Waverley Harvesting Border completed their clean sweep of the first round of Tasman Tanning Premier, while the rebuilding McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu can only think back to fonder times after the 41-10 loss on Saturday.
On a sunny but brisk afternoon at Rochfort Park, with the wind coming off the snow-capped mountain adding some bite, the scoreboard belies how even most of the game metrics turned out to be.
Border gave themselves a slight handicap with their eagerness to be up tempo, conceding a succession of penalties to the tune of 21-11 in Ruapehu's favour, while centre Andy Hamilton was also sinbinned, and the gap only closed up slightly near the end when the tired home side began to infringe.
Territory, time in the attacking 22m and possession where all fairly similar, but herein lies the rub – Border have the strike weapons to score in five minutes what would take Ruapehu 20 minutes of hard toil for the same amount.
Looking every inch a professional athlete in an amateur environment, winger Vereniki Tikoisolomone raised his try tally to 11 in just five games with a sublime hat-trick – his second score a stunning effort starting inside his 22m and beating the outside cover down one sideline, then sprinting past the final defenders by cutting diagonally across field to place the ball in the opposite corner.
It's not just pure speed – Tikoisolomone's first try was a jinking run with little room to move to beat three defenders on the touchline, while his fantastic in-and-away swerve left two would-be tacklers lying on the deck grasping at air when he dashed off for the trifecta.
In between those moments, Ruapehu had long periods with the ball, aided by the piggy-back up the field off the referee whistle.
But missed lineout opportunities and eventually getting driven back behind the advantage line by the cover defence, as the young backs tried to make the carries after their veteran forwards, told the story of the day.
Five years ago, there was no way a Border forward pack could have driven through the mountain men to score two tries from penalty lineouts, but circumstances have changed.
"We used to live for these games, but it's their time now," said Ruapehu coach and former prop Kim McNaught.
"I was just saying to the boys, 'if we take away all those overthrown lineouts, we'd have been in that game'.
"Make a few mistakes and they can score off that and that showed today. Full credit to them, it shows why they're leading this comp.
"I think, as a team and as a group, if we want to be competitive that second round, we know where we need to improve."
There were still some positives to build on – McNaught singling out blindside flanker Jack Kinder for a valiant performance.
"Not playing him at fullback, getting him back into the loosies with Jamie [Hughes] and Campbell [Hart], he complements them – it was good to have everyone back on deck this week.
"It just shows, if we can get everyone to training we'll be competitive."
First-five Keaton Norling gave a big effort which contrasts his small frame, getting so close to a try before being monstered a metre short, while prop Gabriel Hakaraia brought the fire alongside Hart and Hughes in an engine room battle that overheated at times.
Border's loose forward trio of Angus Middleton, Kieran Hussey and Semi Vodosese were up for the scrap, the latter barging his way through hesitant tacklers to score off a tighthead scrum win, while halfback Tyrone Albert had a try in what was likely a season record 30 seconds, and got to play the second half at first-five in between the two big names of Lindsay Horrocks and Craig Clare.
"He's a talented player. There's going to be a few interesting decisions going forward," said coach Cole Baldwin.
"We did enough today, but we're not going to be where we want to be – we're going to have to make some big improvements in our effort and attitude going forward if we want to be there at the end, that's for sure."
Border didn't leave Ohakune unscathed, as promising lock Toby Lennox suffered a dislocated shoulder.
"He might be out for a few weeks, which is unfortunate, but hopefully we'll have him back in a few weeks' time."
Border 41 (V Tikoisolomone 3, T Albert, A Middleton, S Vodosese, J McDonald tries; J Lupton 2 con, C Clare con) bt Ruapehu 10 (M Trow try; T Akapita pen, con). HT: 24-10.