The 2019 Marlborough club football season kicked off in fine style on Saturday.
The province’s senior footballers tackled new-look competitions, a revamp required after Rangers AFC decided not to contest the Nelson division one grade this year.
Fourteen teams have been split into two divisions, with early indications suggesting there will be clear favourites in both grades.
Both divisions will play a seven-week first round, then go into a month-long Knockout Cup phase. There will be no play on Easter and Queen’s Birthday Weekends.
From Saturday June 22 to the end of the season, the province’s top three sides from division one will play in a two-round Top of the South competition against the top three teams from Nelson’s division one.
The 12 remaining teams in Marlborough will be split into two divisions, based on results from the first round.
On Saturday, Blenheim Valley MBC and Rangers AFC were the big winners in round one of Mayfield Motorworld Senior Division 1 action at A and P Park, both prevailing by decent margins. In the other game Central Wolves drew 2-2 with BV Cobras after the game was scoreless at halftime.
Goal scorers for Cobras were Logan Reynolds in the 54th minute then Hamish Westwater after 66 minutes. However, Wolves were hungrier in the closing stages, a Stephen McCaa penalty in the 78th minute and a Nick Allen goal after 80 minutes levelling it up.
BV MBC prevailed 6-1 over clubmates Bottle-O BV Masters. Goal scorers for MBC were Hamish Turner with the opener in the 10th minute, while Shinji Mikame bagged four goals and Benjamin Ivory-McCullum one. Simon Thompson pulled one back for Masters in the final minutes.
Rangers AFC showed they will be a force to reckon with, downing Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 9-0 in another derby match. Four goals to Adam Rose, three to Sam Paterson, one to Oliver Saunders and an own goal allowed AFC a comfortable day in the sun.
Meanwhile, in Mayfield Motorworld Senior Division 2, Rangers Masters drew 1-1 with Central Buccaneers. Central’s Gareth Shawcross scored the opener in the 12th minute but Rangers hit back through a penalty to Klaus Pol.
Redwood Masters opened their account with a big win, downing Trojans Spartans 8-1. Goal scorers for Redwood were Mike Healy, Kerry Wilkin (2) Julian Adamson (3) Chris Short and Mike Columbus. Spartans goal was scored by Aiden Treston.
In the final match Picton Large downed Call Care Trojans 3-2. Picton’s scorers were Phillip Newport (2) and Peter Spreull while Patrick Neal and Adi Chowfin netted for Trojans.
Central Pirates had the Divison 1 bye, Picton Crow Tavern Masters the bye in division two