Three Blenheim-based junior football tournaments have attracted an influx of players and supporters to Marlborough.
Over the past few days Marlborough Football has hosted the 12th grade girls South Island tournament and the 12th Grade Boys Tier 2 tournament (a less competitive tournament to the Gavin Roberts Tier 1), at A&P Park. They began on Sunday and conclude today.
On Friday, the Gavin Roberts 12th grade boys South Island event will begin at Marlborough football headquarters. It runs until Sunday, October 6.
In total, 38 teams from out of town will be hosted in Marlborough across the three tournaments, meaning around 1400 visitors will be in town for four or more nights over the 10 days.
The Gavin Roberts tournament is a long-standing event. It originated in 1972 from discussions between three football administrators.
The gentlemen were Jimmy Lang of Blenheim, President of the Marlborough Junior Football Association, Gavin McPherson of Christchurch, a life member of Rangers club and vice president of the Canterbury Junior Football Association, plus Gavin Roberts of Christchurch, the secretary of the Canterbury Junior Football Association and a New Zealand Football Council Member.
The year 2008 saw a change to the format, the 12th grade girls tournament also coming under Marlborough Football’s wing, and being staged in conjunction with the boys event, prompting a move towards a 12th grade girls and boys festival.
Since then, in 2018 and 2019, Canterbury, Nelson and Otago have replaced their district rep teams with club-based rep teams, which has resulted in more team entries in the boys tournaments and a two tier tournament structure has been identified as a need, to create a more even playing field in the boys space.
Consequently, Marlborough are now running three tournaments, with the new 12th Grade Boys Tier 2 tournament running alongside the 12th Grade Girls and the Gavin Roberts 12th Grade Boys Tier 1 a few days later .
The three 12th grade Marlborough representative sides competing in these tournaments are:
12th Grade Girls: Piper Patrick, Alexi Johnston, Kaitlyn McKenzie, Grace Straker, Ruby Glackin, Lotti Flowerday, Issy Flowerday, Indiana Payne, Jaimie Elrick, Jemimiah O’Donnell, Maia Anderson, Leni Manson, Lilly Walkenhorst. Co-coaches: Andrea & Nicky Smith-Scott. Assistant Coach: Anna Straker.
12th Grade Whites Boys Tier 2: Lucas Neilson, Brooklyn Bartlett, Liam McIntyre, Ollie Eyles, Sherwin Somerville, Liam Newman, Tyrese Bristowe, Ted Small, Finn Brown, Hamish McLeod, Taylor Sutherland, Martyn Davis, Arana Lines. Coach: Paul Newman. Assistant Coach: Tony McIntyre. Manager: Hayley Foote
12th Grade Maroons Gavin Roberts Tier 1: Ethan Ryland, Nathan Brooke-Taylor, Caleb Speedy, Tyson Foote, Mason Hawkins, Cedric Meeten, William Baker, Jack Watts, Liam O’Connell, Lachlan MacNeill, Te Ariki Hook, Daniel Clarke. Coach: Zeb Foote. Assistant Coach: Blair Speedy. Manager: Hayley Foote
As well as hosting three tournaments, Marlborough Football has also entered nine sides in various South Island age group tournaments.
One of these sides is the 17th grade girls’ rep team. For the first time since 2015, Marlborough will field a team in this division at the South Island junior tournament.
Player numbers have surged over the past four seasons, as girls who have been progressing through the junior grades for the past decade now become eligible for the highest grade of junior rep football.
The players have the advantage of many hours of game time together this season. Most of the girls have played in the BV Bullets team which contested the Nelson division one league this season and in the Marlborough Girls’ College team which competed in the NZ secondary schools champs in Timaru.
Manager Mark Wybourne says the team brings a competitive, aggressive edge to their play, placing value on skill, fitness and teamwork while still retaining a fun vibe.
“Many of the girls are still only 15-16 so, with many promising younger footballers set to follow them into the team over the next couple of years, the prospects for girls’ football in Marlborough look exciting.”
Marlborough representative squads selected for various South Island age group tournaments.
10th Grade Boys, Christchurch, Friday October 4-Sunday October 6: James Crowe, Cullum Raynor, William Barclay, Sam Grono, Hamish Newman, Riley Ponder, Ben Lindfield, Israel Reece, Conner Davies, James Parley. Coach: Scott Kennovin. Assistant Coaches: Daniel Diamond and Hamish Turner. Manager: Ann Lindfield
11th Grade Whites Boys Tier 2, Nelson, Sunday September 29- Tuesday October 1: Niko Manson, Dylan Mathieson, Logan Carrodus, Joe May, Jayden Davis, Anton Jossy, Alexander Neal, Josh Main, Sam Hayes, Archie Botham, Rhys Yockney, Simon Davis, Maddox McCaa. Coach : Mike Neal. Assistant Coach: Geoff Hayes. Manager: Kerry Neal.
11th Grade Maroons Boys Tier 2, Nelson, Sunday September 29-Tuesday October 1: Logan Stone, Leo Langley, Harry Wilkin, Teagan Birkett, Blake Pitts, Alex Hansen, Elijah O’Donnell, Laughlan Chambers, Charlie Pickens, Albert Nott, Sid Yank, Noah MacDonald, Hugo Escalle. Coach: Paul O’Donnell. Assistant Coach: Chris Nott. Manager: Daryl Stone
13th Grade Boys, Queenstown, Thursday October 10-Saturday October 12: Blake Fitzgerald, Ollie Kennedy, Louie Poletti, Tyler Black, Rico Chen, Tom Morrison, Axell Allan, Fynn Hawes, Ollie Hunter, Thomas Pitts, Max Benge, Luke Langley, Willem Hayton, Rory Thompson, Daniel O’Hagen, Jonty Gifford. Coach: Glen Morrison. Assistant Coach: Pere Hawes. Manager: Jo Pitts.
14th Grade Boys, Dunedin, Sunday September 29-Tuesday October 1: Hugh Straker, Oskar Meeten, Joseph Sandford-Jury, Mason Benge, Alex Piddington, Dylan Endersby, Fin Somerville-Smith, Oscar O’Brien, James Hansen, Finn Pickens, Angus McAllister, Charlie Wilkin, Nickolas Paixao, Sam Sherwood, Eli Wolfe, Luc Sherwood. Coach: Paul Finnegan. Assistant Coach: Bryce Smith. Manager: Richard Vercoe.
14th Grade Girls, Christchurch, Sunday October 6-Tuesday October 8: Jaimee Van Keulen, Holly Maltesen, Iris Nott, Tamara Wylie-Smith, Maddison Rowe, Kayla Parker, Lauren Sloan, Breanah Lavender, Ruby Columbus (Vice-Captain), Jaimee Randall, Lexi Timpson, Amelia Burrough, Jelaina Roubos, M’Kenzie Webb. Coach: Mike Columbus. Assistant Coach: Stew Sloan. Manager: Michelle Lavender.
15th Grade Boys, Timaru, Thursday October 3-Saturday October 5: Luca Geris, Aidan Flanagan, Joshua Clamp, Liam Clamp, Nikau Bell, Callum Hayton, Ethan Turner, Hunter Ruffell, Spencer Holmes, Dylan Guillemot, Boyd Elvy, Kane Elvy, Aaron Shi, Riley Gardiner, Zac Davis, Cody Stone. Coach: Alan Elvy. Assistant Coach: Andy Wheeler. Manager: Deb Ruffell.
17th Grade Boys, Timaru, Thursday October 3-Saturday October 5: Joshua Whittall, Bill Welbourn, Andrew Chapman, Aaron Powell, Oscar Sandford-Jury, Aidan Lavender, Callum McDonald, Jake Bezant, Logan Robb, Thomas Hall, Braden Jessop, Jesse Wilson, Hamish Timpson, Kyle Evans, Jay Geris, Hunter Dawson. Coach: Nigel Timpson. Manager: Sharon Hansen.
17th Grade Girls, Christchurch, Sunday October 6-Tuesday October 8: Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Shannah-Lee Aires, Mackenzie Adkins, Eliza Bickerton, Chanel Horton, Tessa Hyland, Hannah Martin, Lucy Martin, Erin Mustey, Abby Owen, Lea Poletti, Riley Preece, Hilary Stuart, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne. Coach: Ian Thomas. Manager: Mark Wybourne.