Taihape will create history if the 2019 champions beat current titleholders Border in a third round Tasman Tanning 2021 Whanganui premier club rugby match at Dallison Park on Saturday.
It is an early season meeting between the club finalists for the last two winters with the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield also at stake this time.
The statistical odds will be stacked heavily in favour of hosts Waverley Harvesting Border, who has not been beaten at home by Byford's Readimix Taihape since the hosts re-joined the local competition in 2011.
Over the past 10 years there have been 21 premier games between the clubs with Border ahead 16 victories to five.
Taihape has won four home games on Memorial Park (14-13 in 2011, 29-7 in 2014, 36-30 in 2016 and 39-14 in 2018) and 23-16 in the final on Cooks Gardens two seasons ago, thanks to a try in extra time.
There have been two 50-plus scores, both won by Border – 54-20 at home in 2017 after a 53-8 away romp a year earlier.
Border has won all 10 home fixtures including three shield games – 54-20 in 2017, 10-9 in 2019 and 32-18 last year.
The clubs have met 10 times for the challenge shield with Waverley winning seven, including highs of 54-20 at home in 2017 and 43-10 away in 2014.
Last season Border scraped home 18-17 in Taihape in the first round and won 36-19 at Dallison Park.
This year Border, who has a dozen reps in the squad, has comfortably defended the shield twice, against last year's two bottom teams – 39-10 at Spriggens Park against Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist and 54-14 at home against Settlers Honey Ngamatapouri in a Friday night fixture.
Taihape coasted home 52-7 away over Ngamat and 38-22 at home against McCarthy Transport Ruapehu last weekend.
Results over the first two weekends have Border (93 pts for and 24 against) and Taihape (90-29) level pegging on the table along with Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau (66-10) with Border (plus 59) ahead of Taihape (61) and Kaierau (56) on points differential.
Border and Taihape have each scored 14 tries this year, including a hat-trick by Ben Whale, with Dane Whale contributing 25 points for Taihape and Nick Harding kicking 21 for Border.
The crucial Waverley match, which will have a major bearing on who will win the overall first round competition honours, will attract an extra large crowd to watch the undisputed top teams of the last two seasons in action.
Kaierau, with a home 36-5 win over Ruapehu and 30-5 v Marist away, look too classy against Ngamatapouri at the Devon Road Country Club on Saturday.
It was 60-12 at the same venue in 2020 and 59-12 away, advancing the win-loss ratio to 7-1 with the sole loss defeat 29-20 away in 2017.
After scoring two late tries to salvage a valuable consolation bonus point at Taihape last weekend Ruapehu will gain confidence for the home fixture against Marist.
Although Marist has won seven times at Rochfort Park during the new millennium, the most recent 28-8 in 2018, Ruapehu is ahead 24 wins to 15 since 2001 with two draws.
Last year the Mountain Men won 41-24 in Ohakune to avenge a 30-23 away defeat.
Harvey Round Ratana will also be in action at Ohakune on Saturday, defending the senior grade Stihl Shop Wanganui Challenge Shield.
Unbeaten Ratana, who held off hosts Utiku OB 19-12 last weekend, shares the senior lead with Kelso Hunterville.
Ruapehu managed a 19-16 first of the season victory over winless Speirs Food Marton OB who host Bennett's Taihape on Saturday.
Hunterville is home to fourth-placed Utiku OB, third-positioned Gemini Pepper Construction Kaierau host bottom of the table McCrea Scanning Counties, fifth equal Ali Arc Logistics-DNA Kennels Marist play sister club side Buffalo's and Border is home to Black Bull Liquor Pirates.
Try feast at Ngamatapouri
The Ngamatapouri Domain has certainly hosted plenty of try-scoring action over the past four seasons with players collecting three or more tries in 13 games at the field.
The latest was former Otago B No 8 Ben Whale in his first championship appearance for Taihape since returning home from England.
Taihape scored eight tries in disposing of hosts Ngamatapouri 52-7 in the opening round of the Tasman Tanning 2021 Wanganui premier qualifying series.
Border's super quick winger Vereniki Tikoisolomone scored three times in his team's 54-14 win over Ngamat last Friday night to follow up four against visiting Ruapehu last season.
Since 2018 30 different players have scored three or more tries 36 times in local premier championship fixtures.
Ben Whale becomes the seventh Taihape player to achieve the feat with mobile hooker Dylan Gallien managing it twice during 2019 to help the club win the championship.
Most tries in a game over the past four years was six by Kaierau rep centre Kaveni Dabenaise in the side's 102-7 away trouncing of Ngamat in 2018.
Pirates second five Meki Magele scored five tries in a 65-5 win over Ratana on Marton Park in the same year.
During the past four years there have been eight bags of four tries including former rep Karl Pascoe (Kaierau) at Ngamatapouri in 2019 and also a hat-trick last season.
Troy Brown (Ruapehu) scored four tries at Ngamatapouri in 2018 and three at home against Ratana the next season.
Utility rep Tyler Rogers-Holden (for Border in 2018 and Taihape in 2019), Shaquille Waara and Royce Trow (Ruapehu) and Dylan Gallien (Taihape) have each scored two hat-tricks.
Border, Kaierau, Ruapehu and Taihape have all collected at least a trio of individual tries seven times, Marist and Ngamatapouri three each and Pirates twice.
Ngamatapouri has conceded three or more individual player tries 14 times, Ratana a dozen times in 2018-19 before dropping down to seniors, Pirates conceded hat-tricks four times over the same two years with Marist (three) and Ruapehu (twice) also on the list.
In addition to Ngamatapouri hosting 13 individual hat trick-plus tries the feat has been recorded six times on Spriggens Park since 2018, four at the Kaierau Country Club and Waverley, three in Taihape, twice each in Ohakune and Marton and once each at Cooks Gardens and Ratana.
Twice two teams have scored hat-tricks against each other in the same game – Ruapehu (62) away to Ngamatapouri (41) in 2020 and at Spriggens Park in 2018 when Pirates beat Ngamatapouri 62-26.
Three or more individual tries since 2018:
Three – Ben Whale (Taih 52, Ngamat 7 at Ngamat).
Four – Vereniki Tikoisolomone (Bord 58, Ruap 23 at Wav), Regan Collier (Taih 77, Ngamat 17 at Ngamat).
Three – Karl Pascoe (Kai 69, Ngamat 12 at Ngamat), Ethan Robinson (Kai 54, Marist 0 at KCC), Royce Trow (Ruap 62, Ngamat 43 at Ngamat), Epeli Delisau (Ngamat 43, Taih 62 at Ngamat), Lasa Ulukuta (Kai 60, Ngamat 12 at KCC).
Four – Karl Pascoe (Kai 51, Ngamat 12 at Ngamat).
Three – Dylan Gallien (Taih87, Ngamat 14 at Taih), Royce Trow (Ruap 46, Marist 10 at Spriggens Park), Lindsay Horrocks (Border 114, Ratana 5 at Wav), Luke Foster (Marist 57, Ratana 14 at SP), Matt Brown (Taih 46, Pirates 0 at SP), Clive Stowers (Kai 54, Ratana 0 at KCC), Ioune Hough-Aki (Marist 48, Ratana 7 at Ratana), Tyler Rogers-Holden and Dylan Gallien (Taih 51, Ratana 0 at Taih), Seva Seraraia (Ngamat 50, Pir 22 at Ngamat), Troy Brown (Ruap 91, Ratana 3 at Ohakune).
Six – Kaveni Dabenaise (Kai 102, Ngamat 7 at Ngamat).
Five – Meki Magele (Pir 65, Ratana 5 at Marton Park).
Four – Tom Symes (Bord 102, Ngamat 7 at Ngamat), Vaovasa Apa (Pir 62, Ngamat 26 at SP), Jim Seruwala (Ngamat 26 Pir 62 at SP), Jaye Flaws (Taih 47, Ngamat 10 at Ngamat), Shaquille Waara (Ruap 71, Ratana 12 at Ohakune), Troy Brown (Ruap 95, Ngamat 5 at Ngamat).
Three – James Dorgan (Kai 41, Ratana 24 at KCC), Shaquille Waara (Ruap 41, Pir 17 at Cooks Gardens in final), Jim Seruwala (Ngamat 26, Pir 62 at SP), Harry Symes (Bord 88, Ratana 7 at Wav), Stuart Brosnahan (Kai 46.Ngamat 31 at Ngamat), Tyler Rogers-Holden (Bord 68, Ratana 0 at Marton Park), Shaquille Waara (Ruap 95, Ngamat 5 at Ngamat), Sam Monaghan (Marist 36, Ngamat 10 at SP).