A draw with Blenheim Valley Masters was enough for Rangers AFC to retain their unbeaten record and claim first found honours in the Mayfield Motorworld division one football league on Saturday.
Rangers went into the last game of the round with the title already sewn up and faced a well-organised Masters defence at Athletic Park.
They finally broke the deadlock with a well-worked goal to Sam Patterson, then were unlucky to not go further ahead before the break as the Masters keeper pulled off some high-class saves.
The second half belonged to Masters who pulled level then went ahead with a well-constructed goal.
Rangers battled to find an equaliser, offering up a couple of chances for Masters to score again on the break. However, with time running out Rangers’ striker Adam Rose added to his goal tally, bagging a vital strike to deny a gutsy Masters side.
Meanwhile Central Pirates moved into a share of second place, alongside BV MBC who had the bye, beating Blenheim Valley Cobras 3-2 at A and P Park.
Pirates made a quick start, goals to Chris Turkington and Andrew McCaa giving them an early 2-0 advantage.
Cobras then stiffened their defence and pulled a goal back close to halftime, a long range effort going in off the post to put them back in the game.
A superb second half penalty save from Pirates’ player of the day John Porter kept the score at 2-1 then, 10 minutes later, McCaa was fouled in the box and Turkington converted from the spot to give his side a 3-1 lead.
Although Cobras bagged a late goal, Pirates were in full control at the finish.
Pirates’ top performers were Turkington, Porter, Jordan Columbus, plus Nick Rayner and Dave Turner at the back.
Cobras generally defended well and were very competitive throughout. Take Thu and Hayden Giles scored their goals and played well, along with Lincoln Ellsworth, Jack Procter and Jack Newell.
The final game on Saturday saw Central Wolves beat Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 2-0, both goals going to Scott Wilkinson. Wolves’ best were goalie Richie Marsden, Jason Giblin and Aaron Vercoe.
Last week two division one matches were contested.
The Central club teams playing catch-up after joining forces for their Chatham Cup clash the previous Saturday.
Central Pirates scored a 7-1 win over Rangers Clubs of Marlborough while Wolves went down 4-1 to BV Masters under lights at A and P Park.
Final first round standings: Rangers AFC 16, BV MBC 12, Central Pirates 12, Bottle-O BV Masters 10, Wolves 7, Cobras 4, Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 0.
The Blenheim Valley Bullets came away from Jubilee Park in Richmond with a share of the spoils after drawing 1-1 with Golden Bay Falcons in their Nelson women’ division one clash on Saturday.
The visitors dominated the first half, claiming around 90 percent of territory and possession, but were unable to convert advantage into goals, the match being scoreless at the break.
In the second half an unlucky ricochet flew over keeper Maggie Lane’s head, resulting in a goal for Golden Bay but, with 10 minutes remaining, Bullets were rewarded through a sweetly-struck equaliser from Lucy Martin.
Stand-out players for BV were the midfield combination of Lauren Sloan, Jannika Roubos and Tessa Hyland, plus player of the day, Ruby Wybourne.