Sports correspondent & historian
Bay of Plenty Rugby should be pleased with the turnout of Western Bay of Plenty Rugby fans to their triple header at the Tauranga Domain on Saturday afternoon.
Bay of Plenty Toa opened proceedings on the number one ground against their Waikato Under 19 counterparts, in the entree to the Volcanix squaring off in their first Sarah Palmer Cup game of the 2019 season, against Counties Manukau.
The two regional age-group sides were both having their final hit out before heading for the 2019 Jock Hobbs National Under 19 tournament in Taupo.
Arriving at the domain right on the final whistle, there were looks of disappointment on the faces of the Bay of Plenty boys.
A glance at the scoreboard revealed that the Waikato representatives had just sneaked home in taking out an 18-17 victory.
A catch-up with several early birds spectators told of a close-run encounter that could have gone either way.
Two wins and a paper thin loss in the National Under 19 seeding encounters, suggest that the Bay side will be in the thick of the action in Taupo, as they set to defend their National age-group title that they won for the first time twelve months ago.
The main attraction on the day, that would have pleased the Bay Rugby Union with the turnout of spectators, was the Volcanix opening stanza of the Sarah Palmer Cup.
The Bay side were left shell shocked in the opening quarter, with the visitors dominating the early action in running in three tries, to lead 19 nil.
Full credit must be given to the Bay of Plenty team who fought their way back into the match.
A first half touchdown and three second half tries, saw the Volcanix claw their way back into the game, before recoding a 37-24 loss on their scoresheet.
An absolute ripper is the only way to describe the match-up between Bay of Plenty Ngawha and Auckland B.
The match got away to a sensational start, with Bay of Plenty scoring with a runaway try from the opening kickoff.
Play went from one end of the field to the other, with both sides attacking at every opportunity.
Auckland looked to have got on a firm grip on the match before the local side stormed back into the game.
The visitors slotted a last gasp penalty attempt, to grab the majority of the competition points on offer with 46-45 win.
Further afield in the Bay of Plenty, the time-honoured Peace Cup made a return to the region after 15 years, with Central Bay of Plenty taking out the Stan Meads Cup Sub-Union competition with the Peace Cup (SMC Challenge Trophy) also on the line.
The Peace Cup, which celebrates its centenary in 2020, may not be the oldest rugby trophy still competed for today - but is certainly the most battered.
The old time rugby prize has been reputed to have been thrown out of a train window, towed behind a bus and was missing for a several seasons before being recovered.
In 2004, the trophy was stolen only to be returned in a rubbish bag, after Waikato rugby legend Kit Fawcett told radio listeners on air what he would do to the perpetrators if he caught up with them.
The best rugby news of the week, came on Sunday from North Harbour Stadium, with the Bay of Plenty Steamers holding on to beat North Harbour 27-19 in the Mitre 10 Cup.