The battle for semifinal spots in the Baywide Premier 1 competition could not be closer.

Therefore, when fifth-placed Te Puke hosted fourth-placed Mount Maunganui in the penultimate round on Saturday, both sides knew a win would be vital if they were to have any say in where they finish in the standings.

Mount Maunganui started the game strongly but Te Puke grew in stature throughout to hold on for what could be a season-defining 32-22 win.

Te Puke manager Ross Flexman said the win was "very crucial".


"That puts us back in the top four now and if we hang


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