The sponsor's product went down well for Waverley Harvesting Border on Saturday evening after their emphatic 43-10 win over Byford's Readimix Taihape in the last Grand Hotel Challenge Shield defence of 2019 at Memorial Park.
Eager to spend the hotel voucher for holding the Shield at the end of the round robin, Border knew they had little recent successes in their longest away game trip on the season, and the home side did strike first with Taihape backline leader Dane Whale scoring a converted try.
However, playing to secure their home semifinal and with a reinforced lineup beginning to find their groove together, Border hit the front with two converted tries, and although a Whale penalty closed the gap to 14-10, Taihape were destined to get no closer.
Border scored their third try, while Nick Harding telegraphed what is believed to be the first drop goal of the Tasman Tanning Premier-Division 1 season for a 22-10 lead at halftime.
The visitors then went on with it in the second stanza, scoring three more converted tries to blow the scoreline out.
Border's leading lights stood up as both halfback Lindsay Horrocks and outside back Vereniki Tikoilosolomone scored their fifth tries in three games.
The forwards also got in on the act with prop Hamish Mellow, lock Jack Hodges and loose forward Chris Breuer all crossing the line, while backline leader Craig Clare swooped to snatch an intercept and run off for a try that he converted.
Border have now won four games on the trot in impressive fashion, with an expanding roster of top players coming back from injury and other commitments during that time.
They have signalled they are firmly ready for a tilt at the championship as they will rematch in the semifinal with the last team to beat them in Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau.
For Taihape, the capitulation of an injury-decimated Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist to McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu meant they were still safe to hang onto fourth spot for the playoffs.
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But after two losses in a row at home, it's going to take a big psychological lift to head up to Ohakune on Saturday and qualify for their first final since 2016, while denying Ruapehu a shot at a championship three-peat.
Border getting out to a big lead meant Kaierau knew before the end of their game with Harvey Round Motors Ratana in the Pa that they would be travelling for their semifinal, despite picking up the maximum points in their 40-0 win.
Safe for their first championship playoffs since 2012, Kaierau made a number of changes to their regular lineup, with co-coach Ace Malo sitting the game out, as did goal kicker Shandon Scott.
Playing on a Pa field that was very wet underfoot, making attacking plays slow going, Kaierau eventually ran in eight tries, but missed raising a half century as they could not convert any of them.
Facing one of his former clubs, second-five Te Tua Kemp opened the scoring, then winger Tawera Puohotaua and fullback Karl Pascoe got tries before halftime.
Captain Ethan Robinson scored after the break to raise the bonus point, then Puohotaua got his double.
Kaierau brought regular starting prop Raymond Epati off the bench to get a try, as did fellow reserve Kitiana Leitupo, before Kemp got his own double before fulltime.
Their tough season over, Ratana will now have to go away to have a major re-think about their plans for 2020 – having done well to qualify for the top six of Division 1 with two early season wins, but not earning a solitary competition point in the second round after a series of heavy defeats, while their coach Steelie Koro left with three games remaining.
Like Division 1, there was a similar finish in Division 2 as the final round robin games did not changes the placings in the Top 4.
Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri finished as top qualifier after another big win at home, although as the third team promoted from Senior who had to travel up the Waitotara Valley, Marist Celtic gave a better account than their predecessors in the 50-27 loss, making a second half comeback after trailing 33-5 at halftime.
Bennett's Taihape were playing to hang onto the other home semifinal and accomplished it after pulling away from Counties in the second half at the McNab Domain to secure the crucial bonus point in their 38-12 win, after being deadlocked 5-all at halftime.
Black Bull Liquor Pirates therefore will have to settle for an away semifinal to Memorial Park, despite a comeback of their own to finish over top of Utiku Old Boys, 34-10 at Spriggens Park, following Utiku scoring the only points of the first half.
Utiku will now have to head back up the Waitotara Valley to face the Ngamatapouri side who hammered them 62-12 on their previous visit in early June.
In Division 3, Kelso Hunterville now have the break on the points table they needed from Speirs Food Marton, after both teams got wins on Saturday but only the title favourites picked up a bonus point.
It had not been certain the Border Seniors would make the trip to Hunterville after the controversy of last weekend, where the team was stripped of their first win of the season, 29-27 against Marist Buffalo's, after it was discovered they had fielded unregistered players.
A player who had to go the sideline was found to be illegal, and further inspection revealed more among his team mates – with the WRFU sending a letter to the Border club during the week to inform them of their points being stripped and awarded to Buffalo's, leaving the Border side officially still winless in 2019.
It did not get much better on Saturday, as the side did travel for the 38-3 loss to Hunterville.
To keep pace with Hunterville, Marton needed to get five points travelling to play Counties Brothers in Kaiwhaiki, but instead found themselves fighting just to save the four – getting home 17-15 after they were down 10-5 at halftime.
Now six points ahead with two rounds remaining, Hunterville will take the bye this weekend, while Marton will have another tough away game with the Kaierau Seniors, who beat them 19-10 at Marton Park back in June.
Results, July 13.
Tasman Tanning Division 1, Week 12.
McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu 46 (Royce Trow 3, Jackson Campbell, Corey Carmichael, Troy Brown, Mitchell Millar tries; Miller pen, 4 con) bt Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist 10 (Brad Graham, Cameron Neilson tries). HT: 29-0.
Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau 40 (Tawera Puohotaua 2, Te Tua Kemp 2, Karl Pascoe, Raymond Epati, Ethan Robinson, Kitiana Leitupo tries) bt Harvey Round Motors Ratana 0. HT: 15-0.
Grand Hotel Challenge Shield – Waverley Harvesting Border 43 (Lindsay Horrocks, Hamish Mellow, Chris Breuer, Craig Clare, Vereniki Tikoilosolomone, Jack Hodges tries; Nick Harding drop goal, 4 con, Clare con) bt Byford's Readimix Taihape 10 (Dane Whale try, pen, con). HT: 22-10.
Division 2, Week 5.
At Spriggens Park: Black Bull Liquor Pirates bt Utiku OB 34-10. HT: 5-0 Utiku OB.
At McNab Domain: Bennett's Taihape bt Counties 38-12. HT: 5-all.
At Ngamatapouri: Ngamatapouri bt Marist Celtic 50-27. HT: 33-5.
Division 3, Week 5.
At McNab Domain: Speirs Food Marton bt Counties Brothers 17-15. HT: 10-5 Brothers.
At Hunterville: Kelso Hunterville bt Border 38-3. HT: 12-3.
At Kaierau CC: Kaierau bt Pirates by default.
Bye: Marist Buffalo's.