Morning voting and afternoon rugby

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz

From voting early in the election on Saturday morning to rugby action at the Tauranga Domain on Sunday afternoon - there was plenty to keep Sideline Sid's attention throughout the weekend. 

With voting out of the way, it was head down with the form guide trying to pick a winner at the TAB, before heading to Blake Park for some pre-season cricket action.

The "Mounties" were dusting of the cobwebs, in a game of T20 cricket, between two made-up teams drawn from the clubs premier, reserve and B grade ranks. 

There was plenty of banter and laughs as the players rid themselves of winter rust in preparation for the new season.

The Mount Maunganui Cricket Club are readying themselves to celebrate a serious milestone during the season, with clubs 50th Jubilee celebrations on the season horizon. 

While the current Mount Cricket club was established in 1967, there is evidence that there were Mount cricket teams playing in the Tauranga competition from the very early 1900's. 

Sunday morning brought another early start watching the preliminary action before the Joseph Parker fight with Hughie Fury fight in Manchester - but more about that later. 

The weekend highlight for Sideline Sid, was watching the Bay of Plenty Steamers take on their provincial counterparts Counties Manukau at the Tauranga Domain.

While not quite a full house, Bay Rugby officials would have been delighted with the crowd on hand at the central city venue.  

The day went like clockwork, from the friendly security staff on duty at the main entrance to the orderly departure of patrons after the game.

There were a couple of nice touches that made the day.  

Twenty bucks got you a seat almost anywhere in the ground including the grandstand and there was a free program thrown in for good measure.

The normally uncharitable terraces in front of the main stand, were covered in a myriad of plastic chairs for comfortable viewing. 

The game doubled as the Steamers Heritage day, where the Steamers who faced the British (and Irish) Lions since 1959 were recognised and saluted.

While the Steamers opened the scoring early in the encounter much to the partisan crowds delight, the match turned into an arm wrestle, where the score was tied up three times during the game.

The final score of 31 points apiece reflected the intensity of the match-up, with the home side taking a valuable three points into their race to earn a place in the Mitre 10 Cup semi-finals.

Extra joy and delight was brought to Bay of Plenty rugby fans with the Volcanix victory over Tasman in the curtain-raiser.

The Bay of Plenty woman's representatives have turned a couple of woeful recent seasons completely around and look like genuine Farah Palmer Cup contenders. 

It wouldn't have been a world heavyweight title fight if the bout wasn't mired in controversy.

There were calls from the Fury camp that their boy had easily won the fight and they were going to appeal the decision.

My tuppence worth says that it was a hard fight to score because of the holding from both quarters.

However, Parker was the aggressor throughout the contest and the judges were right to reward his aggression.  

The ball is now in the Parker camp hands and there is potential opportunity to bank many wheelbarrow loads of money, if they take the right options.

While Joseph is one of the boxing world heavyweight champions, he is young and still a work in progress, who needs to be well managed and positioned in the immediate future for long-term financial rewards.

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Santa in Plover Place, Maungatapu. Photo: Scott MacLeod.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz