With the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown in the rear view mirror, club sport is back in full swing and providing all the entertainment we could ask for. Reporter David Beck runs his eye over the latest weekend of action in the Bay.
Football in Rotorua is all about collaboration this season, Rotorua United and Ngongotahā combining forces to enter men's and women's teams under the combined banner of Waiariki.
The senior teams are a few rounds into their season now and have experienced mixed results.
The Waiariki women have looked strong with two wins from three games in the WaiBop W-League, including a 2-0 away victory over Hamilton Wanderers on Sunday.
This weekend they have the opportunity to play on the number one field at Rotorua International Stadium, part of an ongoing grassroots football initiative when they host league leaders Pāpāmoa at 1pm. Prior to that, the women's Bay 1 team host Kawerau, also at the stadium, at 11am. Entry to the stadium is free.
The Waiariki women will be wearing their new home kit for the first time, designed by local Ta Moko artist Te Wehi Preston and paying homage to both senior club colours.
Meanwhile, the Waiariki premier men's team drew 3-all with Huntly Thistle on Saturday. They now have two draws and two losses this season. The second men's team lost 7-0 to Katikati in the Bay 1 competition, their first loss after two draws and the third team claimed their first win, 4-3 over Tauranga City in Bay 2.
We're a couple of rounds into the Baywide rugby season but it is not quite as we knew it.
The competition is split into sub-unions, Western, Central and Eastern, which for supporters means local derbies to look forward to every weekend.
As was perhaps expected, being a regular in the Premier 1 competition in recent years, Whakarewarewa lead the way with comfortable wins over Marist St Michael's and Rotoiti so far. Kahukura have also won two from two and sit second on points difference.
In the women's competition, there are household names doing the rounds with several Black Ferns Sevens players, stuck at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, turning out for their clubs.
As expected, the teams boasting those international superstars are sitting in the top three places on the table. Rangataua are first, followed by Mount Maunganui and Rangiuru. Rangataua and Rangiuru have also had the bye already.
Te Teko and Ōpōtiki joined the women's competition this year and at the weekend Te Teko picked up their first win, beating Rotoiti 38-15.
The Bay of Plenty men's rugby league season got under way at the weekend.
Defending champions Taupō Phoenix made an early-season statement in a rematch of last year's final, beating Pacific Sharks 40-24.
The Pikiao Warriors put a disappointing 2019 behind them, starting their campaign with a 38-20 win over Forestland Falcons.
Mangakino Hawks, Tauhara Te Maunga and Reporoa Razorbacks also started the season with wins.
IN OTHER SPORTS...
Senior netballers finally took to the courts in Rotorua at the weekend. They played in the first of two weekends of grading after which regular competition will be under way and we will have the results for you weekly.
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