IT was just the first round of the competition and the Vodafone Trophy has already stamped its mark as one of the most competitive secondary schools events in the country.
In the fiercely competed newly introduced Bati Challenge Cup in the under-19 grade, Ratu Kadavulevu School Eels were held by the Tailevu North College Cowboys 12-all yesterday at the Veiuto grounds.
The prizemoney was shared by the two teams and the Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby League (FSSRL) executives would meet next week to decide on the holder.
Eels got into action from the kick-off and Jale Uva rewarded the side with a try in the opening minute of the game.
Livai Waqa added the extras for a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Cowboys capitalised on Eels' consistence slippery play and winger Opeti Ratu scored a try to trail 6-4 at the break.
The Tailevu North boys looked more composed in the second spell and a drop goal from the man of the match Josua Yavala saw the side close the gap 5-6.
Eels fought back to score their second try through Josua Kilioni to lead 12-5 but the Cowboys had the final say as Marika Gadekivalagi scored for 12-9 score.
Yavala added the extras from the conversion out wide before landing his second field goal to level the score 12-all.
"There were just a few minor mistakes that we did in the first half that resulted in that RKS try. I am proud of the way the boys played and today they showed they have the potentials, if we can hold RKS to a draw it's a sign we can beat any team," Tailevu North trainer Taitusi Lutumailagi said.
"We hope to reach the semifinal or final and we know we can, we will go back and work on our mistakes."
FSSRL secretary Biu Colati said the exciting clashes yesterday had set a good platform for the upcoming rounds.
The Western zone of the competition will be held next weekend and the Ra zone will start the following week.
Results - U19 - Lomaivuna 16 Navuso 8, Lomary 18 Suva Grammar 10; U18 Nabua Secondary 12 Lomaivuna Secondary 18; U15 Suva Grammar 10 Nasinu Secondary 4.