IT took 19 goals to separate the two teams, the most scored in any tournament final in the history of Fiji football — at least that's what Fiji FA's IDC record shows.
The controversial 1982 Inter-district Championship final penalty kicks produced 12 goals (6-all draw from 10 kicks each), but nothing near the 10-9 shoot-out at Laucala, Suva, in August, 1972.
The infamous '82 showdown between Ba and Nadi at Prince Charles Park dragged into the following week and just when everyone thought that the two teams would share the spoils, the Fiji FA ruled on a replay at a neutral venue. Nadi, the hosts, objected and defaulted the replay, giving the Lloyd Farebrother Trophy to Ba.
Ten years earlier, similar controversy raged at Buckhurst Park.
Thirty-three years after the IDC was first played, Labasa ran onto the field in a first-ever final appearance. It was a big day for them. Rewa, having last won the crown in 1955 (3-2 over Lautoka in Ba), had lost their way since.
They were least favoured to make it to the decider given Ba, Suva, Nadi and Lautoka's dominance back then. Reigning champions Nadi and Lautoka lost in the opening round to Labasa and Ba respectively.
All eyes were on a Ba-Suva final with the Whites having contested and lost the last three finals while the Men in Black had won three on the trot from 1966-68 and in 1970.
Ba took on Rewa in one semi-final and midway through the first half, Rewa looked dead and buried. They were trailing 0-2. Rewa skipper Vilitati Lee led the fight-back with a penalty before Sam Traill made it 2-all.
The tide was changing. Frustration was creeping into Ba's play. They were losing discipline. Former Ba and Fiji football stalwart, the late Josateki Kurivitu was first warned and later sent-off for dissent.
The match went into extra-time. Further woes for Ba as strongman, the late Waisea Naicovu, former Fiji soccer strike sensation, Esala Masi's dad, was shown a red card too.
Former Fiji and Nadroga rugby rep Dan Lobendahn drilled home Lee's perfectly weighted cross to make it 3-2 and Sylvester Joseph sent Ba packing with a late strike, 4-2.
In the other semi-final, Suva, led by Fiji team goalkeeper, the late John Foster, was stunned 0-1 with Gordon Leewai smashing home the winner.
Labasa's sudden rise to the top was orchestrated by Welshman Mike Jones, who was coach/player for the northerners.
He turned on a mesmerising performance for the Lions against Nadi and while they ousted the champions, he suffered an injury and could only coach in the semi-final and final.
"There was a lot of talk back then as to what sort of an influence he (Jones) would have had on the final," Vilitati recalls.
So were Lee and his team wary of Jones? "It depends on the day but soccer is a team sport. Individually you can contribute a lot but you must also jell as a team".
"But without doubt, Jones was a very good player," Vilitati adds.
Without Jones, Labasa looked to the likes of Sam Lee, Jimmy Zoing and Leewai as key men.
Rewa was raring to go.
"We were well looked after," Vilitati remembers. "We were in camp for almost a month and the team spirit was high."
They had some quality players too. Joseph, Lobendahn, fullback Terio Vakatawa, Trail, goalkeeper, the late Nicholas Rounds, Sakiusa Rao, Tevita Delana, who featured in Fiji's 1977 1-0 win over Australia, and Onnie Wong.
There were missed chances on both ends and Rounds was exceptional in goal as the match finished 0-0. Extra time proved fruitless, it was onto the dreaded penalty shoot-out, After two sets of five kicks each, Rewa reigned after Vakatawa rifled home the winner after a miss by the opposition. However, there was some controversy about the sudden-death shoot-out which remains unclear.
It did not bother the Rewans. It was a big win for Lee and his teammates who played with a heavy heart following the death of fellow district rep Kavaia Naborisi.
"I will never forget the date he (Naborisi) passed away," Vilitati reminisces.
"It's 27, 7, 72. Read it backwards and you still get the same 27,7, 72. He was an outstanding player, a good friend, but left us after a motorcycle accident."
Vilitati and Rounds were plucked from the Suva club competition.
"I was playing for Flagstaff and Nicholas for Civic in the club final before a big crowd in 1971. Little did we know that Rewa officials were there watching and asked us to join them."
They were two of four Ra men in that Rewa team together with Naborisi and Wong. Seventeen years on, Rewa basked in IDC glory and the Ra influence stood out.
* Note: There is some confusion about the scoreline after the shoot-out in the final but we are sticking with Fiji FA's IDC record of 10-9.