After losing four finals in a row, the Bullets touch team from South Auckland have finally tasted success at the annual Whakatane Open Touch Tournament.
The South Aucklanders went up against Lock-N, from Rotorua, on Saturday during the final of the men’s open division, winning the match 6-2.
The crowd numbered well over 1000 people for the final, with most teams and supporters sticking around to watch the match.
A total of 72 teams attended the popular tournament on Saturday, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.
Bullets took a 2-0 lead into half time during the men’s final at Rugby Park and did not let their opposition back into the match.
Bullets captain Jaymin Ormsby said it was a massive result for his team. He said they won the men’s open division five years ago but had since lost four finals on the trot.
“We have always had a tendency to drop off in the second half so we knew we had to keep pushing hard.”
Lock-N playmaker Shaquille Stone said it was a tough final.
“They got up on us early and that made it hard for us as we were chasing the game, but full credit to them.”
The Lock-N team was almost identical to the Te Arawa men’s team which won the Maori National Touch Tournament in Rotorua last month.
Stone said the atmosphere at the Whakatane tournament was excellent, and the players got a real buzz out of playing in front of the big crowds.
Meanwhile, the women’s open title went to Maggie Mita’s Team, which was made up of New Zealand representative players. They defeated local side All Sorts 7-0 in the final on Saturday.
Teams competed across six different divisions on Saturday including men’s open, women’s open, men’s restricted, women’s restricted, mixed restricted, and men’s restricted old boys.