Wakely Shield rugby tournament director Bazil Wakely labelled it the best match in the nine-year history of the event.
And nobody disagreed after yesterday's first game at the annual under-50kg tournament in Taradale which saw Hastings East and Napier West draw 12-12.
"The draw was the best result ... it was just one of those ding dong battles in which neither team could be separated. This display proved the future of our game is in good hands," Wakely said.
"Give all 30 players three points as they all deserve them," Graham Garner said as he and fellow player-of-the-day selectors Gary Leahy and Noel Gray returned to the control tent with their rankings.
After being given their orders to come up with the top three, Hastings East fullback Ben Kelt, who scored all of his team's points with two tries and a conversion, was given the player of the match award. Other players to impress were Napier West winger Jake Elsworth-Robertson and Hastings East halfback Xavier Jones.
In yesterday's other match, Hastings West walloped Wairoa 79-0. Despite his team's loss Wairoa captain and hooker Isaac Niania won the player of the match award.
"Isaac had a phenomenal work rate," Wakely said.
Others to shine in the game included Hastings West lock Tristan Hohipa and first five-eighth Jordan Thompson-Dunn, who converted six of his team's 13 tries. Napier East had the bye yesterday as Central withdrew from the tournament which will continue until Friday. Next year Wakely intends to have eight teams in action at the event.