What better way to kick-start the week-long Gwynne Shield rugby tournament in Cambridge than a 'Battle of the Waipā' contest between the host team and Te Awamutu.

There have been some epic encounters between these proud neighbouring arch-rivals, none more so than in 2016 when they met twice during the week.

On that occasion two years ago, Te Awamutu won their round-robin clash 15-7 only for the top qualifiers to stumble at the final hurdle, losing to Cambridge (the shield winners) 12-5.

Cambridge came out on top in most facets of the game to run out deserving 17-0 victors.
Cambridge came out on top in most facets of the game to run out deserving 17-0 victors.

Both teams looked to be suffering from first up nerves in the windy conditions on Sunday and will be better for the experience.

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Cambridge came out on top in most facets of the game to run out deserving 17-0 victors.

Their forward pack looked well-drilled and they have pace to burn on both flanks in the backs.

The boys in the maroon and gold jerseys fought hard and never stopped trying.
The boys in the maroon and gold jerseys fought hard and never stopped trying.

Te Awamutu, with only one practice hit out under their belts, looked rusty and struggled to break down the rock solid Cambridge defence.

The boys in the maroon and gold jerseys fought hard and never stopped trying.

"Unfortunately, Cambridge were just that much better on the day and we never adapted to their style of play," commented Te Awamutu team manager Jeremy Collett.

Proving the more clinical side in the red zone, Cambridge scored two first half tries to lead 12-0 at halftime.

Open side flanker Benjamin Bell scored after seven minutes on the end of a telling break by pacey winger Connor Harvey-Price down the left hand touchline.

The attack was snuffed out by the cover defence near the goal line. A couple of rucks ensued before Bell crossed for the opening five pointer.

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Te Awamutu then enjoyed a period on attack with second five Jahsayus Flavell featuring prominently with a series of bruising bursts at the defence but to no avail.

Cambridge finished the half strongly, benefiting from a couple of gift penalties from the opposition inside the Te Awamutu 22.

The pressure took its toll when a quick tap penalty resulted in a try to lock Ben Kibby, converted by Sebastian George.

Te Awamutu needed to score first in the second half to get back into the contest.

Cambridge had other ideas, pinning the opposition deep inside their 22 from the restart.

Constant pressure on the goal line resulted in a five metre scrum out in front of the posts.

The ball was swung to the right where a three on two overlap saw Harvey Price score untouched to complete the scoring in the 27th minute of the two-20 minute halves game.

Standouts for Cambridge were their No 8 Clay Osborne and wing Harvey Price.

Player of the day for Te Awamutu was Gus Pratt.

The first five was outstanding on defence and ran the ball strongly. Other players to impress were Kane Gibberd, Flavell and Cullen Bevan.