Yesterday,Bay of Plenty's top women's rugby teams travelled to Hamilton and returned with the Battle of the Kaimais Shield as well as bragging rights over their Waikato counterparts.
The annual Battle of the Kaimais Championship, established last year, sees Bay of Plenty's top women's teams take on Waikato's finest with the aim of creating regular, meaningful competition between the two unions.
This year it was Rangiuru, Rangataua and Mount maunganui who made the trip. Mount Maunganui played a 10-a-side game against University and won 36-31. Rangataua beat Hamilton Old Boys 36-27 and Rangiuru beat Melville 24-5 for the clean sweep.
Defending Baywide champions Rangataua were up against it for the full 80 minutes against Hamilton Old Boys but were able to make the most of their chances for the win.
Hamilton had all the possession and territory in the opening stages and after 10 minutes they made it count with a try to prop Awhina Wainohu who burrowed over from close range.
Whenever Rangataua play, one of the highlights is the opportunity to see their first five Gayle Broughton in action.
The Black Ferns Sevens representative was at her dazzling best as she set up the first try for her side, straightening up on the left before putting second five Azalleyah Maaka through a hole to score and make it 5-all.
Both sides boasted powerful forward packs and like rams fighting they went head-to-head in the middle of the field, trying to get their side on the front foot.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half Rangataua scored twice more. The first was scored by Broughton who chipped over the top and regathered twice in an impressive piece of individual play.
They backed that up with a neat blindside set play from a scrum inside the Hamilton 22m which resulted in halfback Jade Tuilaepa strolling through a gap to score. Rangataua led 19-5 at halftime.
Rangataua extended their lead straight from the kickoff at the start of the second half. Broughton again showed her sublime footwork, tearing through a gap and drawing the last defender before putting Mariah Ririnui, a former 100m sprint champion, in to score.
Hamilton hit straight back with a try to their own speedster Kelera Sing, who snatched an intercept and sprinted 80m to score, reducing the deficit to 24-10.
Another one of Rangataua's New Zealand representatives Luka Connor came on at halftime and midway through the second half she extended the lead to 29-10 as she did her impression of a bulldozer, skittling defenders as she charged over the line.
Hamilton scored twice more to make it 29-20 before Rangataua were awarded a penalty try. Hamilton scored a late try but it was little more than a consolation as Rangataua ran out 36-27 victors.
Rangataua assistant coach Jamie Keenleyside said the game was "really well contested".
"It was pretty close, I don't think the score is any reflection of what the game was like. They had some big strong forwards in there but I'm pretty happy with the way our girls played."
He was pleased with the way his side fought back after being under the pump in the early stages.
"That's something we've been working at a lot, our patience, our defensive line and how to meet them at the line. The girls have come along really well over the last couple of weeks.
"I think Old Boys played really well too, they played to their game and their strengths, their big strong forwards, but I think we had the measure of them in the backs. It was a contrast in styles but our forwards did really well too."
Keenleyside said the Battle of the Kaimais concept was "a great idea".
"It's only going to better the game and make women's rugby stronger. [Having it mid-season rather than at the end] is a good idea because people are still committed. At the end of the season everybody hangs their boots up and half of them are away. I think it's really valuable."
Battle of the Kaimais Results
Mount Maunganui 36 University 31
Rangataua 36 Hamilton Old Boys 27
Rangiuru 24 Melville 5