Waikite have earned local bragging rights in Division 1 with a 38-22 win over Kahukura.
It was a typically aggressive and passionate match-up between two sides who love to beat each other, at Kuirau Park yesterday, with both teams going down to 14 men within the opening minute after a punch up between two players.
The scuffle resulted in a penalty to Kahukura 22m out, which halfback Liam Preston slotted to take a 3-0 lead.
Waikite's back three looked dangerous with ball in the hand from the get-go and it was their left winger Tylar Edwardson who hit back with a try after five minutes, on the back of a rampaging run up the middle by No 8 Tony Lawrence. The try was converted from the sideline to give Waikite a 7-3 lead.
Preston nailed another penalty from 35m out to get his side back within touching distance before Waikite fullback Ethan Taua-Draper showed scintillating speed, hitting a gap near halfway and racing away to score. Waikite converted and led 14-6.
Kahukura hit back almost immediately with a try to winger Cravarn Walker before Preston kicked another two penalties to extend his personal points tally to 12 and give his side a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Waikite kicked a penalty early in the second half and it was anybody's game at 17-all.
They then scored their third try through Albie Lawrence, who crashed over from close range, to establish a 24-17 lead. However, Kahukura stayed in the fight with a try to Tipene Peta, making it 24-22.
With the game in the balance Waikite stepped up in the final 20 minutes and after a period of pressure they sealed the win with a quick-fire double to halfback William Collier.
Kahukura coach Ron Preston said his side's performance was much improved after a 38-5 loss to Ruatoki the week before.
"It was much better, last weekend was pretty disappointing but today they really stepped up. We had to step up today.
"[The local derbies] are what we play for in Rotorua, it brings out the best in both teams and it's always tough. They broke us a couple of times in the first half, got in behind us, but we fought back quite well," Preston said.
Waikite coach Kevin Lee was pleased to see his side "stuck in there in trying circumstances".
"They kept going for the full 80 minutes. Kahukura were very hearty and played for their home ground.
"We've been hamstrung a little bit this season with two teams defaulting to us, which means we don't get the bonus points on offer. It's left us having to go for bonus points in every game now. It's not good enough by the clubs that are defaulting to us," Lee said.
Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Division One
Poroporo 8 v Opotiki 94
Kahukura 22 v Waikite 38
Te Teko 17 v Ruatoki 7
Waimana 14 v Murupara 38
Marist St Michael's 44 v Judea 5
Papamoa 3 v Rangiuru 55
Central Bay of Plenty Senior Reserves
Reporoa A 68 v Taupo 5
Eastern Pirates 31 v Reporoa B 15
Waikite 33 v Marist St Michael's 3