With the Banner rounds completed the Rotorua Netball Senior Championship got under way yesterday and Ngongotahā Thunder got off to a winning start against Pikiao Warriors.

Ngongotahā were always in control but had to fight off multiple comeback attempts from a spirited Pikiao side on their way to a 47-40 victory.

The two sides went goal-for-goal for much of the early stages, although both took a little time to adjust to a strong wind which meant every pass and shot had to be pinpoint. Ngongotahā led 13-11 after the first quarter.

A theme was beginning to develop. Pikiao would dig in and crawl back to within a point but every time Ngongotahā would bounce back and extend the lead again. It was a physical encounter with neither side giving an inch and at halftime Ngongotahā led 24-20.

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The third quarter was dead even. Pikiao fought back to within a goal before Ngongotahā extended their lead back out to four, finishing the quarter up 32-28.

Ngongotahā finished the game strong as Pikiao began to run out of puff, remaining in complete control to extend the lead and claim a 47-40 victory.

In the other Premier 1 matches, Whakarewarewa Red were in hot form as they beat defending champions Murupara 61-33 and Waikite Panthers beat Rotorua Girls' High School 43-37.

Rotorua Netball Senior Championship Results

Premier 1

Whaka Red 61 Murupara Stingers 33, Ngongotahā Thunder 47 Pikiao Warriors 40, Waikite Panthers 43 RGHS Prem 1 37.

Premier 2
Kahukura Red 68 Lakez 37, Eastside Gurls 1 53 Marist Trailblazers 37, Kahukura White DWn Ngongotahā On Call DLs.

Premier 3
Manawatahi Taiohi 46 Marist Storm 42, Reporoa Rangers 58 Ngongotahā Hapori 35, Manawatahi Black DWn Pikiao Raiders DLs.

Senior A
Waikite Flamez 53 The Chix 27, PK Stingers 42 Tuhoe 38, Kahukura Tri Colours 43 Kahukura Blue 35.

A Grade
Ngongotahā League 36 Ngongotahā Huia 17, Marist Strikers 51 Marist Astro 21, Eastside Gurls 2 49 Fordlands 29.

A Reserve
Ngongotahā Social 62 Waikite Social 35, Ngongotahā Mareikura 53 Marist Souls 9, Manawatahi Green 16 Marist Misfits 15.