Mason Emerson reckoned his Hastings Rugby and Sports club side produced their best first 60 minutes of this season's premier club rugby competition on Saturday.
Nobody would argue with Emerson. Auto Super Shoppe Hastings Rugby and Sports celebrated their club day in style with a 53-24 Tui Maddison Trophy first round win against Progressive Meats Havelock North at Elwood Park after leading 36-0 at halftime and 46-0 27 minutes into the second half.
"We were intelligent. We played with a bit of patience and discipline," Magpie Emerson said after his player-of-the-match display which included a hat-trick, superb defensive work and clever offloads.
"Credit to Havelock North as they came back well in the last 20 minutes. We had probably shut off a bit by then and that's something we need to fine tune. We should have that sorted by the final round," Emerson added.
All of the Hastings players deserve praise for the display they produced.
Along with Emerson first five-eighth Danny Toala and halfback Jayden Rihia excelled in the winning backline. Blockbusting No 8 Danya Tulou and prop Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe were inspirational in the winning pack.
"Too many missed one-on-one tackles let us down in that first half. While it was pleasing that we fought back we should never allowed ourselves to be that far behind. That bonus point for four tries could come in handy later on," Havelock North head coach Simon Halford said.
Openside flanker Albert Hemopo was spectacular in all aspects of play for the villagers.
Busy No 8 Phil McRoberts impressed with his never-say-die approach and second five-eighth Kalin Paewai and winger Mikey Vuicakau made the most of their limited opportunities in the visiting backline.
Tech 19 Pirate 16
A controversial penalty try had tongues wagging after this Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical victory at Tamatea Park.
"It was one of a couple of dubious calls from Jarrod [referee Graham] and it's going to take me a couple of days to get over this loss," Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports manager Charles Reid lamented.
Texans manager Cyril Whitburn was quick to console Reid.
"Yes I'm scratching my head about that penalty try. That's a get out of jail card for us and we will take it," Whitburn said.
Tech missed the services of Magpies props Mark Braidwood and Tim Farrell with injuries.
In their absence tighthead prop Tyson Sua performed admirably for 60 minutes after playing 80 minutes for the Tech reserve grade side in the curtainraiser. Hooker Conan Houkamau and loosehead prop Perin Manuel also made Whitburn's MVP list.
Flankers Damien Scott and Gerome Naera and tighthead prop Pouri Rakete-Stones were the best of the Pirates players.
NOBM 54 MAC 24
WIT Napier Old Boys Marist retained the Challenge Trophy with this Park Island victory.
"We got a bit of rhythm going in the final 20 minutes and took the game off them with smart options," NOBM head coach Craig Gowler said.
He was impressed with the impact halfback Zac Donaldson provided when he took the field as a 12th minute replacement for Ellery Wilson. Centre Saea Paese, who grabbed a hat-trick, and fullback Liam Edwards were others to shine in the NOBM backline.
Lock Sean Skeet was again a workaholic in the winning pack.
While MAC head coach Anthony Morley was disappointed his team had to play with 13 men for eight minutes after two players were yellow carded within minutes of each other he was proud of the manner in which they took the game to their hosts and trailed 26-24 with 20 minutes remaining.
"Our scrum again functioned well even when it was down to seven men and we did well to get a bonus point for four tries."
Centre Lewis Marshall was again full of enterprise. Rookie tighthead prop Paula Latu functioned well and captain and openside flanker Willie Benson impressed with his leadership against his former club.
Central 34 Tamatea 24
Fullback Brayden Hardwidge was a key architect of this Northfuels Central team's victory at Bill Mathewson Park.
Hardwidge scored two tries and kicked three conversions and a penalty. Centre Travis Janssen was another to shine in the winning backline.
Former Magpie Ben Parsons had constructive shifts in both the lock and blindside flanker positions in the winning pack.
"Soft turnovers and a poor lineout let us down. We made some good halfback breaks but were then let down by poor 50/50 passes but it was a way better performance than the previous week's," Tamatea coach Levi Armstrong said.
Magpies first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie was again classy in the fullback position. Winger Dave Neho was another lethal attacker in the hosts backline.
Veteran flanker Sheridan Kite was the best of the Tamatea forwards.
Taradale 63 Clive 11
Tremains Andrew Clark Clive head coach Vaine Maui was quick to admit he didn't anticipate this big a losing margin at Taradale.
"It was a big learning curve for the young fellahs in our team. They need to learn if you want to retain the Maddison Trophy you have to step up."
Flanker Joseph Fuimaono and Josh Kaifa were tireless workers in the visiting pack. Halfback Tama Dunn was the pick of the Clive backs.
Taradale co-coach Tim Combs agreed his Nash Cup holders performed as well as the score suggests.
"We had a little bit more patience and were prepared to go an extra phase or two which enabled us to find space out wide."
Ian Rore relished his second start at tighthead prop at premier level in the winning pack. Blindside flanker Eru Wano was full of authority and fullback Ashton Tuck had his best display of the season.