Last season Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa and ninetyblack Taupō were fighting for The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership title - and it seems little has changed in 2019.
After Saturday's matches, both teams won making it another race to the finish for both squads.
Pāpāmoa's win was slightly harder than expected work of a 4-2 win at Ngaruawahia United, while Taupō's 5-1 hammering of Ōtūmoetai may well have killed off the Western Bay team's chances.
At Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia took an 11th-minute lead through Andy Carswell but Andrew Cooper drew the visitors level just six minutes later. The Green Machine bit back midway through the half, however, when Carswell netted his second in an improved showing by his team. With half time looming a solid first 45 minutes by the hosts were all undone within a minute. Juan Irazabal drew Pāpāmoa level right on time, then Cooper bagged his second a minute into added time to push his team in front.
Player-coach Colm Kenny scored his customary goal just five minutes after the restart to give Pāpāmoa a lead they held until the end of the game.
The match at Crown Park began so well for visiting Ōtūmoetai. Jordi Langton's fourth-minute goal gave them an early lead, but it was all down hill from there. Taupō were in front by the 11th minute after goals from Jordan Lamb and Max Duckworth, then Lamb's second three minutes before the break decisively tipped the match the way of the hosts.
Lamb completed another Premiership hat trick just after the hour mark before Duckworth's second, six minutes from time, completed the rout.
Pāpāmoa now sit on 45 points after 19 games, while Taupō are on 40 points after 17 games. Ōtūmoetai, 38 points from 18 games, now appear to have too much to do if they're to claim a maiden Premiership crown.
Waikato Unicol have all but made sure of a top four finish after winning 3-1 at fifth-placed Tauranga Blue Rovers. Jared Seelye, for Unicol, and Alex Elliott traded first half goals, before Kieran Payton and Reuben Henderson made the result safe for the visitors after the break. Unicol will now be on the hunt to catch an Ōtūmoetai side that sits just three points ahead of them.
After struggling for wins all season, Comag Matamata Swifts made it two from two with a 4-1 victory at West Hamilton. Andrew Clothier struck from the penalty spot early on, before Chris Walker and Sam Hills stretched the margin to three at the break. Walker made it a brace with 20 minutes left before Nathian Damand netted a consolation for the hosts, who now sit in one of the bottom two spots in what's turning out to be a tight relegation stoush.
Tawhiri Ball's first half goal gave Gisler Architects Te Awamutu a much needed 1-0 win over Tauranga Boys' College. Te Awamutu have struggled of late, but the three points they claimed in this match lifted them out of the bottom two, although they've played more matches than all the teams around them.
Melville United completed a solid 3-0 home win over bottom side Safer Team Te Puke United. Jordi Ditford, Davis Vhavha and Sok Ven netted the goals that helped Melville leap closer to a top five spot.
Tilemax Pāpāmoa and Claudelands Rovers were the big beneficiaries of Sunday's results in The Soccer Shop WaiBOP W-League. Pāpāmoa completed a routine 2-0 win at Ōtūmoetai to move to the top of the table over a Rovers side that had their game at Melville United called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Tauranga City, however, slipped further off the pace after suffering a 4-2 defeat at Whakatāne Town, which was a result of huge significance to the top two.
Pāpāmoa, with 15 games played, sit on 32 points, one ahead of a Claudelands side that has played two games fewer. Tauranga, 26 points from 13, and Whakatāne, 25 points from 13, round out the top four.
The top three in The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Championship all won again. Leaders, Bulk Lines Otorohanga, beat Cambridge 3-0; Claudelands Rovers won 4-1 at home over last-placed Waharoa Transport Matamata Reserves, while Waikato Unicol's Reserves won 5-2 in the early game at Pemberton Park.
Taupō's Reserves won the first part of the club's double header against Ōtūmoetai 3-2, while Tauranga City stayed in the top five after a 3-1 win over Tokoroa. Hamilton Wanderers won their second game on the trot, defeating Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa Reserves 3-1.