Hugo Escalle, from the Rangers Kiwis team, shoots for goal during her side’s match against clubmates Rangers Red on Tuesday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Young footballers relish tournament play

FC Nelson Tornadoes came out on top of their 11th-12th grade tier 1 rivals after the two-day tournament at A and P Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Nelson-based side went unbeaten through pool play, winning four of their five games with one draw, and took on local side Rangers Kiwis, who previously won three, lost one and drew one, in the final.

Tornadoes prevailed 7-2 in a skilful encounter, underlining their dominance over the two days.

Rangers Kiwis, who claimed the fair play award, finished second, FC Nelson Thunder were third, Motueka Titans fourth, BV Yellow fifth and Rangers Red sixth.

Ben Lindfield, from the Rangers Red team, drives between two Rangers Kiwis defenders.  
Ben Lindfield, from the Rangers Red team, drives between two Rangers Kiwis defenders.

Tournament MVP was FC Nelson Thunder player Ronan O’Donnell.

In the tier 2 competition, Nelson Suburbs beat BV Jets 7-1 in the final to take top spot. Suburbs were unbeaten in pool play.

FC Nelson United claimed the fair play award, while Ami Bruce from Nelson Suburbs was voted MVP by opposing teams.

Third was the Richmond Raptors, with BV Phoenix fourth, Rangers White fifth and FC Nelson Utd sixth.

Liam Sluiter was one of Rangers’ best on a tough afternoon in Nelson. Photo: Shuttersport.

Rangers forced to settle for league title after cup final loss

Rangers AFC, having swept all before them this season, tripped at the final hurdle in Nelson on Saturday.

Bidding for the league/cup double in the Nelson division one competition, Rangers lost 3-1 in the Price Charity Cup final to Nelson FC at Guppy Park.

Having wrapped up the league title a few weeks ago, as well as having previously beaten FC three times during that competition, Rangers were favoured heading into Saturday’s game but went down to a side who made the most of the  chances that came their way.

Manager Wolfie Waechter said although Rangers side were naturally disappointed after the tight encounter, “their heads are not down, they played a great season and today was no different.

“It was just one of those games … sometimes there are just a couple of big moments in the game that decide which way it goes.

“It was a really good game, two close teams and it could have gone either way. The boys were well up for it.”

Early on Rangers, who began strongest, created a couple of prime opportunities to open the scoring.

“In any other game we would have scored from both those chances and game over, but we didn’t and they came back into the game and scored just before halftime, catching us on the break,” explained Waechter.

Rangers had keeper Dan Diamond to thank for the narrow margin at halftime, a couple of superb saves in one-on-one situations keeping the visitors in the game.

Rangers came out in the second spell with an attacking mindset, but were caught out again after five minutes.

“We didn’t clear the ball, they squared it back into the box and then scored from around five metres. Our keeper had no chance,” said Waechter.

However Rangers were far from done and, with 25 minutes to play they were on the scoresheet. Carl Connor-McClean played a fine one-two with Liam Sluiter then slammed the ball into the top left hand corner to drag the visitors back into the match.

At 2-1 it was game on, and play see-sawed up and down the paddock. Both sides had chances but Rangers pressed harder, exposing themselves at the back and, with just a couple of minutes to play, FC Nelson wrapped it up with their third to place their hands firmly on the trophy.

“Our guys gave their all,” said Waechter, “at the end they were absolutely exhausted. We had to use the entire bench to keep some fresh legs out there.”

He said it was a real team effort by Rangers, although a few players stood out in the season finale including Diamond, the energetic Sluiter, winger Aaron Hayes, target man Connor-McClean, replacement Ollie Baker, Sam Pearson, following a long injury break, Keagan Mortimer and workhorse Martin Delgado.

“I know the lads are not too down because they know they put a really good shift in … that’s the thing about sport, sometimes even with your best efforts things don’t go your way and that’s how it was today.”

At the end of proceedings Rangers were presented with the league trophy, reward for a superb campaign and recognition of the effort required to compete in a Nelson-based competition.

They made 10 trips over the Whangamoas during their 18-match season, usually in the Blenheim Toyota-sponsored Community Van.

Waechter said although they spent plenty of time on the road the frequent trips helped bond the team together, making them a very tight unit as the season progressed.

“All in all it was a fantastic season and after the match the FC Nelson people acknowledged that we were the strongest team, who played the best football and were the team to beat all season long,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the women’s final at Neale Park, the Richmond Foxes were too good for Nelson Suburbs, claiming the title in a 4-1 win.

Jono Masters scored Rangers’ second goal on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers complete clean sweep, MFA awards announced

Rangers AFC took care of some unfinished business on Saturday, a 2-0 win over Richmond at Athletic Park completing a clean sweep of wins against every opponent in the Nelson division one football league.

In their two previous league meetings with Richmond, Rangers had come away with draws but this time they made no mistake.

A first half goal to Harrison Pine, his swerving free kick rocketing past the Richmond wall, had Rangers leading 1-0 at the break. Then Jono Masters bagged their second after 55 minutes, taking advantage of a searching cross from replacement Aaron Hayes.

Saturday’s result was not only a fitting end to Rangers’ victorious division one campaign, it was also a timely morale-booster heading into their final game of a superb season, the Nelson Knockout Cup final against Nelson FC next weekend.

Player/coach Tore Waechter, named Marlborough Football’s male player of the year in the season-ending awards, suggested Saturday’s effort was “one of the best games we have played all season”.

He had urged his players to move the ball quickly, utilising one-touch football rather than dribbling and said they responded superbly, creating a multitude of chances and dominating proceedings.

Midfielder Scott Belsham was one of Rangers’ best, winning all his challenges and holding the ball well, Carl Connor-McClean also impressed up front, along with Masters, Pablo Dominguez, the back three of Pine, Liam Sluiter and Jordan Columbus, plus the Delgado brothers, Julian and Martin, who provided plenty of energy.

The Cup final will be played at Guppy Park in Nelson, with a 3pm kickoff.

Tore predicted a tight tussle, similar to the previous games against FC this season. He said he expected to have a fully-fit squad to choose from as they go in search of a notable double.

Already Rangers AFC have been named the MFA team of the year.

BV Bullets player Tiana Williams was chosen as the women’s player of the year.

Her side was in action for the final time this season on Saturday, wrapping up a highly-satisfying campaign with a 2-2 draw against Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.

Despite continued pressure on Suburbs’ defence by Leonie Marshall, Lauren Sloan, Lucy Martin and Tessa Hyland it was the home side who took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.

Suburbs then went up 2-0 after 60 minutes before the visitors began their resurgence.

A blinder of a strike from Sloan whistled narrowly over the top before a perfect pass from Hyland set Marshall up for BV’s first.

Then a perfectly-weighted cross from Freya Thompson allowed Sloan to level the scores with a decisive header.

BV had a final opportunity to go ahead when Sloan was felled in the box, but her penalty attempt was saved.

Coach Ian Thomas said it was a nail-biting end to a fantastic season. “The team has shown incredible improvement from last year, and really gelled as a strong unit – which is all boding really well for next year – with the core of the team likely to return for the 2021 season.”

 

Marlborough Football awards  

Team competition

Men’s Div 1 Round 1: Bottle-O BV Masters. Men’s Div 2 Round 1:

Rangers Development. Men’s Div 1 Round 2: Central Wolves. Men’s Div 2 Round 2: Rangers Development. Men’s Div 3 Round 2:

Rangers Masters.

Men’s team (any division) highest pts overall: Rangers Development (27 points)

Women’s Social Comp winners: Picton

Knockout Cup awards

Knockout Cup Winner: Central Wolves; runner-up: Central Buccaneers. Knockout Shield: Rangers Masters. Knockout Bowl:   

Rangers Clubs of Marlborough. Knockout Consolation Plate: Picton. Women’s Zydenbos Shield: BV Chicks.

Individual awards

Golden Boot awards – Men’s Div 1: Stephen McCaa (Central Wolves) 13.  Men’s Div 2: Liam Clamp (Rangers Development) 13. Men’s Div 3: Keagan Mortimer (Rangers Masters) 14. Women’s Social Division: Maggie Lane (Picton).

Most Improved Overall Women’s Social Comp: Louisa Patterson (Picton)

Personality Awards – Women’s Social: Yuri Collins (Picton). Men’s Comp: Simon Fowke (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)

Media Award: Pete Jones – The Marlborough App

Inspiration to Others: Stephen Plant (Call Care Spartans)

Referee of the Year: Morgan Breuer

Sportsperson of the year – Women’s Social: Donna Sio (Picton)

Sports Team of the Year – Referees Choice: Rangers AFC

Goalkeeper Award: Amon McGregor (Central Wolves)

Colt of the Year: Tana Connor-McClean (Rangers AFC)

Master of the Year: Andy Wheeler (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)

Women’s Social League Player of the Year: Stacey Smith (BV Chicks)

Players of the Year – Senior Div 3: Murray Ward (Picton Crow Tavern).  Senior Div 2: Josh Whittall (Rangers Development). Senior Div 1: Nick Rayner (Central Wolves)

Women’s Player of the Year across all women’s divisions: Tiana Williams (Liquid Action BV Bullets)

Men’s Player of the Year across all men’s divisions: Tore Waechter (Rangers AFC).

The Rangers AFC squad. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers wrap up division one title

Rangers AFC are the Nelson division one football champions after beating Nelson College 3-0 in Nelson on Saturday.

The Blenheim side, who have dominated the competition since the outset, wrapped up the league title with a game remaining.

Manager Wolfie Waechter said Rangers were wary of the student side, especially after their recent goal-scoring efforts.

However he said “everyone was up for it today, although they were a little bit nervous after last week’s effort”.

He was referring to their shock loss to Tahuna which dented their unbeaten record this season.

However, they made no mistake on Saturday.

After eight minutes they were on the board, courtesy of an Adam Rose goal from close range. Then he repeated the dose in the 35th minute, slotting the ball home after Carl Connor-McClean had laid it off.

Leading 2-0 at the break Rangers looked well in control, but College had other ideas, creating a couple of clear scoring opportunities, one saved superbly by keeper Dan Diamond.

Jono Masters entered the fray in the 70th minute and wasted no time getting among the action, scoring Rangers’ third to put the match to bed.

Waechter said the frequent away trips, while tiring at times, had helped mould the side into a tight unit.

“I expected it to be a highly-contested season, and it was … there were some quality sides involved and all very competitive. It was a really close competition and that is what you want.

“I always thought we would be in the running for the title because we have a very balanced squad, some experienced players such as Jordy [Columbus] and [player/coach] Tore [Waechter] who guide and organise on the field, plus some talented new ones in the team.

“We also had quality coaching and they all worked hard throughout.

“Overall they were just a good bunch of mates together.”

He said the efforts of the back line [Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine and Columbus], in conjunction with defensive midfielders Waechter and Scott Belsham was a major factor in their success.

Carl Connor-McClean was always a menace up front and scored some important goals while the experience of Julian and Martin Delgado, plus Belsham, regularly shone through.

Next week Rangers play their final league game, at Athletic Park Blenheim against Richmond then, a week later, they meet FC Nelson in the Price Charity Cup final, this time in Nelson with the league/cup double on the line.

Meanwhile, the Blenheim Valley Bullets, who play in the Nelson division one women’s league, put up a gutsy effort with only 10 players before losing 4-3 to FC Nelson at Athletic Park on Saturday.

FC went two-up early on before Lucy Martin made it 2-1 after 15 minutes. She repeated the dose just before the halftime break to level the scores after a period of sustained pressure from the home side.

FC scored first after oranges, but the home side levelled again through Riley Preece with 10 minutes to play.

However, a goal on the break to Nelson’s Zoe King ultimately decided the issue, despite BV throwing everything at it in the final stages.

Coach Ian Thomas said he was proud of his charges.

“The fact that we came so close to securing a draw with only 10 players speaks volumes.

“It is hard to single out individual players, however Tessa Hyland made a huge contribution in midfield and Hannah Martin was our player of day for her tireless effort in defence.”

Midfielder Tiana Williams plays for the BV Bullets side in the Nelson division one league. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tiana returns to game she loves

A long-standing love of football has lured Tiana Williams back onto the playing fields of Marlborough and Nelson this year.

The 20-year-old midfielder has been a stand-out for the Blenheim Valley Bullets side, who contest the Nelson division one women’s competition.

Given her impressive footballing CV, that comes as no surprise.

In 2014, the Marlborough Girls’ College student gained national recognition as part of the New Zealand under-16 side which toured Australia.

Two years later, the 16-year-old was named as the inaugural captain of the Tasman United women’s team which contested the Mainland Premier League, an appointment that recognised her playing maturity despite her tender years.

A demanding travel schedule for Nelson-based training prompted a move to Waimea College for the 2017 season, when Tiana again represented Tasman United.

Along the way she caught the eye of the selectors for the Canterbury United Pride team, who competed in the national Women’s League, training with a side which included several national reps.

As she moved through the ranks one goal remained firmly in Tiana’s sights, a place in the New Zealand under-18 team.

But when the side was announced, her name was missing.

“I trialled for [the NZ side], didn’t make it and so I thought I would move home and find a job and I’ve been here ever since.”

Deeply disappointed to be overlooked, Tiana decided to take a break from the sport she had played “for as long as I can remember”.

She took a job with a company called C3, loading log ships at Shakespeare Bay, and has been there for the past few years, her football boots tucked away in the cupboard until earlier this year when an opportunity to play for the Bullets arose.

“I enjoy my job, but I had been missing playing the game I love,” said Tiana, “and it’s also great to be playing without pressure.

“It is still a competitive game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the top level where everyone is watching what you are doing all the time.”

“I have really enjoyed this year, they are a great bunch of girls, some a lot younger than me, which makes a change.”

Now she is back and relishing the opportunity to lace up her boots each weekend, Tiana has not ruled out another shot at higher honours. She hopes the Tasman United women’s side will be resurrected, offering a chance to take her silky skills to another level again.

“If they had a Tasman team this year, I would have looked to play in it,” she suggested.

Asked how her body had handled a return to regular football, Tiana was pleasantly surprised. “It has been fine … I am still a bit unfit, but I have kept active, so it wasn’t too hard.”

She has also found her skills have remained. “I think that is something you carry with you … your touch is always there I reckon.”

Given her form this season, including an eight-goal haul in a recent match, few would argue with that.

Liam Sluiter was the best of the Rangers’ players on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

Rangers lose unbeaten record

Rangers AFC will have to wait at least another week before getting their hands on the Nelson division one football title after losing to Tahuna in Nelson on Saturday.

The previously-unbeaten Marlborough team turned in what player-coach Tore Waechter described as their “worst game of the season” to go down 3-2 to a side they were well-favoured to overcome.

Sitting seven points clear of their nearest rival heading into yesterday’s game, three points would have seen Rangers declared champions with two rounds remaining. Now they must dispose of Nelson College next week, also in Nelson, if they are to wrap up the title prematurely.

Saturday’s game began positively for Rangers. In control early they scored after 15 minutes through Tana Connor-McClean following a superb cross from Liam Sluiter and appeared in control.

However, the home side, who employed a long-ball tactic to their big striker, were on level terms at halftime.

A few changes at the break saw Rangers come out and play their best football of the match, a period of dominance they were unable to turn into goals.

The next goal was scored by Tahuna, who capitalised on a defensive error, then they added their third soon after with a powerful header.

Rangers’ player-of-the-day Liam Sluiter scored with 10 minutes to go, offering hope of salvaging a draw and maintaining a winning roll, but although they hammered away they were unable to equalise.

Waechter said he felt his side, apart from Sluiter, were “not really up for it” and described the result as “a good learning curve”.

Meanwhile, the Liquid Action BV Bullets women’s side served up a veritable feast of goals at Little Wembley, in Nelson, on Saturday.

BV applied sustained pressure from the kick-off as they registered an 11-0 victory. Erin Mustey scored at the three-minute mark, in a high lob that bounced over the keeper’s reach. Leonie Marshall followed suit exactly two minutes later which set the tone for the first half, with a further six goals before the half-time whistle – two to Tiana Williams, two to Tessa Hyland, and one apiece to Destiny Aires and Lucy Martin.

In the second half BV maintained dominance and secured a further three goals – one for Riley Preece and another two for the prolific Williams.

The midfield was dominant in possession, creating multiple opportunities for the forwards. The backline was resolutely solid, leaving few attacking opportunities for Nelson College.

Coach Ian Thomas recognised “strong games from Eliza Bickerton, Alicia McLeod and Destiny Aires, plus player of the day Hannah Martin.”

With two games remaining in their season, BV are in contention to take second in the division and are still looking to top the scoring charts, with an impressive cumulative tally of 74 goals from 13 games.

The victorious Central Wolves squad. Photo: Peter Jones.

Wolves win Knockout Cup 

Central Wolves had to call on all their skill and experience to claim Marlborough football’s Knockout Cup at A and P Park on Saturday.

They fought their way to a 2-1 victory in the final, taking three quarters of the match to get the better of gritty clubmates Central Buccaneers, who led 1-0 at half time.

With a steady breeze at the backs Buccaneers struck against the run of play after 10 minutes. The ball fell to the feet of striker Thom Hall who calmly sent it into the top corner of Wolves’ net from 25m out.

Registering an early lead seemed to lift confidence among the Buccaneers, who frustrated their rivals with a series of timely tackles and crucial interceptions, not allowing Wolves to settle.

Winger Shane Evans looked most likely to score for Wolves, three sweetly-hit shots being blocked by keeper Hugh Straker.

As the half wore on both sides created several opportunities to alter the scoreline but, when the halftime whistle blew, Buccaneers continued to hold a single goal advantage.

After the break Wolves, with the wind at their backs, pressed further forward and were rewarded with an equaliser after 15 minutes when Scott Wilkinson pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the box and drilled it home.

Five minutes later they went ahead. A high-bouncing ball in the Buccaneers’ box was inadvertently handled by a defender and Steve McCaa stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.

Although some half chances were created at either end, neither side looked likely to add to their score before the final whistle blew.

The much-improved Buccaneers side can be proud of their efforts. Hall ran hard all day up front and scored a stunning goal, he was well supported by Nate Lovell, Scott Hannan and Ryan Palmer were skilful in midfield while Marina Doncevic, Jake Rounthwaite-West, Jake Arnesen and the uncompromising Jamie Gilbert defended manfully.

The Wolves’ seasoned back four of Paddy Stephens, Andrew McCaa, Nick Rayner and Richie Marsden were also well-organised, restricting Buccaneers to a minimum of scoring opportunities. Keeper Amon McGregor made a couple of handy saves while directing his troops constantly from the back.

Matt Stretch, Wilkinson, Jono McCormick, Sam Boyce, Evans and Steve McCaa all played their part in midfield and up front, holding the ball up cleverly when required and producing probing passes on occasion.

The scoreline probably represented the flow of the match, Wolves having the lion’s share of possession, and taking their two chances well, but being unable to completely shake off a feisty opponent who battled to the very end.

Wolves’ spokesman Jono McCormick said his side “made a slow start, but persevered after going down 1-0 early”.

“We looked to our bench early and that made a difference, while Scotty Wilkinson’s hard running was a factor, keeping the boys’ heads up, along with our strong backline.

“It has been a good season. We incorporated players from two teams [to make the Wolves side] and once we learned to play together it all began to fall into place.”

Score: Central Wolves 2 (Scott Wilkinson, Steve McCaa – pen) Central Buccaneers 1 (Thom Hall). HT: 1-0 Buccaneers.

Other results:

KO Shield – Rangers Masters 5 Trojans Spartans 2.

KO Bowl – Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 4 Rangers Development 1.

KO Plate – Picton Crow Tavern.

Meanwhile, also at A and P Park, the top two sides in the Nelson division one women’s league turned on a thrilling encounter.

BV Bullets hosted Richmond Foxes, runaway league leaders, and although the visitors prevailed 2-0, the home side made them work throughout for their victory.

BV produced some superb passages of passing and creative flair, which went unrewarded throughout the first half and were unfortunate to concede just before the break.

Foxes took a shot at goal which keeper Taz Gilbert initially saved, but she was injured in the process and, when the ball came loose, Foxes’ Jenny Harvey slipped it over the line.

Bullets had their chance early in the second stanza, a flying shot from Lauren Sloan whistling past the mouth of goal, followed soon after by a strike from Tiana Williams which flew just wide of the mark.

However, Foxes fired back and a beautifully-weighted shot from Annie Brown nestled in the net to make it 2-0.

Undeterred, Bullets continued to attack, Tess Hyland and Destiny Aires going close as both sides showed 100 percent commitment and physicality.

BV coach Ian Thomas said, “we played a better passing game, a better strategic game, but were unfortunately unrewarded.”

He singled out Erin Mustey at the back, Aires on the left wing and Eliza Bickerton for special mention.

Despite the loss BV remain the highest scoring team in the division – with 62 goals under their belt, and three games still to play.

At Athletic Park on Saturday Rangers AFC continued on their merry way in the Nelson division one men’s league.

The unbeaten leaders registered a 4-1 win over Nelson Suburbs, scoring twice in each half.

Carl Connor-McClean got both first half goals, the second from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the box.

The visitors clawed one back against the run of play just before halftime and could have had a second but for a good save from keeper Dan Diamond.

With the wind at their backs in the second spell Rangers pressed forward and were rewarded with goals to Tana Connor-McClean and Martin Delgado, who scored with his first touch after coming off the bench.

Youngsters Josh and Liam Clamp made their first team debut late in the match.

Next up for Rangers is a trip to Nelson next weekend for a meeting with Tahuna, knowing a win can wrap up the league title with two games remaining.

The BV Bullets side who put 12 goals past Motueka on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers prevail in crucial encounter

Rangers AFC put some daylight between themselves and closest rival Nelson FC when they prevailed 2-1 at Nelson’s Guppy Park on Saturday.

At the start of the day Nelson FC, who had lost just once in the Nelson division one league this season, trailed Rangers by four points with five games remaining.

They needed a win to put the pressure back on the Blenheim outfit, and turned up with a strong, experienced side.

However, it was the visitors though who began strongest, Carl Connor-McClean earning a penalty after just three minutes, coolly converted from the spot by midfielder Tore Waechter.

Despite several clear-cut chances being created at both ends of the park, the remainder of the first half was scoreless.

It took only 10 minutes of the second half however for the home side to draw level, converting a penalty of their own.

In such even contests, sometimes it takes a moment of magic to decide the issue and this time it was Waechter who found the formula, with just five minutes remaining. Spotting the Nelson keeper standing well off his line, he lobbed the ball into the top corner of the net from 45 metres.

Although the sides played six minutes of extra time and Rangers’ goal came under intense pressure, a fine save from keeper Dan Diamond and resolute defence allowed the visitors to claim the spoils.

Rangers’ Manager Wolfie Waechter described Nelson as a “very good, classy, team”.

“This was our third great battle against them … we had some players carrying minor injuries and it was a complete team effort to keep Nelson out … I am immensely proud of our boys’ efforts, they played their hearts out.”

Two-goal hero Tore Waechter was Rangers’ player of the day, while fellow midfielder Scott Belsham, Jordy Columbus and Liam Sluiter, who marked Nelson’s dangerous striker, were also outstanding.

Next week Rangers play Suburbs in Blenheim.

The Blenheim Valley Bullets women’s side. Photo: Supplied.
The Blenheim Valley Bullets women’s side. Photo: Supplied.

Meanwhile, the Blenheim Valley Bullets women’s side dominated throughout their Nelson division one match with Motueka at A and P Park on Saturday, eventually winning 12-1.

Bullets scored six goals in each half – the prolific Tiana Williams bagging six, Lauren Sloan getting two while Lucy Martin, Tessa Hyland, Abby Owen and Freya Thompson also got on the scoreboard.

Coaches Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy were ecstatic with the game and the result.  They acknowledged the huge contribution from Williams in creating opportunities and making them count, and the work rate from Sloan.

“Our player of the day was Thompson for her tireless efforts, consistently impeccable crosses and corners, and for her outstanding goal,” said Thomas.

Next week Bullets meet top-of-the-table Richmond Foxes.

The finalists have been found in the Marlborough Knockout Cup competition, and it is will be an all-Central affair.

Central Wolves will take on clubmates Central Buccaneers next weekend for the prized silverware after contrasting semifinal victories on Saturday.

Wolves accounted for BV Masters 6-3 while Buccaneers beat Call Care Trojans 7-6 after scores were level 3-3 at fulltime.

Wolves led 3-2 at halftime in a close encounter at A and P Park, which was marked by the sending off of Masters’ striker Ben Clarke midway through the second spell for a second yellow card.

From then on Wolves prospered, taking the match out of Masters’ reach. Shane Evans, Scott Wilkinson and Steve McCaa scoring doubles, while Masters’ goals came from Clarke, Matt Robertson and an own goal.

The other semi was staged at Athletic Park, and turned into a penalty-shootout thriller.

Trojans started the game strongly with the wind at their backs, Thomas Lupani giving them the lead in the 14th minute, then a Gustavo Cruz double seeing them 3-0 up after half an hour.

However, Buccaneers clawed back into contentione with a Thom Hall goal before half time. With the wind at their backs in the second spell Buccaneers upped the ante but it took until the 67th minute before they got their second goal via Scott Hannan, then a long range effort from Ryan Palmer tied things up with four minutes to play.

Extra time came and went with no addition to the score before a tense afternoon for players, coaches and spectators culminated in a penalty shootout, Buccaneers sneaking through by this method for the second time in the competition.

In next week’s Knockout Shield final, Call Care Spartans take on Rangers Masters while, in the KO Bowl, Rangers Development will play Rangers Clubs of Marlborough in the decider.

Central Wolves’ captain Steve McCaa drives the ball at the Rangers Development wall during Saturday’s Knockout Cup clash at A and P Park. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rangers go into overtime

It may have taken them 120 minutes, but Rangers AFC finally got the job done against Nelson visitors Richmond at A and P Park on Saturday.

The match ended 4-2 to the local side, after scores were level 2-2 at fulltime. That result counted for the Nelson division one league competition, which Rangers are leading but, because the match doubled as a Prices Charity Knockout Cup fixture, the sides were forced to play 30 minutes of extra time.

Two goals to Rangers ensured they would progress to the final of the cup competition, with a date yet to be confirmed and against an unknown opponent.

Rangers’ player coach Tore Waechter said his side had plenty of chances to put the game away during regulation time, but were ultimately happy to retain their unbeaten league record and reach the cup final.

Especially galling for the locals was the fact Richmond were reduced to 10 men early in the second spell when one of their players received a second yellow card, then later went down to nine for 10 minutes when the visitors had a player sin-binned.

The home side were slow getting into the match, Richmond taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, however Waechter levelled the scores after 60 minutes when he converted a penalty.

The introduction of Adam Rose and Aaron Hayes soon afterwards seemed to lift the home side, and they took the lead with a Jono Masters goal five minutes later.

Despite dominating possession and having multiple chances to extend their lead, Rangers conceded a late goal following a goalmouth scramble, with some debate over whether the ball actually crossed the line.

However, that meant the league points were shared, the players then turning their attention to winning the elongated match.

Rangers made no mistake this time, Waechter scoring his second and Adam Rose adding another to ensure there would be no late slip-up.

Waechter was named player of the day, while Rose, Hayes, skipper Jordy Columbus and Julian Delgado put in strong shifts.

Next week Rangers play closest rival, Nelson FC, in Nelson and, although the Blenheim side lead the league by four points, this could prove a pivotal clash.

Meanwhile, there was no stopping the BV Bullets women’s team this week as they turned on a master class of football at A&P Park on Saturday.

They converted a 3-0 halftime lead into a 5-0 victory against Nelson Suburbs.

Two goals to the prolific Lauren Sloan, and one to Freya Thompson allowed the home side some breathing space at the break.

And there was no let up from BV in the second half. A pinpoint cross from Thompson to striker Lucy Martin was sent flying into the net for Bullets’ fourth, then she added another to complete what coach Alan Elvy described as “a very pleasing all round performance”.

The coaches praised Thompson’s creativity and work rate, while player of the day went to Tessa Hyland for her vision, and tireless contribution in midfield.

Also contested on Saturday was the second round of the senior Knockout Cup competition, with the four cup semi-finalists being decided.

Next week Central Wolves will play BV Masters, while Central Buccaneers will take on Call Care Trojans for a place in the final, to be played on September 5.

On Saturday Wolves got the better of a gutsy Rangers Development side 2-1 courtesy of an extra time goal to defender Nick Rayner, BV Masters beat Redwood Masters 7-1, Trojans downed Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 6-0 while Central Buccaneers beat club mates Central Privateers 4-1.

Thom Hall, Joel Collingwood and Scott Hannan scored first half goals for Buccaneers, Nate Lovell grabbing their fourth, while Josh Dalziel scored a consolation for Privateers.

Redwood Masters’ striker Ben Mesman bears down on the Spartans’ goal. Photo: Peter Jones.

Footballers out in force

A dominant first half saw Rangers AFC shoulder their way past Nelson College in their Nelson division one football clash at A and P Park on Saturday.

On a weekend when other sports either cancelled or abbreviated their competitions, Marlborough Football opted to proceed with a full schedule of games on Saturday, from junior through to senior.

Rangers, who are unbeaten in the competition thus far, took full advantage of the opportunity.

They led 3-0 at the halftime break, player/coach Tore Waechter scoring from both a penalty and free kick, while Scott Belsham bagged the third with a long range shot that rocketed under the crossbar.

The students lifted their game after oranges, being rewarded with a goal after 20 minutes when they caught Rangers out defensively, before Sam Pearson wrapped up the home side’s win with a strong run down the right and a clinical finish.

A concern for the home side was an injury to striker Carl Connor-McClean who collided with the Nelson keeper and left the game after suffering a nasty knock. He was replaced by Keagan Mortimer, turning out for the first time this season.

The home side’s player of the day was centre midfielder Julian Delgado, along with defender Jordy Columbus, Belsham and Pearson.

Next weekend Rangers meet Richmond, who they drew with earlier in the season, in a double-header. The match doubles as a league fixture and a second round Knockout Cup match. It will be played in Blenheim.

Meanwhile, the Blenheim Valley Bullets were not able to capitalise on their chances as they went down 3-0 to FC Nelson at Nelson’s Neale Park on Saturday.

Despite some great attacking opportunities in the first spell BV were not able to take full toll, three excellent strikes apiece for Tiana Williams and Lauren Sloan being denied.

Their rivals though did find the back of the net, a corner curving into the goal on the 30 minute mark. Then, just before half time the BV defence failed to cope with a high bouncing ball and FC’s Tessy Dredden scored, taking the home side ahead 2-0 at half time.

BV continued to work hard, creating plenty of goal attempts, but nothing went their way. The home side added a third 10 minutes from the final whistle and although BV finished strongly it was just not their day.

Coach Ian Thomas said, “We put together 12 really strong shots on goal, which any other day could have resulted in a goal. But we just couldn’t find the back of the net today.”

He recognised important contributions from Hannah Martin, Destiny Aires and Alicia McLeod in the backs – and player of the day went to Taz Gilbert for her determined effort in goal in the first half and solid effort in the midfield in the second half.

The first round of the senior Knockout Cup competition was played, with most of the five matches being tight.

Central Privateers prevailed 2-1 against Picton Crow Tavern, Rangers Clubs of Marlborough eased past Rangers Masters 1-0, Rangers Development beat Trojans Dribbles 3-2 while Redwood Masters eventually got the better of Call Care Spartans 3-1.

In the match of the round Central Buccaneers knocked out BV Cobras 4-2 at Athletic Park, the match going to penalties.

Buccaneers scored early through Tom Morley but Cobras levelled soon after when Kerrin O’Malley. A minute later Morley again put Buccaneers ahead, nodding home an excellent Thom Hall cross. However, seven minutes later Dylan Rugman evened the scores at 2-2 going into halftime.

Fifteen minutes into the second spell Hall scored to put Buccaneers ahead again, before Take Thu converted a penalty to lock it up once more.

With no further score in extra time it went to penalties. When Cobras missed two of their first four shots it was Buccaneers’ game to win and they converted their first four to progress to the next round.

In next week’s second round Central Wolves, BV Masters and Trojans step up after first round byes.

Wolves play Rangers Development, BV Masters meet Redwood Masters, Trojans take on Rangers CoM while Central Privateers do battle with clubmates Central Buccaneers.