A weekend of Baywide premier rugby

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

What a weekend of Baywide premier rugby with a local derby upset, big score-lines and a walkover, dominating proceedings in Bay of Plenty club rugby.

Arataki grabbed a rare win over near neigbours Mount Maunganui, at Arataki Park on Saturday, with the Arataki Development side also winning their local derby.

There's been plenty of rivalry between the two clubs since Arataki was established in the early 1970's, with bragging rights always on the line when the two clubs meet in rugby combat.

It's mate against mate when Mount Maunganui and Arataki meet on the rugby field, with little quarter asked for or given, before hostilities are forgotten over an ale or two later in the day.

The Rangataua premiers were wondering what hit them when they left Maramatanga Park, on the wrong end of a 90 odd point battering from Te Puna.

The blue and black brigade scored at better than a point a minute, with the pride in their clubs centennial year providing a truck-load of motivation against their long-time rivals.

Greerton Marist continued their rise in the rankings this season, with a 87-21 trouncing of Te Teko, with Tauanga Sports dealing to cellar dwellers Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

However, there was disappointing news received from the Te Puke Sports matchup with Rotoiti, with the Rotorua lakesiders defaulting both their premier and development encounters at Murray Salt Stadium.

It is sad to see the Rotoiti decline to where they have struggled this season, winning just two encounters.

This weekend brings a close to the Baywide premier qualifying competition, with the eight teams to fight out the Baywide premier one championship being confirmed after the close of play on Saturday.

Sideline Sid finds himself with egg on his face after his top eight predictions a few weeks ago in his weekly SunLive blog.

While he was right with his crystal ball gazing that Te Puke Sports would top the qualifying competition and that Opotiki would be relegated, he got the rest horribly wrong.

His biggest mistake was predicting that Greerton Marist wouldn't make the top eight cut.

Greerton have won five and a draw, and currently sit in third equal on the standings with Rangiuru, behind Te Puke Sports and Te Puna

The last round scenario is that Arataki, Rangataua, Rotoiti and Te Teko are locked together with eight points apiece in seventh equal, with just one premier one berth available.

The weekend action sees Rotoiti and Arataki squaring off at Emery Park in the Rotorua extremities Te Teko, hosting Te Puna and Rangataua meeting Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Perusal of the Baywide competition rules reveals the first port of call to resolve tied points, is who beat who in round robin play.

Rangataua will be the hottest of favourites to grab the last premier one position.

It would take the upset of the decade for Opotiki to topple the Western Bay team, who have beaten both Rotoiti and Arataki and don't meet Te Teko, in the 2019 Baywide season qualifying change of format.

If the unlikely happens and Rangataua were beaten, it would likely come down to the winner of the Rotoiti verses Arataki game.

One must spare a thought for Arataki who have posted several close losses and have scored more points than they have conceded on the points differential ladder.

The deletion of bonus points in the first half of the season has Arataki dearly.


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