The famous Gwynne Shield junior rugby tournament was back this year to celebrate Waikato Rugby Union's (WRU) and the tournament's centenary, with the winners having long hoped for the victory.
For the first time since 2012, the Hamilton Wasps could take home the tournament trophy.
Wasps coach Elliot Tiffany said: "It was a long time coming for the Wasps. None of the four Hamilton teams have won it for years, so to have a Hamilton finalist was a real highlight. I have seen some awesome sportsmanship and the kids were having fun."
In fact, it was two Hamilton teams that faced off in the final this year, with the Wasps taking on the Hamilton Panthers and holding on for a 20-15 win.
Waikato primary schools rugby advisory group chairman Wayne Bootten said: "This year was outstanding. It was one of the biggest years we have had and a massive day for the winning team.
"All the teams enjoyed it, even the ones who lost all the games. Everyone got to play like-minded players and the kids felt like they grew as players."
Founded in 1921, the Gwynne Shield is a school-based tournament for Year 8 students who are 57kg and under. Sportsmen the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Isaac Boss, and All Blacks like Kieran Reid and Luke Jacobsen developed their skills as youngsters participating in the annual competition.
"The kids remember the tournament for a long time; having the original shield is a little bit of tradition we get to hold up. A lot of elite players held that shield.
"Ex-players from the All Blacks down say the Gwynne Shield was the first real competition they played. In 2009 now All Black Luke Jacobson played for Cambridge and Isaac Boss still remembers it and even comes to watch it," Bootten said.
For Elliot who has been involved in the Gwynne Shield for years, not only as a coach but also as a parent, it was a very special tournament this year.
"The icing on the cake was that I got to coach the Wasps together with my two teenage sons Kristian and Xavier as assistant coaches. They had played in the competition when they were younger, but never won, so now winning the Gwynne Shield as a coach meant a lot to them."
Over the past years, voices saying that kids this young shouldn't be competing against each other, because the competition puts a lot of pressure on them have gotten louder, resulting in debates about the future of the traditional tournament.
Elliot said the kids were participating for the experience rather than for the competition.
"You learn to be passionate. [The Gwynne Shield] is a famous tournament that unifies teams for years."
Bootten says that despite the future of the tournament being in the air, not all hope is lost yet.
"Quite a number of people want to keep it going ... [and] there is a good chance that it will go ahead. An alternative would be to run the Gwynne Shield as a development camp without competition."
Elliot says: "As a coach and as a parent I hope it is continued in some version - maybe just for the Hamilton teams, I would be happy with that. But I would be very sad to see a tournament of this tradition and significance disappear."
The 10 teams competing in the special centenary edition of the Gwynne Shield were Cambridge, Hamilton Eagles, Hamilton Panthers, Hamilton Tigers, Hamilton Wasps, Matamata, Morrinsville, North Waikato, Te Awamutu, and the Tritons.
After the Tritons from South Waikato District won the tournament in 2019, last year's tournament had to be suspended because of Covid-19.