The 2018 Tasman Tanning Senior champions Kelso Hunterville and Kaierau shared top spot coming out of the opening round of local club rugby on Saturday.

Both won their home games by identical 33-12 scorelines, beating Speirs Food Marton and Border respectively.

At the Country Club, both teams used the fact that Premier club rugby was not kicking off for another week to bring in a couple of top level players, as Kaierau legend Ace Malo covered fullback and would score the game's opening try.

Border also had a couple of Steelform Wanganui reps as 2018 lock Jack Hodges played, as did former Wanganui loose forward Kieran Hussey, who needed the game time after missing the Premier preseason fixtures.


Facing the side from down State Highway 1, Hunterville were deadlocked with Marton 7-7 at halftime on a warm March afternoon for playing rugby, but pulled away with 26 points in the second stanza.

The Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield changed hands in the first game of the season, as Bennett's Taihape got a big boost in confidence by travelling over to McNab Domain and holding off Counties 25-21.

Taihape got revenge for losing their last game of 2018 to Counties 43-24 in their previous shield challenge.

It proved a good weekend for the Marist club, as last year's runnersup Celtic picked up the bonus point in their 29-15 away win to Utiku Old Boys, while 2018's Consolation title winners the Buffalos defeated Black Bull Liquor Pirates 25-11 in the Spriggens Park derby game, after they trailed at halftime.

Pirates stepped into the game at short notice, as they were scheduled for the bye until the Ruapehu seniors pulled out for the season.

Tasman Tanning Senior, Week 1.

At Spriggens Park: Marist Buffalos bt Black Bull Liquor Pirates 25-11. HT: 8-7 Pirates.

At Kaierau Country Club: Kaierau bt Border 33-12. HT: 14-12.


At Memorial Park, Taihape: Marist Celtic bt Utiku OB 29-15. HT: 17-5.

At Hunterville: Kelso Hunterville bt Speirs Food Marton 33-12. HT: 7-7.

At McNab Domain (Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield): Bennett's Taihape bt Counties 25-21. HT: 14-7.