Sports correspondent & historian
Dreams do sometimes come true - just ask the army of Te Puna Rugby Club supporters who were at Maramatanga Park on Saturday, as their boys lifted the Baywide Premier One and Development One trophies in victory.
The Te Puna third side, who play in the Western Bay of Plenty competition, showed the way to Baywide trophy success to their Te Puna club-mates when they won the Baywide Senior Reserve title two weeks previously.
New Year’s Day 2019 kick started the Te Puna Rugby Club Centennial celebrations, with the Blue and Black brigade administrators, coaches, players and faithful fans daydreaming of Baywide success, to add the icing to the cake in the clubs 100th season of playing the great game.
Few clubs make such an auspicious start to their early life, as the side from the Western Bay of Plenty rural community. In their inaugural year, the new boys on the block took out the Jordan Cup, which was the symbol of rugby football superiority within the ranks of the Tauranga Rugby Union.
To prove their winning form was no fluke, the Te Puna side dominated Tauranga rugby in the 1920's, winning the Jordan Cup in 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1925. There was then a long time between drinks before Te Puna won the Tauranga Rugby Championship in the 1960's and another long wait for their first Baywide premier crown.
Just two first-round losses, to defending title holders Te Puke Sports and Rangiuru, gave the Te Puna premier plenty of optimism as they entered the business end of the season. A two points defeat against Te Puke Sports on May 8 turned out to be the last stain of defeat on the Te Puna score sheet.
Greerton Marist gave Te Puna a real scare in the semifinals, when a last gasp Reece McDonald dropped goal saw them squeeze into the Baywide title decider, with a 33-31 victory.
Saturday's final against multiple Baywide premier champions Tauranga Sports had plenty of drama for the crowd who overflowed into the confines of Maramatanga Park. Te Puna led 13-7 after a genuine arm wrestle in the first spell, before Rewita Biddle grabbed two second half touchdowns for his team to take out a 23-10 victory.
The Te Puna Development team simply blitzed the Baywide Development season long competition, setting numerous records on the way. An unbeaten record of 20 straight victories took them to the Baywide title. A regular season record of 995 points and just 121 points conceded, told the tale of their domination in the title race.
Their emphatic 48-17 win over Te Puke Sports, at home on Baywide Finals day, was especially satisfying as the Te Puke region side had narrowly defeated Te Puna in the 2017 and 2018 Baywide Development Finals.
The three Te Puna sides have provided the perfect centennial present for the club and there vocal band of true-blue supporters and set the platform for another one hundred years of rugby in Te Puna.