A point a minute onslaught from Te Awamutu Sports in the first half set up a big 60-12 victory over Eastern Suburbs, and secured their spot in the Premier grade for next year.
With the rain coming down and the ground heavy underfoot, one could be forgiven for expecting a low scoring, close quarters game but Sports put on an exceptional first half where they scored in the first few minutes and never let the foot of the pedal, running in eight tries, the game all but over, 45-0 at the break.
Lock Cameron Petch was the star with three tries and a strong all round game, while midfielder Apimeleki Mocekula bagged a brace as well.
Petch grabbed the first try, followed quickly by tries to Jack Munce and Mocekula and within 10 minutes Sports were up 21-0 after Raroa Lord converted all three tries in the tough weather. Winger Esera Esera made a welcome return, looking almost unstoppable when he got the ball in hand and put the visitors further ahead with another try.
The field turning from grass to mud was not enough to stop Sports, as Lord kept the ball in the Suburbs quarter and centre Inoke Tuibua grabbed another try, the score now 31-0. Fullback Ryan McNeil ghosted through a gap to score again before Petch and Mocekula grabbed their second to round out a dominant display, and a 45-0 lead at the break.
Sports kicked off the second half in the same vein, another break from Esera who fed Petch in for his hat-trick and fellow winger Masega Teomatavei broke down the other flank and finished in style, blowing the score out to 60-0 10 minutes into the second half.
The game well under control, Sports went off the boil and their standards slipped off as the changes were rung and the game got messy. The hosts though found some joy with two late tries but were comprehensively beaten by the impressive Sports outfit.
Petch was the all-round star while Esera left defenders in his wake every time he touched the ball. Lord again showed his growth in the role, doing what Sports had been lacking earlier in the season by working the corners with his kicking game, but the work in tight was where the visitors asserted their dominance. Constantly knocking their opponents backwards and recycling the ball with composure.
The season concludes next Saturday with the soon to be promoted Southern United coming to town, eager to knock a Premier team off before next season. Sports will look to keep their winning run going into the off season, the young improving side hoping to set the ground work for a better season next year.