The inaugural final of the new Division 2 championship at Cooks Gardens on Saturday will feature the two relegated teams from Tasman Tanning Premier's first round as they both did the business in Saturday's semifinals.
Since the hybrid competition started on June 8, it appeared Bennett's Taihape might make it a banner season by creating history as the first undefeated team promoted from the Senior grade to then make the championship game against the three other Senior teams and the two Premier squads.
This belief was reinforced when they defeated Black Bull Liquor Pirates 50-28 in the opening match at home.
However, both sides accumulated 4-1 records after that point and, when Pirates came back to Memorial Park on Saturday, they found another gear, aided by some crucial officiating calls, to win 31-15.
Locked up 10-all at halftime, both teams scored three tries, but kicks proved crucial as Manulua Lafi and Hone Taurua combined to pop over four penalty kicks, while Pirates also got an automatic seven points for a penalty try that doesn't need converting.
Dylan Ratana scored two tries for the home side, but that wasn't enough to get his team over the line in a loss which, when comparing the full season's worth of results, was a minor upset.
The outcome was less of a surprise up in the Waitotara Valley, although perhaps the scoreboard was, as top qualifier Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri ended Utiku Old Boys' season 36-5.
Fourth qualifier Utiku had been hammered 62-12 on their last trip up the valley on June 8, but gave a much stronger account in the playoff match, still being in it when 21-5 down at halftime.
However, Ngamatapouri scored 15 unanswered points in the second half to take the match away and confirm their place alongside Pirates in the grand final, with both of those teams having split their two matches across Premier and Division 2 round robin this year.
The Division 3 competition was not scheduled to have a grand final, but that is virtually what they've got as Marist Buffalos, last year's Senior consolation winners, have emerged from almost nowhere to close up to within three points of Kelso Hunterville, with both teams scheduled to meet at Spriggens Park on Saturday.
Marist got the full points back from their loss to the Border Seniors when it was revealed the Waverley club used illegal players, and then on Saturday the Buffalos picked up a crucial 27-14 win over Counties Brothers to move up to second on the table while Hunterville were on their bye week.
Waving goodbye to the championship, even though they are guaranteed five points next weekend from Pirates Seniors' default, were Speirs Food Marton, who lost their must-win game to Kaierau 22-14 at the Country Club under lights on Friday evening.
Kaierau Seniors had requested their home match be played on the Friday so that the team could be at Waverley on Saturday to support their Premiers in their first championship semifinal since 2012.
It was also their last game of the season, as they have the final bye of the round robin, and they made it count by kicking on in the second half after leading 7-0 at the break.
And officially, the Border Seniors won a legal game on Saturday to not finish 2019 winless, but they didn't have to take the field as they picked up the points from Pirates' default.
Results, July 19-20.
Tasman Tanning Division 1 semifinals
Border 19 (Kamipeli Latu try; Nick Harding 4 pen, con) bt Kaierau 3 (Shandon Scott pen). HT: 6-3.
Taihape 22 (Jaye Flaws try; Dane Whale 5 pen, con) bt Ruapehu 16 (Troy Brown, Roman Tutauha tries; Mitchell Millar 2 pen). HT: 13-10.
Division 2 semifinals
At Ngamatapouri: Ngamatapouri bt Utiku OB 36-5. HT: 21-5.
At Memorial Park: Pirates 31 (Matt Davis, Francis Vakadravu tries, penalty try; Manulua Lafi 3 pen, Hone Taurua pen, con) bt Taihape 15 (Dylan Ratana 2, Mitchell Overton tries). HT: 10-all.
Division 3, Week 6
At Kaierau Country Club: Kaierau bt Speirs Food Marton 22-14. HT: 7-0.
At Spriggens Park: Marist Buffalos bt Counties Brother 27-14. HT: 24-7.
Border bt Pirates Seniors by default.
Bye: Kelso Hunterville.