The smell of hāngī wafted around the Shannon Domain at the weekend as a huge crowd turned out for the Shannon Rugby Club's "old-timers and sponsors" day.
The club committee spent Friday evening preparing the hāngī and as a result more than 150 meals were served after the match for opposition players, supporters and sponsors alike.
Venison, mutton and lamb were on the menu and the only protein that wasn't donated was the odd chicken thrown in by the committee for variety.
The reunion for the club's 1969 junior championship team held at the same time meant a huge turnout at the ground, with many old players travelling to the event.
They met at the clubrooms at 11am sharp and were still there long after the main match had finished, which incidentally was won 30-22 by Foxton in a "battle of the bridge" cliffhanger between the two neighbouring clubs.
Shannon coach Justin Pape said his side very nearly pulled off the perfect result and were bolstered by the addition of some new players to the backline.
The Linton Army Rugby Club team that competed in the Manawatū competition had folded, which led to five players joining the Shannon team at the start of the week.
Pape said Shannon had always had a good relationship with the Army club, essentially their neighbours to the north.
He said the fact they were all players in backline positions was a perfect fit for his team who were laden with forwards.
Foxton's points came through tries to Tipeu Luke, Mase Pakau-Wallace, Shae Gray and Mike Knight, with Arana Murphy adding the extras.
Shannon winger Tane Aupouri scored two tries, with Tainui Woodmass dotting down too, while Sean Pape converted twice and added a penalty.
At the halfway mark of the season just one bonus point separated Waikanae and Foxton at the top of the point table, with Toa snapping at their heels.
Throw into the mix the fact that Shannon were not far off the pace, and that Rahui accounted for Waikanae 24-22 at the weekend, and the competition this season was very even.
The only team dropping out of contention were College Old Boys, who were going through a rebuilding season this year after losing a handful of experienced players from last season.
College Old Boys had enjoyed a good run of results with a strong team in recent years and their failure to win a match thus far showed that every club had ebbs and flows in performance from season to season.
SCOREBOARD: HKRFU Club Rugby Results – May 11
Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition
At Shannon Domain: Foxton: 30 (T. Luke, M. Pakau-Wallace, S. Gray, M. Knight tries; A. Murphy 2 con, 2 pen) v Shannon: 22 (T. Aupouri 2, T. Woodmass tries; S. Pape 2 con, pen).
At Paraparaumu Domain: Paraparaumu: 19 (C. Bishop 2, A. Brunskill tries; S. McBride 2 con) v Levin College Old Boys: 5 (A. Pepa try).
At Waikanae Park: Rahui: 24 (M. Connor-Phillips, L. Kemp, H. Nikora tries; T. Manga 2 pen, A. Roach pen) v Waikanae: 22 (T. Brown, S. Koni, G. Levave, P. Itielu tries; E. Reti con).
Bill Muir Cup
At Paraparaumu Domain: Paraparaumu: 28 (M. Kimmie, R. Lake, D. Tiata, L. Ward tries; P. Goldsmith 4 con) v Levin College Old Boys: 7 (H. Henare try; J. Tiata con).
At Playford Park: Athletic: 40 (H. Davies, M. Easton, M. Jones 2, B. Tucker tries; M. Easton 5 con) v Toa: 36 (A. Orzecki 2, L. Parata-Malaulau, R. Reihana, T. Rene, T. Ropata tries; E. Parata con, D. Ropata 2 con).
At Shannon Domain: Foxton: 19 (T. Chambers, J. Gilman, H. Mehana tries; A. Kauri 2 con) v Shannon: 19.
Draw – May 18
Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition – 2.45pm kick-off
Levin College Old Boys v Shannon – Levin Domain. Foxton v Paraparaumu – Easton Park.
Toa v Waikanae – Te Atiawa Park.
Bill Muir Cup – 1pm kick-off
Levin College Old Boys v Shannon – Levin Domain. Rahui v Athletic – Otaki Domain. Foxton v Paraparaumu – Easton Park.