Members of the Rangers AFC squad get together before practice. From left, front: Jordan Columbus, Juri Casali, Tore Waechter, George Bond, Wolfie Waechter. Middle: Tana Connor-McClean, Ollie Baker, Scott Belsham, Carl Connor-McClean, Julian Delgado. Back: Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine, Sam Pearson, Jono Masters, James Coughlan. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers AFC to again take on Nelson’s best

Marlborough football’s fluctuating relationship with Nelson’s division one competition is back on again.

Two years ago Rangers AFC cut an unbeaten swathe through the Nelson championship, taking the title with three games to play. However last season, through a combination of factors, there was no Marlborough team in the division one race, the province’s top players being sprinkled through the various club sides on this side of the hill.

But in 2020 there will again be a presence in the top of the south battle, Rangers AFC confirming that they will field a team.

Leading the way is former Rangers AFC skipper Tore Waechter, a key player in their 2018 charge to the title. The 26-year-old midfielder will be player/coach of a formidable unit, comprising some veterans of previous campaigns and some untried, yet talented youngsters.

Lanky striker Adam Rose, right winger Sam Pearson, forward Carl Connor-McClean, defenders/midfielders Liam Sluiter and Julian Delgado, the energetic Jordan Columbus, plus young striker Harrison Pine were part of the title-winning team in 2018 and will form a solid basis of the current crop.

Newcomers Juri Casali, an Italian centre back working locally as a winemaker, plus former Tahuna player Scott Belsham will offer fresh talent, while such solid local performers as defender Ollie Baker, Jono Masters, James Coughlan and George Bond will team with youngsters such as Tana Connor-McClean and Dan Diamond, last year’s MBC keeper, in a squad which is expected to have more additions over the coming weeks. Providing back-up at keeper will be Brad Eiffe, the Tasman United Academy coach in Marlborough and a former Waimak (Christchurch) club player.

Waechter said a group of players had begun pre-season training on January 21 and were showing promise, especially during a run against a Woodbourne combination last week.

“Obviously we have a pretty big squad, which may mean we use some rotation, but it’s great for cover when players are away or injured.

“There is plenty of excitement in the camp … there are some players that have been around for a while who have come in this year and are fully fit, ready to give it their best shot.

“In our pre-season game we didn’t appear to have any weaknesses around the park, everyone was putting in the same sort of effort and pulling their weight around the field. It’s awesome to have a team back this year, so now we are just keen to get into it.”

Rangers’ first game is expected to be on March 28, although the draw had not yet been confirmed.

The participation record of Marlborough-based sides in the Nelson division one league has been something of a rollercoaster over the past decade.

When Rangers AFC joined the Nelson league in 2018 they followed in the footsteps of the Marlborough Mariners side, who competed in 2016.

The first Marlborough team to carry the Mariners moniker was in 2010, when they brought together the majority of the region’s top talent.

The Mariners continued in 2011 then, after a two year hiatus, Marlborough again established a presence in the Nelson league, with talented youngsters forming a Marlborough Development combination who contested the league in 2014-15.

Rangers AFC manager this season is local footballing stalwart Wolfie Waechter.

 

Bullets all fired up

The Rangers men won’t be the only Marlborough-based team plying their trade in a Nelson division one football competition.

The Blenheim Valley FC Liquid Action Bullets women’s team are gearing up for another season, which kicks off on Saturday, April 4.

Having placed fourth last year, the team are keen to build on that debut success. Coaches Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy are confident they will again be competitive and are pleased with the addition of five, more experienced players to the squad – in the form of Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, and Kirsten Pease.

The team farewelled Ruby Smith, Jannika Roubos, Ruby Wybourne, and Maggie Lane at the end of last season – with the first three leaving the region and Lane returning to play for her home team of Picton in the youth grade in 2020.

“We have a really promising team lined up to play this season – with a good solid crew of returning players, buoyed by the addition of our experienced newcomers to the team. We’re ready to build on our success in 2019, and excited to get the season underway,” Thomas says.

The BVFC Liquid Action Bullets: Makenzie Adkins, Destiny Aires, Shannah-Lee Aires, Eliza Bickerton, Taryn Gilbert, Tessa Hyland, Hannah Martin, Lucy Martin, Erin Mustey, Abby Owen, Lea Poletti, Riley Preece, Lauren Sloan, Rebecca Stuart, Freya Thompson, Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, Kirsten Pease, Maddison Rowe.

Tasman midfielder Corey Larsen, second from left, battles for the ball with a Southern United player during Saturday’s match at Lansdowne Park. Photo: Andrew Board.

Tasman United turn on the goals at Lansdowne

Tasman United’s recent resurgence continued in emphatic fashion in Blenheim on Saturday afternoon when they dismantled Southern United 5-0.

There were goals galore at Lansdowne Park as the hosts gave the Marlborough fans plenty to shout about in its first and only appearance over the Whangamoas this season.

Tasman opened the scoring in blistering style as Jean Phillipe Saiko’s superb individual effort put his side ahead after only six minutes.

The New Caledonian striker looked in ominous form and Tasman soon went 2-0 up as skipper Fox Slotemaker found the back of the net.

Things slowed at the back end of the first half but Tasman remained in control as the sides went to the sheds.

New signing Ben Watson ensured the momentum remained with Tasman after the break with a thunderous strike in the 55th minute to effectively put the game to bed.

Jesse Randall piled on the misery for the visitors with a far post finish 10 minutes later, then Corey Vickers put the exclamation mark on a resounding performance to seal the 5-0 victory.

Both Marlborough players on Tasman’s roster got game time, Nick Stanton playing the whole game in goal and youngster Jonty Roubos spending time on the pitch.

Tasman United jumps to fourth on the premiership table with its fourth win of the season and next week will travel to Auckland to take on the ninth-placed Waitakere United.

It was estimate that around 600 spectators attended the match, which had a delayed kick-off after the Southern side were late in arriving at the ground due to travel hold-ups.

Marlborough Football general manager Andrea Smith-Scott, said the crowd was up on the number who turned out for Tasman’s fixture at Lansdowne last year, a good result given the Picton Maritime Festival was also on Saturday.

“We were pleased with the crowd numbers,” said Smith-Scott. “It was up on last year which will hopefully keep it as a regular event on the calendar.”

Scores: Tasman United 5 (Saiko, Randall, Slotemaker, Watson) Southern United 0. HT: 2-0

When Tasman United take on Southern United at Lansdowne Park on Saturday, local goalkeeper Nick Stanton will have plenty of local support behind him. Yesterday he and midfielder Corey Vickers facilitated a Holiday Programme session for a large and enthusiastic group of young footballers at A and P Park. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tasman United coming to town

The region’s premier football team will make their one and only appearance in Marlborough this season on Saturday.

Tasman United, who compete in the ISPS Handa Premiership, which involves the nation’s 10 leading provincial teams, will take on Dunedin-based outfit Southern United at Lansdowne Park, traditionally Marlborough rugby headquarters.

Tasman made a slow start to the season, languishing near the foot of the standings, but have worked their way up to fifth position after downing Eastern Suburbs 2-0 at Saxton Field on Sunday.

Tasman goalkeeper in that match was Marlborough man Nick Stanton, making his starting debut this season. After coming away with a clean sheet Stanton hopes he will get the nod to start as Tasman’s campaign rolls into his home territory this weekend.

Tasman played Southern in the first game of the 2019-20 campaign, producing a sub-par effort to lose 4-0 but then having the match awarded to them when the Dunedin side was ruled to have fielded an ineligible player.

“It’s going to be an interesting game on Saturday, especially after what happened last time,” suggested Stanton. “Hopefully I train well and get the start again this week.”

“They will be out for blood after losing the points last time which is always good … it means we will have to fight harder … it steps us up, makes us a better team.”

He says the league is shaping as a much closer affair this season. “There are just two teams [Team Wellington and Auckland City] out on their own … everyone else is within one point of each other.

“Last season it was more a top-of-the-league, bottom-of-the-league divide whereas this year it is the two top teams, with everyone else in the mixer.”

He has relished the Tasman United culture since returning to the region from Wellington. “I am enjoying it, it’s different [to Wellington] with the sunnier days and harder grounds and we have a great bunch of lads this season, they are easy to get along with … it’s all going well.”

Kick off on Saturday is 4pm, with entry free.

The Pink Panthers team certainly went the extra mile in the costume field.

Fun football day in a good cause

Twelve teams gathered at Blenheim’s A and P Park on Saturday for the annual Matt Neal Memorial Football tournament. Players came from far and wide to honour the memory of Matt, who died in 2016. The participants enjoyed a day of footballing fun, some resplendent in colourful costumes.  Photos: Peter Jones.

 

 

The Marlborough Maroons 12 grade boys’ side. Photo: Peter Jones.

Youngsters relish footballing feast

Hundreds of young footballers made Blenheim’s A and P Park their own at the weekend when the annual Gavin Roberts 12th grade boys South Island football tournament was staged.

The ever-popular event ran from Friday until Sunday, attracting 20 teams and scores of supporters who cheered vigorously from the sidelines as their favourites battled opposition from throughout the Mainland. Teams were based in colourful tents, bringing a festive, fun atmosphere to proceedings at the park.

One Marlborough team was in action. The Marlborough Maroons side, coached by Zeb Foote and Blair Speedy, gave a good account of themselves. During the preliminary rounds, they were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of three very-tight scorelines, relegating them to the bottom of their pool.

They lost 3-2 to Christchurch United, Halswell and FC Nelson, while also going down 5-2 to Ferrymead Bays.

In post-section play they quickly made up for their slow start, producing some well-structured attacking football. They downed South Canterbury Green 9-2, Hereweka Panthers 6-0 then accounting for Parklands 7-1 to claim 17th place in the event.

Marlborough’s Tyson Foote claimed the much-coveted Golden Boot award, scoring 11 goals during the three-day tournament and being voted his side’s MVP. Central Otago keeper Oskar Schiele took out the tournament Golden Glove award.

The overall winner was Central Otago, who defeated Nomads United 3-2, while FC Nelson beat St Albans 5-1 to clinch the third spot. Coastal Spirit won the Fair Play award.

The Gavin Roberts tournament, which originated in 1972, followed on from the 12th-grade girls’ tournament and the 12th-grade boys’ tier two event, both staged at A and P Park from September 29-October 1.

Thirty-eight teams were in town for the three tournaments, bringing an estimated 1400 visitors to the region.

The Marlborough 12th grade girls’ team were in action at A and P Park from Sunday until Tuesday. Photo: Supplied. 

Football tournaments bring influx of visitors

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.

The Marlborough 17th grade girls, back row from left, Freya Thompson, Mackenzie Adkins, Tessa Hyland, Erin Mustey, Lucy Martin, Eliza Bickerton, Hilary Stuart, Maggie Lane. Front: Ruby Wybourne, Riley Preece, Chanel Horton. Absent: Destiny Aires, Shanah-Lee Aires, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen. Photo: Supplied.
The Marlborough 17th grade girls, back row from left, Freya Thompson, Mackenzie Adkins, Tessa Hyland, Erin Mustey, Lucy Martin, Eliza Bickerton, Hilary Stuart, Maggie Lane. Front: Ruby Wybourne, Riley Preece, Chanel Horton. Absent: Destiny Aires, Shanah-Lee Aires, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen. Photo: Supplied.

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

Away fixtures

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.

Marlborough’s Tore Waechter rises for a header during Saturday’s match. Photo: Shuttersport.

Harris Cup goes west

Football’s Harris Cup will send the summer on the other side of the Whangamoas.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, played in Blenheim last weekend, FC Nelson stepped up on home turf to beat a Marlborough side 4-1 on Saturday, claiming honours in the resurrected provincial showdown.

In a joint effort between Marlborough Football and their Nelson counterparts the traditional fixture was rekindled this year, with a Marlborough Invitation XI taking on FC Nelson, winners of the 2019 Nelson division one competition.

The Harris Cup was last contested in a home-and-away series in 2008, when the trophy was claimed by Marlborough. In 2012 the first leg was played, but not the second, meaning the long-standing trophy, first contested in 1929, remained in Marlborough hands until Saturday.

At Saxton Field, Nelson opened the scoring through skipper Nick Crosswell inside 10 minutes but Marlborough responded immediately and began to achieve dominance, ensuring the scoreline stayed at 1-0 when the teams entered the halftime break.

On the resumption the visitors upped the ante but were unable to take advantage of the clear-cut chances they created.

FC, however, did just that and grabbed their second on the break midway through the spell. Down 2-0, Marlborough pushed forward in search of goals and were twice exposed at the back, the home side putting the game out of reach.

Marlborough manager Andrew McCaa said, “the boys played well but missed scoring opportunities cost us dearly in the end.”

Scores: FC Nelson 4 (Nick Crosswell, Labu Pan, Harrison McFadgen, Brandon Pirere) Marlborough Invitation XI 1 (Julian Delgado). HT: 1-0 FC Nelson

FC Nelson skipper Nick Crosswell, left, and Marlborough’s Shane Evans contest possession. Photo: Peter Jones.

Harris Cup football first leg match finishes in stalemate

Marlborough and Nelson each have a hand on the Harris Cup after the first leg of the provincial showdown was drawn 2-2 at A and P Park on Saturday.

In a joint effort between Marlborough Football and their Nelson counterparts the traditional fixture was resurrected this year, with a Marlborough Invitation XI taking on FC Nelson, winners of the 2019 Nelson division one competition.

The Harris Cup was last contested in a home-and-away series in 2008, when the trophy was claimed by Marlborough. In 2012 the first leg was played, but not the second, meaning the long-standing trophy, first contested in 1929, remains in Marlborough hands.

Their grip is slightly tenuous however, given Nelson will be playing on their home ground at Saxton Fields in Saturday’s return leg, but Marlborough will be better for their first run, having had little preparation time together.

Their lack of cohesion was exposed early in Saturday’s game, disorganisation at the back gifting FC Nelson a penalty after only two minutes. It was calmly converted by Brandon Pirere.

From that point, Marlborough began to find their feet, creating several scoring opportunities for hard-running front-men Adam Rose and MBC student Shinji Mikame.

However the visitor’s defence, superbly marshalled by skipper Nick Crosswell, held firm until the 12th minute when a Shane Evans corner from the left was crisply headed into goal by Rose.

The home side continued to dominate and looked the more likely side to score, missing a couple of gilt-edged chances, while keeper Nick Stanton pulled off an important save at the other end.

The scores were locked 1-1 at the break, but it was FC Nelson who came out of the sheds with more purpose, Pirere notching his second goal when he caught Marlborough on the break after 10 minutes.

Knowing they faced a possible trip to Nelson with a deficit to overcome, Marlborough threw everything into attack.

The introduction of Taine Swete in midfield alongside former Rangers FC team mate Tore Waechter saw a more intense battle for possession and the home side were rewarded when a long-range shot at goal struck a FC Nelson player’s hand and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Waechter stepped up and levelled the scores with a sweetly-struck shot.

In the final 10 minutes chances went begging at both ends, leaving both sides content to settle for a stalemate, which will be decided in four days’ time.

Impressive for the home side were midfielders Jordy Columbus, Waechter, Evans and Paddy Stephens, plus defenders Aaron Vercoe, Nick Rayner and Connor Endersby.

Nelson got good value up front from Pirere, Harrison McFadyen and Jamane Wilson-Duggan, plus at the back from Crosswell and experienced goalie Dean Hill.

Marlborough manager Andrew McCaa felt the result was a fair outcome, one he was relatively pleased with, especially given the home side’s lack of preparation compared with their rivals, who have played a full season together.

“I was really pleased with the guys, they put in a good shift. We got the team together late last week, had one training … it’s the first time they have played together and, for a couple of the guys it is their first run for the season.

“I’m really proud of the way they performed. We are looking forward to the trip away now.”

Scores: Marlborough Invitation XI 2 (Adam Rose, Tore Waechter, pen) FC Nelson 2 (Brandon Pirere 2). HT: 1-1

Anthony Michaels from the Blenheim Valley Cobras side fires a cross into the area during his side’s final against Call Care Trojans at A and P Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Football finals, awards wrap up senior season

The Marlborough senior club football season came to a close on Saturday with a series of Knockout finals, followed by a prizegiving evening.

In the Knockout Bowl decider, Cobras came out on top of a closely-fought encounter 2-0.

The Knockout Shield was won by Blenheim Valley Masters who made no race of it against Rangers Clubs of Marlborough, winning 8-2.

The third final, the Knockout Plate, was taken out by Central Buccaneers who overcame Trojans Spartans 5-1.

The Knockout Cup final was played under lights 11 days ago with Central Pirates taking the honours. So perhaps fittingly, it was a Pirates player who bagged the association’s top prize at the MFA awards night.

Classy midfielder Jordy Columbus was voted the top male player across all men’s divisions while Tessa Hyland, from the Blenheim Valley Bullets side who competed in the Nelson division one competition, won the corresponding female award.

Wolfie Waechter was named the referee of the year, Julian Adamson from Redwood took out the Master of the Year accolade, Paul Mustey from Rangers Clubs of Marlborough claimed the top goalkeeping award while Connor Endersby from Rangers AFC was voted Colt of the Year.

 

Football awards

Women’s Social Comp Winners: BV Chicks

Men’s Div 2 Round 1: Redwood Masters. Men’s Div 1 Round 1: Rangers AFC. Men’s Div 3 Round 2: Picton Crow Tavern Masters. Men’s Div 2 Round 2: Call Care Trojans. Men’s Div 1 Round 2

BV Cobras.

Men’s team (any division) highest points overall – Call Care Trojans

Knockout Cup

Knockout Consolation Plate: Central Buccaneers. Knockout Bowl: BV Cobras. Knockout Shield: BV Masters. Knockout Cup Runner Up: Rangers AFC. Knockout Cup Winner – Central Pirates

Women’s Zydenbos Shield – BV Chicks

 

Individual Awards

Golden Boot – Women’s Social Division: Latoya Collins – BV Chicks. Golden Boot – Men’s Div 3: Iain Tyler (Picton Crow Tavern) and Julian Adamson (Redwood). Golden Boot – Men’s Div 2: Blair Hantz (Call Care Trojans). Golden Boot – Men’s Div 1: Adam Rose (Rangers AFC).

Most Improved Overall Women’s Social Comp: Charlotte Ward (Picton)

Personality Award – Women’s Comp: Ashleigh Patterson (BV Chicks). Personality Award – Men’s Comp: Kerry Wilkin

Media Award: Pete Jones (The Marlborough App)

Inspiration to Others – Cheryl Thompson Memorial Trophy: Mike Nicholl (Rangers Masters)

Referee of the Year: Wolfie Waechter

Sportsperson of the year – Women’s Comp: Rebekah Driver (Trojans)

Sports Team of the Year (Referees Choice): BV MBC

Goalkeeper Award: Paul Mustey (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)

Colt of the Year: Connor Endersby (Rangers AFC)

Master of the Year – Julian Adamson (Redwood)

Women’s Social League Player of the Year: Latoya Collins (BV Chicks)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 3: Nicky Smith-Scott (Rangers Masters)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 2: Blair Hantz (Call Care Trojans)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 1: Oliver Saunders (Rangers AFC)

Women’s Player of the Year across all women’s divisions: Tessa Hyland (BV Bullets)

Men’s Player of the Year across all men’s divisions: Jordy Columbus (Central Pirates).

Members of the BV Bullets side (some absent): Back, from left, Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Ruby Smith, Erin Mustey, Rebecca Stuart, Shanz Aires, Lucy Martin, Lauren Sloan, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne and Jordyn McKay. Front, from left, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen and Tessa Hyland. Photo: Supplied.

Bullets conclude strong debut season

The Blenheim Valley Bullets football team wrapped up what was described as “an excellent debut season” in the Nelson women’s first division league at a rain-swept A and P Park on Saturday.

In their final hit-out, against FC Nelson on a muddy, unpredictable pitch, they turned in another gutsy effort before going down 2-1, the result decided by a very late and rather fortunate goal.

The home side came out firing, and within 10 minutes had the lead through Tessa Hyland.

In the second half, the balance of play was even before, with 15 minutes to play, Nelson FC forced a corner and their striker Grace Roche equalized.

Both sides had clear-cut chances to bag the winner, but it was the visitors who had the final say, when they scrambled the ball over the line almost on fulltime to take the spoils.

The BV midfield, particularly Ruby Smith, Hyland and Lauren Sloan, were outstanding while the backs worked hard as a defensive unit throughout. Freya Thompson and Lea Poletti contributed some sparking attacking runs. Player of the day was Abby Owen who was solid on defence and also countered with some great attacking play.

The previous week Bullets scored a notable 3-2 win over Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.

Down 2-1 at halftime, Bullets showed their character with a confident passing game, which led to mounting and sustained attacks on goal. Rebecca Stuart and Abby Owen added the final two decisive goals while BV’s back three and sweeper excelled, holding out a series of strong Suburbs’ attacks.

BV players to standout were Ruby Wybourne, for her great crosses and incisive runs, plus Hyland and Sloan who combined well in the midfield to stymie Suburbs’ attack and create opportunities up front.

Player of match was defensive midfielder Smith who shut down lots of Suburbs attacks on goal and provided quality ball when BV went forward.

The Bullets finished fourth on the six-team Nelson women’s div one table, picking up four wins and three draws.  They were coached by Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy.