admitted his troops missed too many tackles and were beaten by more clinical opponents he was happy they scored their first bonus point of the season for four tries in what was utility forward Amiga Mikaele's 50th and blazer game for the team.
Morley was happy with how his halfback-first five-eighth combo of Brigham Morley and Tom Iosefo combined and said Iosefo scored a cracker of a 95 metre try. Fulback Harris Solomon also had some memorable moments in his first outing since returning from Aussie.
NOBM 31 Hastings 7
Defending champions Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited Napier Old Boys Marist are one win away from equalling the club record of 22 consecutive wins after this Park Island victory.
That record was set during the 2001-'02 seasons and as Saturday's top-of-the-table result indicates there's no reason why it can't be equalled and better. After soaking up some early pressure during the first half NOBM were again dominant during the final quarter.
However the victory came at a cost with prop Laula Ta'a collecting a season-ending broken leg which forced the match to be moved to the adjacent ground.
Captain and openside flanker Chris Johnston and lock Tom Bywater were tireless workers in the host pack. Halfback Zac Donaldson was classy and winger Sami Lauano was full of enterprise.
Ansin & Monteith Hastings Rugby and Sports co-manager James Rosenberg agreed his troops were let down by their own mistakes after enjoying numerous dominant patches at set piece time.
"There was definitely some encouraging signs there for the second round," Rosenberg said.
Hastings flankers Fale Matamata and Ben Hamelink both had huge workrates while hooker Jacob Devery continues to enhance his reputation as a future Magpie.
Havelock North 21 Clive 17
A Kalin Paewai try in the final second after some Mikey Vuicakau magic gave Progressive Meats Havelock North this Farndon Park win.
It was an entertaining game in which the lead changed four times," villagers statistician Conrad Waitoa said.
Hooker Wayne Lush, flanker Sam Lamborn and No 8 Phil McRoberts provided plenty of grunt in the winning pack. Winger Vuicakau and halfback Tayla Greville were the pick of the Havelock backs.
"We did enough to win it," K9 Petfoods Clive coach Blair Cross said.
Japanese hooker Yunki Nakamura on debut, No 8 Beau Tresidder and lock Josh Eden-Whaitiri were powerful in the riversiders pack. Centre Jordan Pineaha was the best of the Clive backs.