WOODLANDS confirmed its early dominance in the premier grade when the Southland club rugby competitions began on Saturday.
The star-studded Woodlands team earned a 24-7 win on its home ground over reigning champion Blues.
Pirates Old Boys beat Marist 12-7 at Surrey Park in Invercargill, and nearby at Waverly Park it was Star which prevailed over the Eastern Northern Barbarians 25-19.
This Saturday Barbarians hosts Marist at the showgrounds; Pirates Old Boys hosts Woodlands, and in a repeat of last year’s final, Blues will host Star.
Star controlled the important periods of the game against the inexperienced Barbarians.
Barbarians had two shots at goal flagged away during the scoreless opening 15 minutes, then lost loose forward Jacob Coglan to the sin bin. Star scored two converted tries during Coglan’s absence. A third try to the home team made it 19-nil at half-time.
The visitors started the second half with a determined attitude and displayed some impressive ball handling skills in the greasy conditions.
First five-eighth Sheamus McGuigan scored a well-taken converted try, but Star rebuilt its lead when goal kicker Jono Hayes landed two penalty goals.
The final 15 minutes was played in dark and miserable conditions. The Barbarians scored an intercept try to Angus Simmers and then in the final minutes earned a penalty try after an early tackle.
Star co-coach Chris McIlwrick said it was a typical round one game.
“Our loose forwards Corey Thompson and Jordy Stewart were probably our best, along with our midfielder Brad Armstrong from the Bay of Plenty.”
To earn a bonus point was pleasing for Barbarians coach Nathan Howden.
“We are in a rebuilding year, I was really happy with how they came back but that sin bin really hurt us, it’s hard to come back from that.”
Riversdale lock James Napier was the best of the Baabaas, with Coglan also earning the coach’s praise.
In the division one Ack Soper Shield competition, Edendale earned an exciting 34-32 win in Waikaka. Phil Brown scored two tries in his 150th match for the Edendale club.
In the other two matches, Midlands scored 38 unanswered points in Riversdale, and Te Anau upset last year’s finalists Wyndham, 19-12.
Week one results
Premier Grade – Galbraith Shield: Woodlands 24 Blues 7, Pirates Old Boys 12 Marist 7, Star 25 Barbarians 19.
Division One – Ack Soper Shield: Waikaka 32 Edendale 34, Riversdale Midlands 38, Te Anau 19 Wyndham 17.
Gerald Dermody Shield: Tokanui 22 Pioneer 3, Wakatipu 8 Waikiwi 29, Albion 7 Mossburn 31.
Division Two: CJ Soper Trophy; Bluff 23 Pioneer B 0, DLS 45 Blues B 26, Star B 5 Waiau Star 15.
Life Members Trophy: POB B 17 Marist B 17, Central Pirates 10 Woodlands B 27, Collegiate 31 v Midlands B 0.
Week two draw
Premier Grade – Galbraith Shield: Barbarians v Marist, Blues v Star, Pirates Old Boys v Woodlands.
Division One – Ack Soper Shield: Waikaka v Riversdale, Wyndham v Midlands, Edendale v Te Anau.
Gerald Dermody Shield: Tokanui v Wakatipu, Mossburn v Waikiwi, Pioneer v Albion.
Division Two: CJ Soper Trophy; Bluff v DLS, Pioneer B v Star B (2pm), Waiau Star v Blues B.
Life Members Trophy: POB B v Collegiate, Marist B v Central Pirates, Woodlands B v Midlands B, Friday, 7.30pm.
Presidents Grade – Presidents Cup: Waikaka v Waikaia, Friday, 6pm, Marist v Collegiate, 1.30pm, Wyndham v Blues, 1.30pm.
Presidents Trophy: Tokanui v Star, 1.30pm, Pukerau v Central Pirates, 3pm, Waikiwi bye.
Women: Albion v Marist, Blues v Pioneer. Both games at 1pm, Sunday.