A 55-0 loss to Hamilton saw Central Bay of Plenty hand over the Peace Cup but remain in contention for the Stan Meads Cup (SMC).
After leading 12-0 at halftime, Hamilton cut loose in the second spell to hammer the SMC title holders.
The teams squared off at the Suburbs Rugby Club in Hamilton, with the Peace Cup (SMC challenge trophy) on the line.
Central Bay of Plenty stemmed the tide in the opening 15 minutes of the second half before the floodgates opened, with the home team running in multiple tries. The 55-0 win means Hamilton have posted 124 points in their two qualifying rounds of play to finish with maximum competition points in section one.
The Hamilton victory provided a remarkable comeback for coach Gary Robertson, who had a hand in winning the battered Peace Cup for the third time. Robertson took Hamilton to back-to-back wins in 2002 and 2003, when the Peace Cup was a stand-alone competition. Serious health issues saw him out of the game for a long period before answering the Hamilton call back to duty last season.
Robertson said: "I feel incredibly proud to be associated with the past and present Peace Cup people, who have contributed to keeping the Peace Cup alive.
"While it is great to temporarily return the Peace Cup to Hamilton, our players and management are now completely focused on taking out our semifinal next weekend to have a shot at winning the 2020 Stan Meads Cup."
Seven-time Stan Meads Cup champions Te Awamutu were playing for 2020 SMC survival when they met Cambridge in Cambridge, with the winner taking a place in this weekend's semifinals.
Te Awamutu opened the scoring with a converted try in the opening five minutes, with the hosts coming back with a seven pointer at the 15-minute mark. Te Awamutu led 21-14 at the break before going on to run in four more tries to take out the encounter 49-28.
A remarkable feature of the match was that all 11 tries were converted. While Cambridge were eliminated from the 2020 SMC competition, they proved worthy opponents in both their qualifying encounters with genuine displays of attacking flair and solid defence.
This weekend's semifinals see section two winner Piako hosting Central Bay of Plenty. The Morrinsville-based side won both their SMC regular season fixtures. Central Bay of Plenty won their other match by default over South Waikato.
Hamilton, who finished top of section one, will be at home against Te Awamutu, who grabbed the second spot in section two.
Stan Meads Cup Results – Round Three
Section One: Hamilton 55-0 Central Bay of Plenty.
Section Two: Te Awamutu 49-28 Cambridge, Piako - bye.
Stan Meads Cup Points Table
Section One: Hamilton 10, Central Bay of Plenty 5.
Section Two: Piako 9, Te Awamutu 6, Cambridge 1.
Stan Meads Cup Draw (Home team first)
Saturday, October 3, Semifinals: Hamilton v Te Awamutu, Piako v Central Bay of Plenty.
Saturday, October 10 - 2020 Stan Meads Cup Final.
Stan Meads Cup Champions
2011: Te Awamutu, 2012: Te Awamutu, 2013: Eastern Bay of Plenty, 2014: Te Awamutu, 2015: Te Awamutu, 2016: Te Awamutu, 2017: Te Awamutu, 2018: Te Awamutu, 2019: Central Bay of Plenty.