It wasn't a jaw-dropping, eye-catching way to start the season, but a win against last year's champions has got to feel good for the team from Waipū.
Losing the Northland premier club rugby competition final to Kamo last year, Waipū turned up an enthused side, resolute on defence in their round one, 21-3, victory at Caledonian Park on Saturday.
It was a fairly typical round one fixture with the hot sun bearing down on the already-hard turf and with 10 minutes to go, players were strewn across the park complaining of cramp and stiffness.
With a number of frontline players out, Kamo still managed to control much of the second half, dominating possession and territory. However, a combination of great defence and bungled plays cost Kamo about five clear try-scoring opportunities.
Waipū were more than happy to take advantage of Kamo's mistakes and attacked well on the counter, taking what points they could from their opposition when in enemy territory.
Simple errors ran right through the game with poor discipline invoking a number of high tackles and multiple knock-ons, poor passes and scrambled play. That being said, Kamo fullback Jaydenn Bentley-Hape looked good with ball in hand and Waipū's defensive effort on their own line will send a message to the rest of the competition.
"We've been working really hard on our defence in our pre-season and that was a good reflection of all the hard work the boys have been putting in," Waipū coach Graham Dewes said.
"It was scratchy in parts, but for a first hit out I thought there were some good plays from our boys, the set-piece worked well and our backline stepped up."
The premier team's victory was complemented by the 28-24 win for the Waipū reserves over the Kamo reserves earlier in the day. Dewes said it was great to see the club start the season so well, but that both sides had key work-ons for the future.
"The referee [Boris Jurlina] did a good job, but it highlighted our discipline and giving away penalties.
"The penalty count probably went both ways but it's something that we need to work on."
Kamo coach Cam Goodhue credited his opposition's defence which kept out his side who scored a try in nearly every game last season.
"I think Waipū were very well-drilled, good up front and had a bit more go forward than we did."
Despite not having a pre-season game and missing a number of starting players, Goodhue said his troops didn't back down from the challenge.
"We were out-muscled but we never took a backfoot step, so it was quite a brave performance considering we had a few of our key players missing."
Round one premier club rugby results
Waipū 21 (W. Faiane 2, T. Mayanavanua tries; W. Faiane, 2 pen) Kamo 3 (Jaydenn Bentley-Hape, 1 pen)
Hora Hora 27 Kerikeri 14 (W. Whiu try; T. Smith 3 pen)
Wellsford 62 (T. Sikulu 2, PJ. Atkins, D. Lewis, R. Neal, S. Sweetman, S. Te Haara, S. Walters-Hansen, R. Wright tries; T. Blundell 7 con, 1 pen) Mid Northern 31 (L. Edwards, R. Heremaia, H. Manuel, F. Rolton, J. Tugaga tries; M. Reweti 2, F. Rolton con
Western Sharks 50 (M. Frood 2, P. Malimali 2, M. Matich, P. Maake, J. Mateiwai, J. Povey tries; J. Povey 5 con) Hikurangi 7 (C. Marton try, J. Witehira con)
Old Boys Marist 45 Otamatea 10 (J. Caldwell, L. Lavea tries)