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.
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
Whaka Red 61 Murupara Stingers 33, Ngongotahā Thunder 47 Pikiao Warriors 40, Waikite Panthers 43 RGHS Prem 1 37.
Kahukura Red 68 Lakez 37, Eastside Gurls 1 53 Marist Trailblazers 37, Kahukura White DWn Ngongotahā On Call DLs.
Manawatahi Taiohi 46 Marist Storm 42, Reporoa Rangers 58 Ngongotahā Hapori 35, Manawatahi Black DWn Pikiao Raiders DLs.
Waikite Flamez 53 The Chix 27, PK Stingers 42 Tuhoe 38, Kahukura Tri Colours 43 Kahukura Blue 35.
Ngongotahā League 36 Ngongotahā Huia 17, Marist Strikers 51 Marist Astro 21, Eastside Gurls 2 49 Fordlands 29.
Ngongotahā Social 62 Waikite Social 35, Ngongotahā Mareikura 53 Marist Souls 9, Manawatahi Green 16 Marist Misfits 15.