Toa posted a big win in the Horowhenua-Kāpiti club rugby competition at the weekend, despite missing some key players - one of whom has taken up a professional basketball contract.
Vice-captain and fullback Randal Bishop, 32, was part of the original Toa squad before getting a phone call a few weeks ago from the Waitakere team Super City Rangers in the National Basketball League (NBL).
Bishop, who stands 1.83cm tall, was also Toa's goal-kicker and had played the first two matches of the club competition before being lured by the round ball code again as a free agent.
"I was playing for Toa in the World Indigenous basketball tournament and the coach came up and asked me if I was available because they were looking for a point guard and it just went from there," he said.
Bishop had played for Wellington Saints in his early 20s before concentrating on rugby and joined the Tawa club winning two Jubilee Cup finals in his five-year stint there.
But back in Porirua, he linked with the Toa side before his shock call-up to the NBL by former Tall Black coach Jeff Green, joining a star-studded line-up at the Rangers that included 1.98m American Tim Quarterman, formerly of the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.
Super City Rangers had made a winning start to the NBL competition with an 86-75 win against Manawatū Jets, with Bishop scoring 12 points in that match, but they had lost three consecutive games since.
Meanwhile, Toa coach Richie Wineera said he was rapt his side were able to beat last season's semi-finalists Levin College Old Boys 34-0 at Levin Domain, proving they had depth to cover both Bishop and injured captain TJ Ferman.
Wineera said they were missing Bishop's accurate goal-kicking. Stand-in kicker Korvarn Togiatama had a hard day at the office, converting just two of Toa's six tries.
He expected Bishop to be available again for Toa at the business end of the season once his basketball obligations had finished, but said he would be on the bench on return and would have to work his way back into the starting line-up.
"We're happy with the boys that have come in, so he'll be on the bench and have to work his way back in," he said.
Halfback cum fullback Eddie Sauili was now Toa's captain, moving to the back in the absence of Bishop.
Toa's tries went to Kyale Arthur, Newress Fotualii, Chase Makamaka, Trevor Marama, Manasseh Wineera and Kaitiaki Toi tries, while College Old Boys were kept scoreless by a good Toa defensive effort.
In other games, Foxton hosted Rahui at Easton Park in Foxton on Saturday in what was an open game played at pace.
Rahui scored first with a converted try. Foxton answered back with a converted try of their own to level at seven-all at halftime.
Rahui again scored early in the second half to lead 12-7, but with seven minutes to go Foxton managed to score a converted try and win 14-12.
In the other match, Waikanae managed an away win when beating Shannon 20-16 at Shannon Domain.
SCOREBOARD: Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition
At Levin Domain: Toa: 34 (K. Arthur, N. Fotualii, C. Makamaka, T. Marama, K. Toi tries; K. Togiatama 2 con) v Levin College Old Boys: 0.
At Shannon Domain: Waikanae: 20 (G. Levave, T. Reti tries; E. Reti 2 con, 2 pen) v Shannon: 16 (J. Rider, J. Woodmass tries; S. Pape 2 pen).
At Easton Park: Foxton: 14 (S. McCool, D. McErlean tries; A. Murphy 2 con) v Rahui: 12.
Bill Muir Cup - reserve grade.
At Levin Domain: Levin College Old Boys: 45 (C. Coulston, T. Fonoti, F. Kaisala 3, G. Lomax, J. Tevita tries; J. Tevita 4 con, E. Falefa con) v Toa: 17.
At Easton Park: Foxton: 40 (J. Batt, J. Carr, C. Garard, A. Kauri, B. Robinson 2 tries; A. Kauri 2 con, 2 pen) v Rahui: 20 (K. O'Brien, J. Pearce tries; M. Rikihana con, pen, P. Brown con, pen).
At Paraparaumu Domain: Paraparaumu: 17 (M. Tambour, D. Taylor, S. Mareikura-Martin tries; P. Goldsmith con) v Athletic: 7 (L. Anderson try; M. Easton con).
Draw – Saturday 4th May.
Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition – 2:45pm kick-off: Rahui v Paraparaumu – Ōtaki Domain. Levin College Old Boys v Waikanae – Levin Domain. Toa v Shannon – Te Atiawa Park.
Bill Muir Cup (non-competition games) – 1pm kick-off. Rahui v Paraparaumu – Ōtaki Domain. Foxton v Athletic – Easton Park. Toa v Shannon – Te Atiawa Park.