A 2-0 away win over Marist on Saturday to Upper Hutt City maintained the side's unbeaten record in premier football, kept their healthy championship lead and set up a massive double-header for Queen's Birthday Weekend.
The high-flying City will have two important fixtures on their home Harcourt Park, in the premier league on Saturday and in the Chatham Cup on the holiday Monday.
The club is organising a supporters' "Orange Day" for the Chatham Cup encounter against Palmerston North Marist.
"It's a big game and a big day for us," club chairman Phil Gormansays of the popular knock-out competition's second round.
"We have our second team playing at noon as the curtain- raiser then followed by the big game at 2pm.
"The locals are encouraged to wear the orange. It doesn't matter what it is, wacky or weird, and we will have prizes for the best dressed and most original."
Saturday's 2.30pm game is important too as City take on Island Bay United, who, while running second, are five championship points behind the locals. With the third and fourth sides playing each other, Saturday is the golden opportunity for City to really clear out from the field as the league enters its second round.
In the women's play, City's 5-0 win over Waikanae in tough conditions reflected the side's respective top and bottom placings.
Mid-placed Brooklyn, away, will be a tougher challenge on Sunday for the unbeaten locals.
In rugby league the Upper Hutt Tigers met Randwick for a first time but were undone 24-46 at Whakatiki Park. Conrad Simon had a fruitful afternoon with a match haul of 16 points, including two tries, but the defeat sees the Tigers now battling in the competition's bottom half and locked even with Petone and University, whom they play at Kelburn on Saturday (2.30pm) in an important game.
Rimutaka's 13-24 away loss to Wests in Swindale Shield rugby brought no tangible reward but will have buoyed the team and its supporters, with only two more games before the Hardham Cup begins.
Rimutaka won the second half and were challenging for a first win till the last minutes when a final Wests try denied them what would have been a well-earned first shield bonus point. Rimutaka meet the front-running HOB-M in a final first-round home game on Saturday, at 3pm.
At the top end of the table Upper Hutt were left empty-handed too, losing 6-26 to Marist St Pats and, for the first time this season, not crossing for a try or earning any competition points. Penalties and plenty of of error-ridden rugby was the order of the day before Upper Hutt, 6-12 down, were finally unable to defend their under-seige tryline. An 80-metre runaway second try, off a snatched turnover as Upper Hutt attacked, was a final twist in an unsatisfying afternoon.
George Faingaa provided plenty out wide in an enterprising Upper Hutt backline but the forwards, game but undermanned, struggled to get quality possession.
The side, fourth with two games to play, are away again on Saturday, to a Poneke side still fighting for a top-eight finish, at Kilbirnie at 3pm. The club's senior twos have an important early game against Poneke, too. A win here will confirm a top two finish and promotion to senior one.
- Upper Hutt Leader