Fullback Liam Edwards posted a club record of 49 points for Napier Old Boys Marist as they opened their Nash Cup rugby defence in emphatic fashion on Saturday.
Edwards converted all 17 of his team's tries including three of his own in WIT Napier Old Boys Marist's 119-12 drubbing of last year's beaten finalists Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical at Tremain Field. It was a record defeat for the Texans.
"We didn't expect it but it reflected the difference in the two teams' pre-season campaigns. We have two pre-season games locked in as well as two at the Spillane Cup while Tech had just one pre-season match," NOBM head coach Craig Gowler explained.
"We take the Nash Cup seriously," he added referring to the fact the Green Machine had won the cup for the last three seasons.
Despite his record and a 100 per cent goalkicking success rate Edwards was pipped for player-of-the-match honours by lock Tyler Symon-Burke. The NOBM coaching staff was impressed with Symon-Burke's powerful carries.
His locking partner Sean Skeet was also among NOBM's best. Tech manager Cyril Whitburn pointed out his troops were missing four key players including starting locks Todd Cushing and Elijah Martin.
"We can only get better," Whitburn said.
Tech's midfield combo of Ted Walters and Tane McGuire operated well in patches. The visitors' frontrow of hooker Tere Joel and props Mark Braidwood and Perrin Manuel enjoyed some dominant patches.
MAC 39, Clive 24
MAC coach Anthony Morley praised the manner these two teams joined forces at Flaxmere Park to pay their respects to those who had lost their lives in Christchurch the previous day.
"The teams circled up together like the Hurricanes and Chiefs did in Hamilton on Friday night. The match was played in good spirits too," Morley added.
When substitute halfback Colin Hokianga took the field in the second half it was the first time a father-son combo had played for the hosts as his son Damarus Hokianga was a substitute hooker at halftime and shone with his impact.
Former Samoa Sevens player Tom Iosefo produced a player-of-the-match performance for MAC at first five-eighth. He scored 19 points and succeeded with six of his seven attempts at goal.
Magpies flanker Fa'alemiga Selesele also impressed for the hosts who fielded six players who were making their premier debuts for MAC. Tremains Andrew Clark Clive head coach Vaine Maui said his Maddison Trophy holders performed well considering it was their first match together this season.
"We had one pre-season game but it was pretty much a B team. We were up 19-17 at halftime but MAC scored a couple of quick tries after halftime and played very well," Maui said.
Openside flanker Liam Udy-Johns and lock Donovan Mataira, who were making their premier debuts, joined halfback and vice captain Bronson Hokianga on Maui's MVP list.
Havelock North 28, Tamatea 8
Progressive Meats Havelock North dedicated this Bill Mathewson Park victory to their 2018 ball boy Joshua Mou who died in January after his bike and a van collided in Hastings.
Former Canterbury-based hooker Matt Morrison was the villagers' player-of-the-match. Winger Mikey Vuicakau and prop Jasper Wylie also performed well for the visitors.
"We didn't get going until the final 20 minutes so full credit to Tamatea," Havelock manager Gary Revell said.
Former Magpies prop Mason Kean was inspirational in the Tamatea pack. Halfback Junior Armstrong and second five-eighth Petera Ariki operated well in the hosts' backline.
Tamatea coach Levi Armstrong was proud of the manner his troops kept Havelock scoreless during the two occasions they were down to 14 players when flanker Sheridan Kite and winger Art Thompson were sinbinned.
Hastings 57, Central 9
His team was well beaten in this Waipukurau encounter but Northfuels Central manager Ian Large believed the hosts openside flanker McKenzie Smith was the best player on the paddock.
Smith has moved to the Bay from South Canterbury. Former Hastings Boys' High School 1st XV lock Sean Baker, who only weighs 85kg, impressed wth his work rate and combined well with Fijian lock Finau Nimatasau. First five-eighth Kody Drury-Hawkins directed play well.
"We competed well for long periods and at 19-9 down at halftime we were right in it. But the Hastings back were too sharp in the second half," Large said.
"You could tell we only had 60 minutes of footy pre-season. We started slow," Auto Super Shoppe Hastings Rugby and Sports manager James Rosenberg said.
"The boys started to click in the second half, used our pace out wide and there was good impact off the bench from the likes of second five-eighth Neria Fomai, winger Gideon Kautai and centre Ioane Ioane," Rosenberg added.
Halfback Jayden Rihia and first five-eighth Shamara Brooks combined well while lock Jessie Lgsa-Sipaia provided plenty of grunt in the engine room.
Taradale 46, Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports 5
Samoa flanker Iakapo Mapu grabbed a hattrick during a player-of-the-match display as his Taradale Rugby and Sports side retained the Jenkinson-Leadbetter Cup with this Tamatea Park walloping.
Hooker Jacob Baker and loosehead prop Aaron Bidlake were also prominent for the Mighty Maroons who led 31-0 at halftime. Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports manager Charles Reid admitted his troops have plenty of work to do, particularly at set piece time.
Pirate blindside flanker Gerome Naera impressed with his work rate before leaving the field with concussion in the 60th minute. Centre Hayden Hann was the pick of the Pirate backs.