Both teams were desperate for a result at Tamatea Park where Tanalised Napier Pirate took on Enviro Clean and Restoration MAC.
Pirate coach Andy Lord was relieved his team finally logged its first victory of the season on Saturday, winning 31-27 off the back of a spirited second-half effort.
"Phew - it's good to finally get the win, not that we should need it, but we had a little more to play for," said Lord.
The match was the 100th game for Pirate No 8 Gerome Naera and the 50th for substitute forward Ryan Gardiner.
Frustratingly for MAC coach Mutu Ngarimu, his side dominated most of the first-half possession and territory but couldn't match the passion from Pirate in the second 40.
"It's disappointing we let Pirates back into the game and they were more hungry and wanted the win more than we did."
MAC also had plenty to play for, with milestone matches for Jackson Waerea, playing his 100th premier game, and prop Paula Latu and Willy Benson in their 50th appearances.
Pirate took the early lead through a penalty but the visitors dominated early possession without taking their opportunities.
MAC finally crossed the line 20 minutes into the match through wing Roger Paewai and scored again after some nice interplay down the left edge finished well by Tupou Afungia.
MAC continued to apply pressure which resulted in a third try to Magpie Lincoln McClutchie.
Pirate rallied late in the half and lock Alex Wilson crashed over for his side's first try of the match.
The side then came storming back into the game soon after kickoff, with blindside flanker Tom Nicol streaking down the field in a 60m run. After several phases, centurion Naera barged his way through defenders and reached out to score between the posts.
The tide had turned and young wing Kyle Cornelissen combined skilfully with halfback Matt Murtha to score the third.
A Tom Iosefo break saw MAC go close to scoring, and after a patient period of attack, they soon closed the score, with Afungia over for his second.
However, Pirate wing Ben Lewis secured the win, collecting a clever kick behind the defensive line and running around near the posts to help with the conversion.
In the last play of the game, MAC hammered the Pirate line and Latu crossed with a strong charge but it wasn't enough to steal a much-deserved win from the Pirate side.
MAC will be disappointed with their second-half effort after they looked dominant for most of the first half.
"We should have taken a few more opportunities early if we held on to the ball," said Ngarimu. "It was good to get a few points on the board but we just went off the boil in the second half."
Manager Anthony Morley picked young loose forward Tiki Greening as MAC's best who carried the ball strongly and was an excellent lineout option.
Fellow loose forward Afungia also gave a strong display, scoring two tries. Morley echoed Ngarimu's disappointment: "It's been a season of 'just about but not quite'."
Lord was proud of his players and glad his team had some reward for the effort they have put in this season.
"Many of the boys were massive for us [on Saturday] and we have worked hard, so it's great to see smiles on their faces."
Manager Derek Paenga singled out second-five Teddy Symes for his organisation and experience, along with centurion Naera, who was rock solid on defence. Forwards Nicol and Wilson were industrious in the pack.
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