Toa coach Richie Wineera couldn't believe what he was seeing.
As his side had a bye, Wineera came to watch the Foxton versus Shannon match at Easton Park at the weekend, knowing that if Shannon won or finished within seven points, or scored a four-try bonus point, then the season was over for his team.
Toa was level on points and could do nothing more than watch, although rumour has it there was a sack of pāua in it for Foxton if they could deny Shannon a bonus point.
Try as they might, Shannon only scored three tries and were comprehensively beaten 51-22 after trailing by 24-3 at halftime, which meant Toa claimed the final semi-final berth.
Foxton, celebrating their old-timers day, never let Shannon in the game.
Wineera said he didn't expect to be ringing his players after the match to tell them to be at training on Tuesday night.
"I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought we were gonski. I drove up to watch it because I knew it would be a good game of rugby and we have a lot of respect for both Foxton and Shannon," he said.
"But I've never cheered for Foxton so much in my life," he said.
In another twist, Wineera said he was congratulating the Foxton coaching staff on their victory when news came through that Rahui had upset Waikanae at Waikanae Park.
The mood changed when it confirmed that Toa would be travelling to play Foxton at Easton Park this weekend for the semi-final.
Toa are defending champions having won their fifth title last season and while they had posted some inconsistent results this season, it would make for a tough match this weekend.
"We trained last week like we were going through, just in case. No one really thought it was possible. We were lucky we did," he said.
"We're excited that we get another chance. I wouldn't count us out and I would rate us as a team that can play good finals rugby."
Foxton's tries went to Tui Ratoa, Shae Gray, Illisoni Rauhihi, Cody Hemi (two) and Lachlin Blackstock (two).
Shannon's tries went to Sean Pape, Henry Anderson and Jaxon Tagavaitau, with Pape adding a conversion and a penalty and Tagavaitau a conversion.
Sky TV cameraman Bruce Black was at the match and said it would screen on Sky Sport on Thursday, July 11, at 6pm on the rugby channel, then again on Prime at 1pm on Sunday, July
The other semi-final this weekend would be a rematch between Rahui and Waikanae at Waikanae Park, after both sides met at the weekend, with Rahui winning 37-25.
Of the four semi-finalists, Foxton had gone the longest without drinks, not having won the title since 1988. Although they had produced some fine teams during the side and made several finals, they had tripped at the final hurdle.
The last time Rahui won the competition was in 2011. Toa won it last year and Waikanae the year before.
Meanwhile, College Old Boys left it to their final game of the season to record their first win, beating Paraparaumu 24-17 at Levin Domain.
It was a good way for the only Levin-based club in the competition to end their season after some close results through the year.
The senior reserve grade semi-finalists were also found with Levin College Old Boys to play Rahui at Levin Domain, and Paraparaumu to host Athletic at Paraparaumu Domain.
Ramsbottom Cup - Premier Competition
At Easton Park: Foxton: 51 (L. Blackstock 2, S. Gray 2, T. Katoa, M. Knight, C. Hemi, I. Rauhihi tries; C. Hemi 2 con, A. Murphy 2 con, pen) v Shannon: 22 (S. Pape, H. Anderson, J. Tagavaitau tries; J. Tagavaitau con, S. Pape con, pen).
At Ōtaki Domain: Rahui: 37 (M. Cooper, K. Cameron, T. Peneha, T. Raureti, T. Manga tries; T. Manga con, pen, P. Connor-Phillips 2 con, pen) v Waikanae: 25 (C. Clark, B. Khanchaleun, G. Levave tries; E. Reti 2 con, 2 pen).
At Levin Domain: Levin College Old Boys: 24 (J. Tupai-Ui 2, H. Taiapa tries; H. Henare 3 con, pen) v Paraparaumu: 17 (D. Taylor, L. McMahon, A. Brunskill tries; S. McBride con).
Bill Muir Cup - Senior Reserve Grade.
At Easton Park: Foxton: 20 (T. Chambers 2, S. Gilman, R. Kreegher tries) v Shannon: 12 (L. Hanson, N. McLeod-Jones tries; B. Te Tomo con).
At Levin Domain: Levin College Old Boys: 24 (J. Tevita 2, A. Pepa, C. Salu tries; C. Salu 2 con) v Paraparaumu: 15 (T. Keelan, C. Mason tries; P. Goldsmith con, pen).
Semi-final draw – Saturday 13th July
Ramsbottom Cup Premier Competition – 2:45pm kick-off
Foxton v Toa – Easton Park
Waikanae v Rahui – Waikanae Park
Bill Muir Cup – 1pm kick-off
Levin College Old Boys v Rahui – Levin Domain
Paraparaumu v Athletic – Paraparaumu Domain